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JCT Minor Works Contracts 2024

May 2024
Peter Kitson, James Hughes and Kayleigh Rhodes

The JCT published the 2024 editions of the Minor Works Building Contract and the Minor Works Building Contract with contractor’s design on 15 May 2024. The JCT has also released user checklists for the Minor Works contracts alongside updates to the Contract Administration Model Forms for the Design and Build and Minor Works contracts.

The changes generally reflect those made to the Design and Build Contract which we covered in some detail here and discussed in our webinar of 25 April 2024.

For example, the 2024 Minor Works contracts feature gender-neutral language and include provisions for electronic communications in the same form as those in the 2024 Design and Build suite. As with the 2024 Design and Build contracts, contractors appointed under the 2024 Minor Works contracts are required to provide information regarding the environmental impact of goods and materials and ‘encouraged’ to suggest ‘economically viable’ amendments to the works which reduce the works’ environmental impact.

The previously optional provision requiring the parties to act ‘in good faith’ has been promoted to a core term of the 2024 Minor Works contracts in exactly the same form as under the 2024 Design and Build suite. Further similarities with the Design and Build suite include more detailed provisions governing compensation on termination, an expanded definition of insolvency, an enhanced design obligation together with an express exclusion of fitness for purpose design obligations (in the ‘with design’ version), confirmation that liquidated damages cannot be levied in respect of any period following termination and a very light-touch approach to the Building Safety Act, limited to identifying duty holders.

Unsurprisingly, the JCT has preserved the approach to extensions of time and loss and expense set out in previous editions of the Minor Works contract. Those provisions allow a reasonable extension of time for any delaying cause beyond the Contractor’s control and largely fix the Contract Sum. Consequently, specific drafting for the ‘new’ grounds for extensions of time and loss and expense which appear in the Design and Build contracts (pandemics, changes in law and contamination) does not appear in the Minor Works contracts.

In practice, the Minor Works contracts are used in their unamended form more frequently than other JCT contracts, albeit usually for simpler and lower value contracts. Although there is nothing in the changes which should alarm users, it will be interesting to see the impacts of the new design obligations, termination drafting and good faith obligations under these contracts.

We will be discussing the 2024 JCT suite (including the Minor Works and Design and Build contracts) at our forthcoming webinar on Tuesday 18 June, to register please click here.

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