What is a JCT Contract?

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JCT Contract


The Joint Contracts Tribunal (‘JCT’) suite of contracts are one of the most popular forms of construction contract in England and Wales. The JCT produces standard forms of construction contracts, as well as guidance notes and additional documentation, such as sub-contracts and collateral warranties, for use on a variety of construction projects. In this article, we discuss what a JCT contract is and the benefits of using one on your project.

What is the Joint Contracts Tribunal?

The JCT was formed in 1931 by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and the National Federation of Building Trades Employers (NFBTE). Since its establishment, it has expanded and is now formed of seven member organisations, including RIBA and the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), with each organisation representing a different sector of the construction industry.

How does a JCT contract work?

JCT contracts are available to purchase by anyone wishing to enter into a building contract with another party and are generally made between an ‘employer’ and a ‘contractor’. Each contract sets out the responsibilities and obligations of all the parties involved, so it is easy to see what work needs to be done, by whom and when and how. The JCT states that their “approach is to produce standard forms that meet clearly defined needs and apportion risk in a way that is appropriate for the procurement methods they reflect.” (The Joint Contracts Tribunal, 2021).

The standard forms of contracts include conditions which are applicable to a variety of building projects, from a domestic home extension to a commercial building development. The standard provisions can also be amended using a schedule of amendments attached to the main contract.

What are the different forms of JCT contracts?

The JCT publishes a range of different building contracts, grouped into ‘families’, for use on different types of projects and through different procurement routes. The most commonly used JCT contracts families are:

Homeowner Building Contracts – For use on projects carried out by owners of domestic properties e.g. a house extension.

Minor Works Building Contracts – For use on small scale projects with a simple design element e.g. remodelling an area of an existing office building.

Intermediate Building Contracts – For use on mid-sized projects e.g. a small building on an existing site.

Standard Building Contracts – For use on more complex construction projects where detailed contract provisions are needed e.g. a new block of flats or a public building.

Design and Build Contracts – For use on  complex construction projects (as with the Standard Building Contracts), but with the distinction that the contractor both designs and builds the project.

Why use a JCT contract?

There are multiple benefits to using a JCT contract on your project, with the main reason being that the standardisation saves time and minimises costs compared with drafting a contract from scratch. JCT contracts also allocate risk in a fair way, meaning that the terms don’t favour one party over another. Furthermore, JCT contracts also include provisions relating to dispute resolution, usually through arbitration or adjudication.

How can Barton Legal help?

At Barton Legal we have extensive experience in all the standard contract forms, including JCT as well as NEC, IChemE, and FIDIC.

We believe that an increased understanding of contractual terms and the roles and responsibilities of all parties ensures a successful conclusion to a project, which is why we always use plain English and ensure you understand and can apply the terms of your contract.

Our aim is to reduce legal gobbledegook and increase collaboration between parties to increase the prospects of completing your project on time and on budget

We place great emphasis in the early stages of the contract on understanding and preparing thoroughly, in order to avoid costly disputes later.

If you have any queries regarding JCT contracts or any other form of construction contract please do not hesitate to get in touch by email leeds@bartonlegal.com or call our office on 0113 202 9550.