Out-Law News 1 min. read

JCT design and build 2024 form should be adopted ‘as soon as possible’

Employers and contractors should adopt the 2024 version of the Joint Contracts Tribunal (JCT) design and build contract as well as the design and build subcontract as soon as possible to ensure their contracts are up to date, an expert has said.

The JCT published the 2024 edition of the standard contract forms on 17 April, replacing the earlier 2016 versions. Employers and contractors in the construction industry now have to consider whether they should use the updated version in place of the earlier versions.

Michael Allan, construction law expert at Pinsent Masons said: “Choosing to stick with the 2016 contracts means that sooner rather than later you are going to be asked the reason you are using ‘the old form’.”

The update takes into account specific amendments, but it is not a radical rewrite of the earlier versions. The layout and form of the 2016 version remains the same in the 2024 edition. However, there are some key differences that should be noted by contractors and employers reviewing existing contracts or preparing new contracts.

Read more on the new JCT 2024 design & build contract


“There are some small but important changes in the 2024 contract. It therefore makes sense to make the switch sooner rather than later as we do not see anything in the 2024 form that should put anyone off or that could not be dealt with through easy amendment,” said Allan.

The 2024 changes include the use of gender-neutral language within contracts. . Other changes include provisions to deal with the building safety regulations, new “relevant events” having been included to cover epidemics, the expansion of the antiquities clause to include asbestos, contaminated material and unexploded ordnance as well as a limit to the contractor’s duty on design to “reasonable skill and care”.

Despite the benefits of moving to the new version, there is a timing question to be resolved, Allan said. JCT has a full suite of contracts and the release of the design and build form is just the first of a number expected to be updated in the coming months.

“Many employers and contractors have styles and precedents that cover the whole contract suite.  Some may prefer to wait until at least the most used forms are released in their 2024 editions before they switch across. However, there is no reason why parties cannot adopt the 2024 contracts as they are released, at least we now know the nature of the amendments that are to be made across the suite,” Allan said.

We are processing your request. \n Thank you for your patience. An error occurred. This could be due to inactivity on the page - please try again.