In "The limits of trust" (7 April, page 70), Gillian Birkby stresses the need for two things in contracts for the procurement of designers' services. The first is "some way of identifying exactly what services the designer is to provide", and the second is a mechanism for identifying who is liable if something goes wrong.
The second aspect is something that traditional forms of contract have always tackled. The first is something that contracts have tended not to do at all well. There is a lack of clarity, and little if any integration of the services of designers of different disciplines. The result can be problems during the course of the job or defects arising later. To fill this gap, a Construction Industry Council group is working on a comprehensive, fully integrated package that details what needs to be done from the commencement to completion of a building project. The services package will be an invaluable tool. It is designed to accompany the proposed CIC consultants' contract, but could be adapted for use with other forms of contract too. A consultation draft will be available shortly.
Frances Paterson, liability convenor at the CIC