Lawyers welcome Construction Industry Council contract, released on 10 December, but warn clients of cap on consultants' liability

The Construction Industry Council (CIC) is due to publish the CIC Consultants’ Contract and Scope of Services on 10 December, following a long consultation process.

The appointment section of the contract, which is aimed at experienced clients and consultants on large construction projects, came under fire during the consultation period from some clients who felt it placed too much risk on them.

In particular, clients were concerned about an aggregate cap on consultants' liabilities.

The CIC Scope of Service sets out tasks for all members of the project undertaking the design and definition process (design, cost, programme, health & safety) not just the consultants. The CIC says that this represents an innovative and integrated approach to services.

Commenting on the publication, Helen Garthwaite of law firm Taylor Wessing said: "Though this contract does come closer than other comparable forms to providing a form acceptable to the wide range of parties in any construction project, some parties may still have concerns with the approach the CIC have taken on certain issues.

"For example, the inclusion of an aggregate cap on the consultant's liability which acts to cap liability to both the employer and third parties is unlikely to be acceptable to all. The parties will need to consider such issues carefully to reach a workable solution.

"The approach taken by CIC to the services to be undertaken by the whole project team before construction can take place is innovative and imaginative. "