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JCT 2024 — key changes explained

AuthorsJennie Jones

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The JCT has released its updated suite of contracts for 2024, introducing significant revisions to the previous forms. These changes are intended to reflect evolving industry practices, legal developments and emerging technologies.

Here, Jennie Jones from our construction team provides a brief overview of some of the key changes.

 

Key changes outlined

1. Building safety

The new suite includes provisions that align with the Building Safety Act 2022 to address new dutyholder roles and obligations. However, these provisions primarily focus on the general dutyholder regime and may not fully address the specific requirements for higher-risk buildings (HRBs) under the BSA. Parties involved in HRB projects should carefully consider additional bespoke amendments to ensure compliance with the complex requirements of the new regime, such as gateway sign-offs and the golden thread of information.

 

2. Collaboration & good faith

The inclusion of a mandatory ‘good faith’ clause in Article 3 requires parties to work collaboratively and transparently, fostering trust and respect throughout a project. 

This clause — which mirrors a previously optional supplemental provision — emphasises the growing importance of collaborative working in the industry, as promoted by the Construction Playbook. 

While this move is welcomed, its practical implications and potential impact on dispute resolution remain to be seen.

 

3. Environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations

Provisions to encourage environmental performance and sustainability reflect the industry's growing focus on ESG factors. A new general obligation in clause 2.1.5 encourages contractors to suggest environmentally friendly amendments to the Works — highlighting the increasing need for contractors to consider sustainability. 

However, to fully address specific environmental standards, net-zero targets and other ESG goals, parties may need to incorporate further bespoke amendments into their contracts.

 

4. Relevant Events & Relevant Matters

The list of events that entitle a contractor to extensions of time and loss and/or expense claims will increase to include broader provisions for epidemics (which may limit labour or material availability), changes in law and the publication of guidance by governmental or industry bodies. 

Notably, the discovery of asbestos, contaminated material or unexploded ordnance are now also Relevant Events. These changes provide greater clarity on potential delays and cost increases, allowing for better risk management and project planning.

 

5. Other notable changes

Several updates aim to modernise the contract and reflect current industry practices. 

Provisions for electronic communications and eSignatures will help to facilitate digital workflows, while the adoption of gender-neutral language promotes inclusivity. Clarification of design liability and insolvency definitions — as well as streamlined processes for extensions of time claims — aim to assist in project delivery and dispute resolution. 

Additionally, revised termination provisions and the introduction of a Target Cost contract offer greater flexibility and alternative approaches to project management.

 

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If you have any questions about how the new JCT suite will affect your business, talk to our experts by completing our contact form below.

Jennie Jones

Jennie is a Partner in our construction team.

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