I suspect Tony Bingham is correct in his view that the Be Collaborative Contract is unlikely to be widely used (12 September, page 51).
The recently published RICS Contracts in Use survey makes grim reading for the authors of the new forms of contract that allegedly embrace the Egan and Latham agendas. Although it provides only a snapshot of contracts in use in 2001, the survey records that although the Egan-friendly ECC and PPC2000 contracts were used on 20 projects with a combined value of about £60m, the old, much-criticised JCT contracts were used more than 2700 times on projects worth a total of more than £2.5bn.

The lack of success of the ECC and PPC2000 contracts and the likely lack of take-up of the Be contract will not, however, be because rotten old lawyers advise their clients to avoid them because they don't "pile all the risk" on the contractor. Bingham was no doubt playing to the gallery with that remark, but anyone with a passing familiarity with the procurement end of the construction process would be aware that most contracts are let without the involvement of lawyers.

The difficulty that the Be contract will face is not lawyers but contractors, architects and quantity surveyors, who will need to be convinced that it offers something sufficiently different and more worthwhile than the JCT forms. I suspect many will take the view expressed by Peter Thompson of Slough Estates at the launch of the Be contract that "collaboration requires commitment, not contracts" and concentrate on building effective relationships between the construction team while sticking with the contractual framework of the JCT devil they know.