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Project contracts and how they support collaborative working

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The APM North East branch welcomed local members to this event focused on the world of contract law and how contracts can support collaborative working. This being a world which many find slightly daunting or perhaps confusing; something which was tackled on the day!

There was an afternoon of sessions covering different types of contracts (plus how and when to use them) using case studies to illustrate plus a spot of afternoon tea to finish.

Which contract should I be using?

Robert Langley, partner and head of the construction and engineering team at Muckle LLP, provided an overview of different standard form types of contract, focusing on appropriate usage and key provisions. Robert's presentation is available below:

Case studies

Robert Langley went on to provide a session based around case studies which discussed the following:

  • The role of the project manager - partisan or certifier?
  • The duty of care to a contractor.
  • The project manager's duty to manage commercial issues and contractual formation.
  • Confidentiality and privacy - what records should be kept, who can access them, how long should they be retained?

The audience was then split into teams of 'clients/project managers' and 'contractors' to attempt to resolve a scenario. The audience regrouped and Rob talked through the team's answers.

The slides from Rob's case studies session are available below:

Collaborative contracting strategies and use of the NEC3 family of contracts

Dr Jon Broome, chair of the APM Contracts and Procurement specific interest group (SIG) began this session with an overview of the core components of setting up a collaborative working environment between different organisations; including aligning commercial interests, addressing cultural concerns, integrating processes and systems and the need to build in continuous improvement in all these areas. Jon kept a focus on the main contract strategies which can be used to create commercial alignment, namely incentives added onto price based contracts; target cost contracts. 

Jon went on to briefly cover the NEC3 family of contracts' three main objectives in terms of what it was aiming to achieve compared with traditional forms. 

The first of these objectives, ‘flexibility and range of applications’, directly relates to the ease with which different contract strategies can be put in place, but the objectives of ‘clarity and simplicity’ and ‘stimulus to good project management’ will also be covered.

Jon ended by providing a quick overview of the NEC3 Professional Services Short Contract in terms of what it is and when to use it. This contract replaced the APM’s standard terms for the appointment of project manager and was written as a collaboration between the APM and the publishers of the NEC3. It is an ideal introductory contract for those new to the NEC3 family.

Jon's presentation slides are available below:


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