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New RIBA contracts for small scale commercial and domestic projects

On 5 November 2015 the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) launched two new building contracts: The RIBA Concise Building Contract and The RIBA Domestic Building Contract. They are designed to be used in conjunction with RIBA’s Architect’s Appointment Agreement for Small Projects.

The RIBA website states that the Concise Building Contract provides a simple yet fully comprehensive contract between an employer and a contractor. It is suitable for all types of simple commercial building works.

RIBA also states that the Domestic Building Contract provides a simple and clearly laid out contract between a customer and a contractor. It is suitable for all types of non-commercial work, such as work done on the customer’s own home including renovations, maintenance and new buildings. The contract is endorsed by the HomeOwners Alliance.

Speaking about the new contracts, Stephen Hodder MBE, RIBA President said “The new RIBA Building Contracts… complement our existing suite of architect’s appointment agreements for small scale residential and domestic building projects and have been written in straight forward language that can be completed with confidence, without the need for legal advice.”

Although according to RIBA the new contracts are not aiming to compete with the current JCT contracts on offer they are similar to the JCT Minor Works contract and JCT Home Owner contracts, a brief overview of each of the JCT forms is below:

JCT Minor Works Contract

• It is intended for smaller projects (domestic or otherwise) but can be used on larger ones provided that the works involved is simple in character.
• It is appropriate where the works is designed by or on behalf of the Employer.
• There is also a Minor Works “with contractor’s design” and “with sub-contractor’s design”.
• It can be used by both private and local authority employers.

JCT Home Owner contract

• This is used for small domestic building works such as extensions and alterations.
• This contract is appropriate where works are to be carried out for an agreed lump sum.
• It is also a good contract to use where no consultant acts on behalf of the home owner to administer the contract.

As you will see, the projects for which the JCT and RIBA contracts are intended are fairly similar: next month’s newsletter will include a full comparison between the contracts.

To read the full newsletter click here

These notes have been prepared for the purpose of an article only. They should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice.

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