What's in store for NEC4?

18 April 2017

The NEC is soon to get an update. James Sargeant from Quigg Golden solicitors reviews what we know so far about this revised contract form.

The announcement that NEC 4 is on its way  has undoubtedly caught many people in the industry off guard. Though discussions have been taking place across the industry for quite some time now they seem to have been very muted and surprisingly not very public.

The new suite looks set to take into account both end user and industry best practise lessons learned, to ensure that the NEC remains one of the most recognisable and commonly used standard forms of contract on the market.

When will the NEC4 be launched?

D-Day for the new suite is set to be 22 June 2017, which I have just discovered (thanks to a quick google search), is also national Chocolate Éclair Day (which is possibly my favourite national day).

This may seem to have come about quite suddenly but its worth remembering that apart from the 2006 and 2013 amendments, this is the first big change since the NEC3 launched in 2005.
Why the sudden announcement and release date?

Without doubt the NEC are reacting to the 2016 amendments to both the JCT and FIDIC Rainbow suites to ensure that the NEC “isn’t left behind”.

What I don’t want to see, however, is a similarity to the JCT 2016 Amendments, where the NEC4 leaves BIM utilisation as a “use if you want, and you fill in the blanks” type situation. No doubt the drafters are waiting to see just how the industry use and understand the benefits of BIM before committing to regulating how BIM should be incorporated into the NEC4.

What’s changed?

The short answer appears to be “evolution not revolution”.

The NEC4 will introduce a DBO Contract for the first time. There will also be an introduction of “proper” D&B Secondary Option Clauses, which will no doubt prove popular to many Contractors and Employers alike.

Another change that will no doubt be greeted with cheers (by Contractor’s at least) is that a submitted programme will be deemed accepted, if a PM fails to respond within the period of reply.

The final big change is the introduction, in some shape or form of a Final Account. This is something that I have personally championed for many years now, to anyone who would listen, so it’s great to see it included at last.

Outside of these changes though, myself and the rest of Quigg Golden will be eagerly awaiting National Chocolate Éclair day with the rest of the industry before we can finally get our hands on the much anticipated new suite of Contracts.

James Sargeant is a junior associate at Quigg Golden Solicitors

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