Legal Assistance For All Construction Projects
When starting a construction project it is important to consider the terms to be agreed between the customer or business and the building contractor engaged for the project. A written construction agreement may seem disproportionate in some cases but will likely save time and cost in the long run as well as giving peace of mind to both parties. It may be possible to use a standard form agreement, such as a Joint Contract Tribunal (JCT) contract. However, it is important to have any construction agreement reviewed by a specialist solicitor before being entered into to ensure the terms are fit for purpose and any unusual provisions have been captured properly. More business services from Tinsdills include:
Tinsdills recently expanded this department following an acquisition of Grindeys Solicitors
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Undertaking a construction project will often involve a large investment of time and money for both parties. The customer or business engaging the building contractor on a project will want to ensure the work is carried out to a high standard and within specification, whilst the contractor will want to ensure payment for work done and mitigate its liability if things go wrong. In order to regulate the relationship between customer/business and contractor, a construction agreement (or building contract) should be entered into.
A building contract will usually set out the agreed commercial and legal terms and will often also include technical documentation such drawings and specifications (often as a schedule or appendix to the main agreement). Terms often covered under a building contract will include the specification and standard of works required; variations to the works; price and payment terms; the ability to apply for time extensions of time; whether sub-contracting is permitted; provisions dealing with defects; termination provisions; insurance obligations; and completion terms. The terms of a building contract will often be bespoke, but the parties may decide to use one of the many established template agreements, such as a JCT contract.
At Tinsdills, our team of dedicated business law solicitors is on hand to provide tailored advice to suit your building project, whatever its size and nature.
A JCT contract is essentially a set of ‘off-the-shelf’ template agreements that are available to purchase for anyone wishing to enter into a building contract with another party. The JCT was formed in 1931 and the suite of agreements offered by it are standard form building contracts which parties can use to document construction projects.
As a general rule, a builder is not under any legal obligation to provide a standalone guarantee for work. However, consumers employing a building contractor for works will have certain statutory rights under the Consumer Rights Act 2015. In the event of a dispute, though, there is still the ability to bring a claim for breach of contract and there may also be manufacturer guarantees for any goods or appliances provided as part of the project, which the builder should pass to the customer/business on completion of the project.
One of the key pieces of legislation affecting the construction industry is the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996 (HGCRA 1996), as updated by the Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009. This Act deals with two important commercial issues: payment and adjudication. Most construction agreements relating to commercial construction projects will be covered by the HGCRA 1996 (subject to some exceptions) and the party carrying out the construction works will be entitled to payment in stages as a result. The contractor will also be entitled to suspend work for non-payment.
The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (known as the CDM Regs) are also important for construction projects as they cover health and safety on-site and it will usually be necessary to state in the construction agreement who will be responsible for compliance with these regulations.
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