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Brian Reed gravatar image

Hi John

I’m a big fan of the NEC. It is well designed and the flow charts make it easy to understand visually. It is also a fundamentally collaborative contract - I used it several times when it was being developed. Having each key issue on stated once avoids conflict and confusion (e.g. “start date” is only given in one place then every reference refers back to this). It is important to have users rather than just lawyers involved from the start - the contract can be a great tool if used correctly. Here’s something I wrote a while ago about a three page long contract developed in Uganda. It was based on a very reduced NEC pattern.

There is an “NEC community” who may be able to give guidance - the ICE should have contacts.

I’d start with countries with similar legal systems- e.g. Commonwealth rather than trying to work across different systems.

Whilst the contract is an important tool, those people using it need to understand it - both client and contractor. Training is needed as often contracts are seen as negative rather than a liberating tool if used properly!

There are lots of different ways to pay for progress, e.g. a bill of quantities, milestones, turnkey based on performance targets- they all have strengths and weaknesses.

A good specification is needed in parallel, setting out appropriate standards etc. This can be a problem as it needs to be detailed but not onerous or impossible to meet. Too long can be as bad as too short.

Hope that helps!