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May 2010 digest: NEC Z clauses, third party rights and tigers

The Tiger by William Blake:

“Tiger, tiger, burning bright
In the forests of the night”

May’s news was dominated by the election, the first full coalition government since the end of the Second World War and the first power-sharing deal between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats. We reported on the construction industry’s reaction, the government’s coalition programme, the emergency budget and the new construction minister.

Meanwhile, our four opinion blogs continue to grow in popularity. One post in particular (written by Anna Smyth of Pinsent Masons), comparing the NEC and JCT contracts, attracted considerable comment, including GEH who wrote:

“Ultimately, its about getting it right in practice – if a tiger signs a contract agreeing to be a leopard, he’s still a tiger. If you want a leopard, choose, and pay, for a leopard.”

That debate is likely to continue, especially as we published 14 Z clauses for use with the NEC Engineering and Construction Contract (ECC), along with a note introducing each of the Z clauses and explaining when their use is appropriate. We have also actively encouraged debate by publishing a schedule of third party rights to be provided by a contractor. We would like your views on this standard document, by 5 July 2010 please. A final useful highlight from this month’s new content was the note on what standard form construction contracts are and where to buy them.

Elsewhere, Coulson J set out his seven golden rules for adjudication and Ramsey J considered excluded works under section 105(2) of the Construction Act 1996. Separately, the changes to Building Regulations continue to rumble along, with the DCLG publishing new Approved Documents.

And finally, one additional development we will be watching (just in case) is the OFT’s announcement that it will carry out a stock take of infrastructure ownership in the UK.

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