JCT publishes Minor Works 2024: What are the key changes?

9 minute read
29 May 2024

In April 2024, the Joints Contracts Tribunal (JCT) published the first of its much-anticipated 2024 updates: the Design and Build Contract 2024 (DB 2024) contract family.

On 15 May 2024, the JCT published its second tranche of 2024 updates: the JCT Minor Works 2024 (MW 2024) suite. The documents published comprise of:

  • Minor Works Building Contract (MW 2024);
  • Minor Works Building Contract with Contractor Design (MWD 2024);
  • Minor Works Sub-Contact with Sub-Contractor's Design (MWSub/D 2024);
  • Short Form of Sub-Contract (ShortSub); and
  • Sub-subcontract (SubSub).


In the MW 2024 suite the guidance notes on each contract are found within the same document as the contract terms, at the end of each document.

Alongside these, the JCT has also published the Minor Works Admin Contract Administration Model Forms, which are template documents and notices intended to provide assistance with administering the MW and MWD 2024. This follows the publication in 2023 of JCT's Contract Administration Model Forms for use with its 2016 suite. The forms include a number of templates intended to streamline the administration of the contracts, including, for example, a pay less notice, sectional completion certificate, practical completion certificate and final certificate.

As with the DB 2024 updates, the MW 2024 is not a wholesale revision of the existing JCT 2016 contracts. However, it contains a number of updates which broadly mirror those in the DB 2024.

In this article we look at some of the key changes in the MW 2024 suite.

Reminder: when can the MW suite be used?

The JCT says that the MW 2024 is suitable for use where the work involved is simple in character and is designed by or on behalf of the Employer (although where the Contractor is to design discrete part(s) of the work, the MWD 2024 may be more suitable). It can be used by both private and local authority employers.

However, it is not suitable for use where bills of quantities are required, or where detailed control procedures are needed. In the 2024 update, the JCT has clarified this comment further, adding that such detailed control procedures would include, for example, detailed provisions governing extensions of time and loss and expense. As in previous editions, such provisions are not included in the new MW 2024 suite and users should look to a different, more detailed, JCT form where they are required.

Key Changes

Modernisation

In alignment with the DB 2024 suite, the MW 2024 has undergone modernisation to allow for the delivery of most notices via email. However, it is important to note that key notices related to default or termination, as governed by clause 6.2.3.2, can be sent via email only if the parties explicitly 'opt in' by including this provision in the Contract Particulars (CPs).

Additionally, the updated form accommodates electronic signatures and employs gender-neutral language throughout.

Building Safety Act

Consistent with the DB 2024 suite, updates have been added to the MW 2024 to address the new dutyholder requirements under Part 2A of the Building Regulations 2010. These requirements were introduced as part of the suite of measures under the Building Safety Act 2022.

Previously, Articles 4 and 5 dealt with the CDM principal designer and principal contractor roles separately. However, the updated forms now combine these roles into a single Article 5, which addresses specifically the new CDM regulations for each of them. New Article 6 details who is to be appointed as principal designer and principal contractor for the purpose of the Building Regulations.

Collaborative working and good faith

The MW 2024 again aligns with the updates in DB 2024 here. New Article 3, previously an optional supplemental provision, has now been elevated to a core term, requiring parties to "work with each other and with other project team members in a co-operative and collaborative manner, in good faith and in a spirit of trust and respect".

Similarly, the two other previously optional supplemental provisions relating to sustainable development and environmental considerations, and negotiation and dispute resolution, have been integrated into the main provisions.

No changes relating to extensions of time

The approach taken to extensions of time and loss and expense remains unchanged in the MW 2024 suite. Clause 2.7 provides for reasonable extensions of time where delay occurs for reasons beyond the control of the Contractor.

Thus, the new and expanded Relevant Events / Relevant Matters covering epidemics, changes in law and asbestos / contaminated material etc. in the DB 2024 suite have not been carried across to the MW 2024. This is not surprising since, as noted above, the JCT has stated that the MW suite is not suitable for use where detailed extension of time / loss and expense provisions are needed. However, as in the DB 2024, "Statutory Undertakers" have been renamed as "Statutory Providers".

Contractor's design liability in MWD 2024

In the MWD 2024, there are some important amendments to the Contractor's design liability in respect of the Contractor's Designed Portion. A new sub-clause 2.1.3.2 has been added which makes it clear that, to the extent permitted by the Statutory Requirements, the Contractor will have no greater duty than to exercise reasonable skill and care in respect of its design and "under no circumstances" shall it be subject to a fit for purpose obligation. This echoes clause 2.17.1.2 in the DB 2024 – although, unlike the DB 2024, the Contractor in the MWD 2024 does not provide a warranty that it will carry out the design with reasonable skill and care.

Further changes in keeping with DB 2024

A number of other changes have been made which mirror those in the DB 2024 suite, including:

  • Amendment of the termination provisions to make express provision for the payment and payment-related notice requirements of the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996.
  • The addition of two new company insolvency grounds, reflecting the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020 (CIGA).
  • The deletion of the Fluctuations Options, which are instead available online on the JCT website.

What next?

It is expected that the JCT will continue to issue each contract family in the 2024 suite on a rolling basis throughout 2024. A new development will be the new Target Cost Contract, sub-contract and guide which have also been announced by the JCT for 2024.

If you have any questions about this article, please contact Philip Baker.


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