Retentions have been a hot topic in the construction industry for a number of years.

One could therefore be forgiven for thinking that the drafters of JCT05 would have taken the opportunity of standardising the manner in which retention is dealt with across its stable of standard forms.

This is not so. In the major projects form there is no provision for retention. The standard building contract provides for 3% retention unless stated otherwise in the contract particulars. The alternative of a retention bond is provided except for the design-and-build version. By way of contrast there is no specific reference in the intermediate form to retention but payment certificates issued prior to practical completion are to include a sum that represents 95% of the value of the works or such other percentage stated in the contract particulars; in other words 5% retention.

Roger Knowles