RIBA report shows JCT is dominant contract provider and “industry standard”

The RIBA Construction Contracts and Law Report 2022 has been published, with the results showing that JCT continues to be the most widely used standard form contract provider in the UK construction industry.

59% of respondents indicated that JCT contracts were the forms that their organisation used most often, whilst 71% said that they had used a JCT contract over the last 12 months.

When asked to give reasons for their choice of contract, respondents said of JCT: “industry standard and tested in the courts”, “fair, equitable and well understood”, “standard lump sum contract understood by the industry” and “simple and familiar”.

The use of JCT contracts was particularly dominant in the sector of project value between £250,000 and £5m.

The report also showed that the overall level of reported disputes within the industry was continuing to fall – from 44% in 2015, to 33% in 2018, to 27% this year.

The importance of sustainability and collaboration were key themes. 43% of respondents were involved in one or more contracts that included ‘expected sustainable outcomes’ and 32% that included ‘measurable sustainability criteria’. 23% said that ‘operational performance criteria’ had become a contractual requirement, while 21% referenced ‘embodied carbon criteria’.

Regarding collaboration, 57% of respondents said they adopted collaboration techniques on some or all projects, with almost a quarter adopting collaboration techniques on all projects. 63% said that collaboration techniques reduced the number of disputes, and 61% said they improved the delivery of the client’s objectives.

JCT was one of the first standard form contract authoring bodies to produce specific clauses relating to sustainability and collaborative working within its contract suite and in its guidance note, Building a Sustainable Future Together.

The RIBA Contracts and Law Report 2022 survey was completed by over 950 clients, contractors and consultants throughout January and April 2022. It focused on projects over the previous 12 months. The report can be read and downloaded at https://www.architecture.com/knowledge-and-resources/knowledge-landing-page/riba-construction-contracts-and-law-report-2022.