Fully revised and updated, the RIBA Concise Building Contract is specifically designed to be a simple, clear and easy to understand and use contract between a client and a contractor, and can be used on all types of simple commercial building work. It can be used in both the private and public sectors, as it includes optional provisions dealing with official secrets, transparency, discrimination and bribery as normally required by public sector clients.
Written in plain English that is succinct and easy to understand
Fair and equitable terms for all parties
Facilitates good management of the project from start to completion
Allows effective collaboration between the employer and contractor
Gives control over the timely completion of the building project
Allows the contractor to design parts of the building project
Collaboration provisions: advance warnings, joint resolution of delay, proposals for improvements and cost savings
Management provisions: pre-start meeting and progress meetings
Flexible payment options
Provision for contractor design, with ‘fit for purpose’ liability option
Optional provisions for a contractor programme
Optional provisions for client-selected suppliers and sub-contractors
Mechanisms for dealing with changes to the project which allow for agreement and include specified timescales
Option for commencement and completion in stages
Guidance notes on use and completion are included.
Key changes in the 2018 edition:
The contract has been fully updated to comply with the CDM Regulations 2015. The Guidance Notes include detailed advice for clients with regards to their particular duties under the Regulations.
The guidance on Insurance and Insuring the Works has been expanded and is clearer and easier to understand. Further explanation is given on the process for ensuring that adequate insurance is obtained and the importance of notifying the property’s building and contents insurer if the work is to an existing building. Emphasis is given to the need for whoever takes out the insurance to provide written confirmation of the extent of cover provided in respect of the works.
The Consents, Fees and Charges item has been expanded so that it now clearly states what regulatory and statutory consents, fees and charges need to be obtained and who is taking on the ether the responsibility for obtaining and paying for them, either the client or the contractor.
The guidance on Dispute Resolution has been expanded but also simplified. Adjudication is still the default option, as the parties to the contract are legally obliged to have access to this method for resolving their dispute, however, the contract advocates that the parties to the contract choose mediation as an initial step in the process, as mediation can be less expensive than other methods, and is therefore encouraged by the courts.
The Programme optional item has been simplified. The contract have retained the requirement for a contractor to indicate the activities they will carry out to complete the works, including the start and finish times of each activity and the relationship of each activity to the others. However, the obligation on the contractor to submit a Programme prior to the commencement of the works, and any financial penalties for not doing so (perceived as too confrontational), have been removed.
The Contractor Design optional item has been retained, so that, if it is agreed that the contractor is to design part of the Works, a detailed and accurate description can be provided of the parts that the contractor will design. However, this optional item now also allows a level of professional indemnity insurance to be specified.
The Required Specialists optional item has been amended so that while clients can still request that specific subcontractors and suppliers be used for parts of the Works, details of those parts of the works are now to be identified at the tender stage and listed in the Contract Documents.
The contract now includes a Contract Checklist which both parties should review and answer ‘yes’ to the questions provided before signing the contract. This is to ensure that the client is fully aware of what they are agreeing to, that all of the appropriate documents and information has been provided and that all of the provisions – such as: scope of the works; start and completion dates of the works; contract price; payment of fees; access to the site and working hours; insurance; and the process for dispute resolution – have been adequately completed.
Easy to understand
The RIBA Concise Building Contract is written in plain English, which provides three key benefits:
the language used in the contract is simple and easy to understand, compared to other standard forms of contracts;
the clause structure used in the contract avoids the use of large numbers of sub-sub clauses and too much cross-referencing between provisions; and
Where common construction terminology is used, it has been simplified so that less-experienced users can understand it.
Copies required for each Party
It is legally advisable that both parties to the contract each have an original signed version. Therefore you should purchase two copies of the contract, so that both the client and contractor has an original signed copy. Alternatively prepare your contract online enabling you to issue final copies of the contract to each party at no extra cost.