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Construction contracts

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Joanna Convey

Solicitor

Commercial law

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Have you formalised your construction contract?

You have signed a contract, but what does it mean?

The complexity of construction projects, even the smallest, provides scope for error and problems. Whether you are a contractor or a company engaging a contractor, it is important to document your requirements and contractual relationship. If anything should go wrong, you will have a clear point of reference to resolve any dispute.

A “construction contract” is an agreement with another for:

  • the carrying out of construction operations either by yourself or a sub-contractor; or
  • providing labour (either your own labour or others’ labour) for the carrying out of construction operations.

All design and construction contracts (including building contracts and professional appointments) are likely to be construction contracts if they relate to construction operations. This therefore includes nearly all construction operations and the most common forms of engineering operations, such as civil engineering projects.

It is important to note that in the absence of a written agreement all those involved in construction have a duty to act with reasonable skill and care. This means that a contractor will only be held liable if it can be proven that he has been negligent. Most contracts drafted by solicitors will expressly specify the level of skill and care required of the contractor. The JCT and ICE contracts contain express reasonable skill and care clauses.

More importantly, a contractor’s professional indemnity insurance policy may not cover fitness for purpose obligations. In fact, some policies may be completely invalidated if a contractor has agreed to any fitness for purpose obligations within an appointment.

At Myers & Co we can assist you in dealing with the sector-specific legislation and the standard forms of construction contract. In addition, our team of specialist lawyers can also assist you in dealing with any construction or engineering disputes which arise, including allegations of defective workmanship or non-payment.

Based in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, our commercial solicitors have a reputation for providing accurate advice, and dealing with complex problems in an efficient manner.   To find out more, contact us on 01782 577000.

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