All building contracts after 01/10/2011 whether they are written or oral call upon the terms of Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009 (LDEDC). Contained within it is made clear that a written contract is preferred. There are various suites of building contracts in use in the UK. The more widely used are JCT / SBCC and NEC3. It is also recommended beyond a written contract we use standard forms of contract. However, 24% have used purpose-written bespoke contracts according to respondents to the National Construction Contracts and Law Survey 2012.

By correctly selecting your construction consultants you are best placed to select the right contract for your project. It is also possible to lean on you contractor to provide a design team or take on the project as design and build.

Any given Employer / Client can run their project the way they see fit and with the support of a good contractor it is always possible.


Standard forms of contract in common use for construction in the UK.

JCT (The Joint Contracts Tribunal)

DB: Design and build contract.

CD: Standard form with contractor design.

CE: Constructing excellence contract.

CM: Construction management contract.

IFC: Intermediate form of building contract.

MC: Management contract.

MTC: Measured term contract.

MW: Agreement for minor work.

PCC: Prime cost building contract.

MP: Major project construction contract.

RM: Repair and maintenance contract (commercial).

SBC: Standard form of building contract.

NB the JCT traditional forms of contract remain by far the most popular forms of contract in the UK (ref nbs: National Construction Contracts and Law Survey 2012).

ACA (The Association of Consultant Architects).

Form of building agreement.

PPC: Standard form of contract for project partnering.

SPC: Standard form of specialist contract for project partnering.

Chartered Institute of Building

CPC 2013: CIOB Contract for use with Complex Projects.

FIDIC (Fédération Internationale des Ingénieurs-Conseils).

FIDIC’s core suite of contracts includes:

Conditions of Contract for Construction. The Red Book.

Conditions of Contract for Plant & Design-Build. The Yellow Book.

Conditions of Contract for EPC Turnkey Projects. The Silver Book.

The Short Form of Contract. The Green Book.

NEC (The New Engineering Contract): Engineering and Construction Contract).

Option A: Priced contract with activity schedule.

Option B: Priced contract with bill of quantities.

Option C: Target contract with activity schedule.

Option D: Target contract with bill of quantities.

Option E: Cost reimbursable contract.

Option F: Management contract.

Option G: Term contract.

For more information see NEC3.

Other forms of contract

Other less commonly used forms of contract include:

The GC Works suite of standard government conditions of contract are no longer being updated by the government who are now moving to the New Engineering Contracts, now in their third edition NEC3. See GC Works for more information.

IChemE (The Institution of Chemical Engineers) forms of contract.

ICC Infrastructure Conditions of Contract. A relaunch of CoC (see below)

The ICE Conditions of Contract (CoC) (previously maintained by the Institution of Civil Engineers) have been withdrawn in favour of NEC contracts. See ICE Conditions of Contract for more information.

IMechE/IET (The Institution of Mechanical Engineers / The Institution of Engineering Technology) Model Forms of General Conditions of Contract for electrical works (MF/1-4).

The Civil Engineering Contractors’ Association (CECA) subcontracts for the ICC (above).