Contractor’s Obligations and Powers in JCT Intermediate Contracts

Published: July 9, 2020
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It has been almost a hundred years since the Joint Contracts Tribunal (JCT) was established. It changed the face of construction through the publication of standard forms of building contract. The latest JCT Intermediate Contract was released in 2016 in line with new payment legislation and current statutory requirements.

To ensure you don’t find yourself on the wrong side of a JCT Intermediate Contract, here we’ll discuss the powers and obligations that you, as a contractor, have.

Main obligations

As a contractor, you are obliged to:

  • carry out and complete the work in a proper and workmanlike manner and in accordance with the contract document, health and safety plan, and statutory requirements (clause 2.1)
  • advise the architect sufficiently in advance of when the drawings are needed, if you have reason to believe that the architect is unaware of this
  • give written notice to the architect of any errors, omissions or inconsistencies you find in or between documents (clause 2.11.3)
  • supply good and proper materials
  • complete the work by the date of completion stated in the contract or if no completion date is specified, complete the work within a reasonable timeframe from the point of being given possession of the work site
  • bring the work to a state of practical completion, such that the architect can issue a Practical Completion Certification (clause 2.21)
  • ensure that the finished building is reasonably fit for its intended purpose (to the extent that this had been made known) in cases where there is no designer employed for the project
  • take responsibility for all defaults on the part of subcontractors, whether they are named or not, for fabrication and workmanship; you are, however, exempted from design and design-associated failures on the part of named subcontractors
  • amend any errors arising from inaccurate settings out at no extra cost (clause 2.8.3)
  • only enter into a subcontract with a named person within 21 days after the main contract has been executed (clause 3.7)
  • remedy all defective work during and immediately after the specified rectification period
  • permit works that are not part of the contract to be carried out by your employer or another person directly engaged with the contract works if it is stipulated in the contract; if it is not stipulated you can give consent and this consent must not be unreasonably delayed or withheld (clause 2.7).

Main powers

As a contractor, you have the power to:

  • complete the works on or before the relevant completion date (clause 2.4)
  • give consent to your employer to take possession of part of the work before a Practical Completion or Section Completion Certificate is issued — consent must not be unreasonably delayed or withheld (clause 2.25).

Additional obligations

Construction works are subject to the unexpected and should you find yourself in the situation of non-completion of works or required to rectify works, there are additional obligations to be aware of.

Non-completion of work

As a contractor in the situation of non-completion of works, you are obliged to pay or absorb employer liquidation damages at the rate specified in the contract (clause 2.23) but only when all of the below criteria are met:

  • the architect issued a certificate of non-completion
  • the employer informed you in writing before the date of the final certificate that payments or deductions may be required
  • the employer notified you in writing of the need for liquidation damages at least 5 days before the final date of payment.

Rectification period

As a contractor in the situation where defects in the works are found, you are obliged to make good any defect, shrinkage or other faults at no extra cost to the employer (clause 2.30) but only when all of the below criteria are met:

  • you are notified of defects by the architect within 14 days after the expiry of the rectification period
  • the defects are due to materials or workmanship not in accordance with the contract
  • the architect has not instructed you otherwise.

With a thorough understanding of your powers and obligations, you will be able to reduce your risk of disputes with the client side and/or costly delays to your construction project.