Contract Drafting

Whether drafting and advising on amendments to standard forms of contracts or drafting entirely bespoke contracts, we have the experience and expertise to ensure your contract says what it is meant to say and does what it is meant to do.


What are the standard forms of construction contracts?

There are many different standard forms of construction contracts with the most widely used being JCT, NEC and FIDIC.


  • The Joint Contracts Tribunal (JCT) contracts are arguably the most popular form of construction contract in England and Wales.
  • The provisions of the JCT refer to the relevant statute/laws of England & Wales.  This means it is ‘oven ready’ to use on a project in England & Wales.
  • The suite of contracts comprises of different ‘families’ which include the standard form as well as guidance notes.
  • They are used for private and domestic projects, e.g., hospital, school and commercial building developments.


  • The New Engineering Contract (NEC) is produced by the Institute for Civil Engineers.
  • It is aimed at trying to avoid any unnecessary disputes as it encourages dialogue between the parties to the contract.
  • The NEC encourages the parties to discuss a matter before an adjudication may be issued.
  • The NEC is aimed at the international market.  It therefore does not refer to specific laws, as the JCT does.
  • Used for public domestic and international projects e.g., HS2 and the velodrome for the London 2012 Olympics.


  • The FIDIC suite of contracts are produced by the International Federation of Consulting Engineers, with FIDIC being an acronym for the Federation’s name in French (Federation Internationale des Ingenieurs-Conseil).
  • The most popular FIDIC contracts are the Red Book (for Building and Engineering works designed by the Employer), the Yellow Book (for electrical and mechanical plant and building works designed by the Contractor), and the Silver Book for large engineering projects such as wind and solar.
  • It is the most international of all contracts and it is usually a requirement of major funding institutions, such as the World Bank, that it is used.
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Bill Barton


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Frequently asked questions

We bring our experience from not just drafting but litigating over the meaning of words, clauses and contracts so that you can have confidence in your contract.

We are familiar with all the standard forms, whether JCT, NEC, IChemE, FIDIC, ICE, and PPC.

We are used to working with less common forms such as Orgalime and the less common sub contracts such as Blue Form.

Our experience encompasses drafting contracts and appointment documents for hotel refurbishments to wind farms, from factory extensions to manufacturing plants, to maintenance contracts for housing associations.

We will use plain English and ensure you understand and can apply your own contractual terms, to give you the confidence necessary to bring your project/development to a successful conclusion.

Do you need amendments to your contract?

Do you fully understand what it currently covers and what it does not?

What do you want your amendments to achieve that a standard form will not?

Will the amendments alter the balance of risk and reward such that justifies the extent of negotiation and drafting involved?

How bespoke do your amendments need to be to the project and to the base contract?

Does your work actually fall somewhere in between a number of standard forms and therefore warrant the drafting of a wholly bespoke contract that will then be capable of use without repeated amendment?

An increased understanding of contractual terms and the roles and responsibilities of all parties assures a much smoother transition. That is why we place great emphasis in the early stages of the contract on understanding and preparing thoroughly, in order to avoid costly disputes later.

At Barton Legal, we have all the resources to provide a smooth, efficient procurement process. Our expertise can significantly reduce disputes and misunderstandings, ensuring you maintain great relationships with your clients.

Our wealth of detailed knowledge brings added value to your work by offering more effective negotiation and drafting of your documentation.

However, to offer fully informed advice, we really need to understand your requirements. To do this we like to learn all we can about you and your business. We will visit your site, where you can brief us on technical issues and potential problem areas so we can anticipate forthcoming issues, whether it is from a legal perspective or from commercial experience.

All this preparation helps us work with you and your team to reduce delays and unexpected costs, to minimise disputes and help you maintain valuable, successful business.

Due diligence is understanding which question to ask and when and who to ask and how. It is about applying experience of similar deals and/or documents to know what is right and what is wrong and it is understanding what your requirements and intentions are.

It is about the interrogation of documents to answer not only the questions you have but also the questions you do not have or have not yet thought of.

Technical know-how, experience, commercial awareness and our relationship with you ensure we can undertake due diligence or help you prepare for such a process, effectively and successfully.

An agreement between two or more parties to arrange how to work together for a common goal. This may be;

  • A partnership structure with a partnership agreement
  • An alliance where businesses form a legal contract to work together for a specific project, using a joint venture agreement
  • The individuals or companies form a new company for this business purpose.

At Barton Legal, we can advise you on entering a joint venture, to make sure the contract works for both parties involved.

If your project/contract is to be successful then everyone involved in providing the information and documentation required, and for it to be drafted and put into operation, has to understand its intended use and purpose.

Whatever the end product and intention of the Contract, it is necessary to ensure each consultant understands their role, how they interact and will affect others, and the relevance of time and costs.

The greater the harmony between all the individual parts of the Professional team the more effective, applicable, understandable and enforceable your contract will be.

Years of experience in working on different projects with different companies, in different countries for different products and outcomes have helped us understand how to manage large and complex professional teams and to produce complex contracts which are still commercial, useable and effective.

Our extension network of contacts can also help you to find and engage specialist consultants.