New industry consultation setup to comment on a stronger eco-stance and guidance in building contracts

The Joint Contracts Tribunal (JCT) has launched an industry consultation today to ask for comments to the suggestion that building contracts should include stronger sustainability performance provisions.

Companies and organisations from all sides of the industry and supply chain are being asked whether additional contractual provisions and guidance would be effective in improving the industry’s sustainability agenda.

Peter Hibberd, secretary general of JCT, said: “As over 70% of all building contracts are under a JCT form, we have an opportunity to gain consensus from, and perhaps provide leadership to, the industry to help improve its record on sustainability.”

The month-long consultation follows the successful discussions last December between JCT and senior executives from organisations across the industry, government departments and agencies chaired by James Wates, chairman of the Construction Confederation and deputy chairman of Wates.

Hibberd admitted that the construction industry in general appears to accept that something has to be done about sustainability.

He added: “As it is the largest industry in the economy, it has to take responsibility, and to some degree leadership, in introducing changes.”

A briefing paper has been produced to provide a greater insight into the reasoning behind JCT’s suggestions.

Questions such as whether contractual provisions could be effective, what remedies could be sought for failure to meet sustainability requirements, and how contracts and guidance could assist and encourage professional advisers to give priority to sustainable design features are all considered.

The closing date for responses is 29 February 2008.