Tony Bingham gave us a light-hearted Christmas reminder of the benefits of the employer having on site people who understand the sharp end of construction (14 December, page 56).

I could not agree more. JCT contracts call that person a “clerk of works” and apparently give them no direct role in the administration of the contract. Odd. It’s also true that the NEC contracts, used successfully and increasingly in the building and infrastructure sectors in the UK and internationally, does not have a contractual role called “clerk of works”.

However, as I am sure Mr Bingham is more than aware, the ECC, used by countless members of the NEC Users’ Group, does have give a clear role to the “supervisor”. That role within the contract is focused on compliance: ensuring the contractor delivers what it has promised through testing and the identification and management of defects. This is a clear and very important role for a “clerk of works”.

To suggest that the Olympic Delivery Authority, in choosing to use a modern form of contract as it did, “decided to save money by cutting out the clerk of works” is just a fraction disingenuous! The Institute of Clerks of Works need not fear the NEC!

Richard Patterson, procurement and NEC specialist, Mott MacDonald