NEC has recently published numerous amendments to the NEC4 suite of contracts and of particular interest are the changes to the NEC4 Engineering and Construction Contract (“ECC”).

NEC has sought to address the issue of remote working (exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic and a trend which shows no signs of slowing down) by amending the Schedule of Cost Components in the ECC to provide a mechanism for people working outside of the Working Areas, for example, from home or another location. As part of this, an option has been added in the Contract Data for the parties to note whose costs will be recoverable as part of Defined Cost even when working outside the Working Areas. If this information is not included in the Contract Data, it can be included by agreement with the Project Manager at any time.

The addition of these provisions is very welcome and reflects the new ways of working that many organisations have enthusiastically adopted post Covid-19. In addition, we envisage that these provisions will be embraced by NEC users for helping to support workforce diversity and remote working.

Other notable updates to the ECC include:

  • The addition of Option X29 on climate change: this option was issued by NEC last year but has now been incorporated into the ECC and details of the Climate Change Plan added to the Contract Data;
  • Option X22 (Early Contractor Involvement for ECC Options C and E): has been deleted and revised wording included; and
  • Dispute Resolution Option W2 (adjudication): has been deleted and revised wording included around the Adjudicator’s powers to decide the procedure and timetable to be followed in adjudication.

For more details on the amendments, please see here.