NEC contracts—introduction
NEC contracts—introduction

The following Construction practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • NEC contracts—introduction
  • Introduction to NEC
  • Intended use
  • Style
  • Good management
  • The contract—documents and structure
  • Main options
  • Dispute resolution options
  • Secondary options
  • Z clauses
  • More...

This Practice Note examines the type of construction projects that the NEC contracts are intended to be used for and the key features of the NEC3 and NEC4 suites of construction contracts. It looks at the style and structure of the NEC3/NEC4 contracts (including the main options, secondary options and Z clauses) and examines the principles adopted by the NEC in the drafting of them. It also considers some of the features which differentiate the NEC contracts from other industry standard forms (such as the Risk Register/Early Warning Register and early warning mechanism).

Note that the NEC3 suite refers to the ‘Employer’ but, in the NEC4 suite, the employer is re-named the ‘Client’. For ease of reference, this Practice Note uses ‘Client’ in relation to both contracts. For a glossary of NEC terms, see Practice Note: NEC contracts—glossary.

Introduction to NEC

The NEC contracts are published by the Institution of Civil Engineers. The first contract published was the first edition of the New Engineering Contract in 1993. This was followed by a new suite of NEC contracts in 2005 (revised and re-published in 2013) which are known as NEC3.

In 2017, the NEC4 suite of contracts was published to update and, ultimately, replace the NEC3 suite. The changes introduced in the NEC4 contracts were described by the NEC, at the time of launch, as an evolution of NEC3,

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