Avoiding payment pitfalls with JCT & NEC Contracts and your legal options

Proposed RIBA Curriculum Topic: Procurement and Contracts

JCT and NEC contracts are standard forms of contract. Both contracts provide a variety of options that suit the needs and requirements of clients.  Reliable cash flow is crucial to the successful delivery of projects and, indeed, to the health of the wider construction industry and RSUA has organised this seminar to make sure you understand the contractual obligations under JCT and NEC with respect to payments.  

Under JCT Contracts, the Contract Administrator (CA) typically administers the contract on behalf of the employer and has a duty to act impartially between parties. The primary emphasis of the CA is on payment administration and guiding the parties though the procedures and processes under the contract.  This can lean towards a contractual attitude that fosters an adversarial relationship between the parties.

Under the NEC, the Project Manager (PM) fulfils responsibility for contract administration. The PM assumes a proactive project management and collaborative role with a pre-requisite to act in a spirit of mutual trust and co-operation with both the developer and contractor. At its outset, this fosters the optimisation of project delivery while aiming to reduce disputes.

Course content

This three-hour seminar is divided into two separate sessions.  A two hour seminar at 3pm on Thursday 11 February and a one hour seminar at 4pm on Tuesday 16 February. Recordings will be made if you are unable to attend a session.

Section one considers how to assist cash-flow in your role as Contract Administrator under the terms of a JCT Contract – delivered by Jim Armstrong – or in your role as Project Manager under the terms of an NEC Contract – delivered by Pamela Vasey – and includes: 

·       Interim payments – dates and certificates

·       Contractor’s applications and payment notices

·       Payments – amounts and notices

·       Failure to pay amount due

·       Contractor’s right of suspension

·       Final certificate and final payment

Section two – delivered by Tim Kinney – considers further what happens when contracts and payment mechanisms go wrong and includes:

·       The right to adjudicate

·       The Construction Act

·       The Scheme for construction contracts

·       Adjudication provisions

·       Payment processes under the Act & Scheme

·       Examples of the pitfalls and perils

Speaker info

Jim Armstrong is a registered architect with over thirty years’ experience in construction. He studied Architecture at The Queen’s University of Belfast; Construction and Project Management at the University of Ulster; and Construction Law, Arbitration and Adjudication at The Robert Gordon University of Aberdeen.  Jim is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, and is presently an ARB Inquirer providing advice to the Investigations Panel in respect of allegations of unacceptable professional conduct and/or serious professional incompetence against architects. Jim has been one of RSUA’s key delivery partners in training.

Pamela Vasey is an Architect with Masters in Construction Law who ran her own commercial architecture practice for around 20 years. She was one of the first architects in Northern Ireland to train as and act as an Adjudicator when the Construction Order was first introduced. In more recent years she has been working with a local government agency on dispute/claims management and developing good practice in delivering NEC contracts including drafting contract documents, contract interpretation, and staff training.  Now running a Construction Industry consultancy on all things Contract, she also delivers lectures to RIBA Part 3 students at Queen’s University, Belfast, and has acted as an external examiner for the Part 3 students at QUB since 2012. Pamela is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.

Tim Kinney is a partner in Tughans specialising in construction.  Tim originally trained as an architect before converting to law. He has wide ranging experience in both construction and project procurement and advises on all forms of construction and engineering contracts, sub-contracts and consultancy agreements as well as advising on project agreements and related sub-contracts and procurement issues on PFI/PPP projects.