Tribunal to discuss incorporating environmental standards in contract at policy meeting in November

JCT contracts could incorporate clauses to insist projects achieve high sustainable standards, according to proposals put forward by the Joint Contracts Tribunal.

The JCT is holding a policy meeting in November to discuss whether contracts should include stronger sustainability performance provisions for the construction process. Questions discussed will include whether such provisions could be effective, what remedies could be sought for failure to meet sustainability requirements, and how contracts could encourage professional advisers to give priority to sustainable design features will all be debated at the meeting, the body said.

Peter Hibberd, JCT secretary-general, said: “It will be interesting to hear what the supply and demand sides of the industry think about this proposal, and to explore how, and if, contracts can be used effectively to improve sustainability in the industry.

“Contracts already provide the framework for performance of the parties working on a project, and could be adapted to include environmental provisions.

Although many leading organisations are responding to the calls for greater corporate social responsibility across the range of their activities, the cost of improving the overall environmental performance of a project is something some employers may be unable or unwilling to bear.”

Hibberd said the JCT’s proposal was similar to the approach being taken by the Olympic Delivery Agency, who is calling for high standards of sustainability, of health and safety, and of occupational health, throughout the entire supply chain.