Contractors could be sued if they miss sustainability targets written into a revised suite of JCT contracts launched last month

From now on, any contractor using a standard JCT contract will have to meet contractural obligations on issues such as waste management, reducing carbon dioxide emissions, and protecting biodiversity.

‘We’re trying to make sure that when people enter into contracts, sustainability is a driving force,’ said JCT chairman Professor Peter Hibberd. ‘If they get it disastrously wrong, they could be sued.’

The JCT is the most widely used contract in construction, used in domestic improvements up to major projects including the Gherkin, the Emirates Stadium and the Oval.

Hibberd said the JCT’s sustainability guidance could also be incorporated into bespoke contracts. ‘I suspect we’ll see more astute clients realising how important sustainability is going to be to subsequent building owners and users, and imposing obligations on contractors and consultants. They’re going to become very familiar with these contracts.’

The new JCT is being piloted at the iCon building in Daventry, where requirements for the contractor to achieve an ‘excellent’ BREEAM rating and meet targets on the whole-life performance of the project have been written into the employer’s requirements.