Legal body to form working group with British Property Federation, the Construction Confederation and the RIBA on embedding sustainability on construction contracts plans after consultation period ends

The Joint Contracts Tribunal has pledged to put forward firm proposals to green construction contracts later this year after finishing the first part of a review this week.

To determine the next steps, JCT has established a working group. Various representatives from its council, which includes the British Property Federation, Construction Confederation, Local Government Association, National Specialist Contractors Council, Royal Institute of British Architects, The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and the Scottish Building Contract Committee, will decide how JCT is going to take this forward.

Peter Hibberd JCT secretary general, said: “With over 70 per cent of all building contracts being under a JCT form, what we decide will have a major impact upon the industry. The working group will decide whether we address sustainability in standard contracts, and if we do, what terms to include, and what guidance we provide.”

The working group will make its recommendations in the summer, and JCT will announce its intentions in the autumn.

Wide response

The body said the level of response to the suggestion that building contracts should include stronger sustainability performance provisions was "excellent", with comments lodged by individuals, companies, trade associations, professional bodies and other organisations.

Hibberd said: “On simple analysis, it is clear that sustainability is a matter of importance, and a substantial majority of respondents thought that performance could be improved through industry specific documentation.

“Many thought that contract conditions should be specific about sustainability performance, but not too detailed, relying upon other supporting documentation for implementation.

“The general view was that these contract clauses must be legally enforceable, and 80 per cent thought that guidance was required for dealing with sustainability in contract documents.”