One of the UK’s leading trade assocations for the construction industry, Build UK, has urged contractors to take more care before entering into contracts with the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). During a review of the RIBA Concise Building Contract and the RIBA Domestic Building Contract, it was highlighted that contractors were setting themselves up to take a large proportion of the financial risk.
The small print means contractors are subject to potentially costly implications, including forfeiting the right to an EOT/additional payment if changes are made without the contract administrator being made aware within 10 days of the change instruction. Details of both time and cost implications must be forwarded by contractors under the two RIBA contracts.
Greater awareness of the accompanying responsibilities and obligations is therefore required and, if in doubt, contractors should seek appropriate legal advice. The research was carried out by legislation expert and industry body, the Contractors Legal Group (CLG), of which Build UK is a member.
The Concise Building Contract is designed for small-scale commercial building projects while the Domestic Building Contract covers the breadth of non-commercial work, including: new builds, extensions, renovations and maintenance.
Following CLG’s review, Build UK also pointed out the lack of standard sub-contracts to go hand-in-hand with the RIBA contracts. For contractors reliant on their supply chain, RIBA’s contracts could therefore prove a costly learning curve. The trade association insisted that any and all sub-contracts should be clear and need to adhere with RIBA’s specific requirements.
RIBA has since been made aware of the issues raised by CLG and Build UK. The organisation is currently reviewing the two contracts though its is not expected to published the revised versions until later this year. It is hoped the revisions will take into account the disproportionate risk contractors currently face and present a more financially viable alternative from which all parties can benefit.