Latest JBCC 6.2 Does Not Address Core Concerns
The latest edition of the Joint Building Contracts Committee, JBCC 6.2, has been released. Feedback from the industry is that the new changes are underwhelming and don’t necessarily address some of the core concerns of JBCC 5.
“The new JBCC suite of contracts includes the changes in JBCC 6.0 as well as JBCC 6.1. I am of the opinion that the contract has changed in form but not in substance. One welcome change in the latest edition is that interpretational issues were corrected,” says Steve du Toit, Specialist Construction Consultant and Alusani® Course Leader.
Within the built environment, and especially on large construction projects, there are a variety of disciplines involved in bringing a project to completion. Certain clauses within the JBCC contract have been fleshed out in the latest edition so that different parties can no longer use their own judgement. Steve says these clarifications are a welcome change.
One criticism that Steve has with the latest edition of the JBCC Suite of Contracts is how the Stage of Works Completion has been excluded from the completion process, This, and the manner in which the term “practical completion” is defined, effectively means that works must be complete in all respects at the stage of practical completion, save for minor defects, which results in the compressing of the contractor’s finishing programme.
“In my experience, where a contractor works on large commercial projects such as hospitals, shopping centres, and commercial offices, this would be impossible to achieve. In the projects that I am involved in where I represent the client or developer, I request that they not use JBCC 6.2 and stick to JBCC 5 instead because eliminating the Works Completed requirement will simply lead to more disputes between parties. In these cases, extensive changes need to be made to the JBCC 5 that is being used by the client,” explains Steve.
Steve says that being mindful of the pitfalls of each version of the contracts will help everyone involved create a contract that leads to a successful outcome.
“It’s important to remember that all parties are able to change and agree to changes in certain amendments. From a contractor’s point of view, a thorough understanding of JBCC 6.2 will likely lead to a number of qualifications being included in tenders,” says Steve.
Another issue of contention within JBCC 6.2 is that there is still no meaningful and defined role for the programme, other than a passing reference to it in connection with the contractors’ obligation to indicate the effect of a delay on the critical path when claiming extensions of time. This provision has been made within both the GCC and FIDIC contracts, but it is still sorely lacking within the JBCC.
“This should be in the JBCC contract so that the Principal Agent can use his role to monitor the progress of the works and where necessary, to instruct a contractor to expedite where he is responsible for his own delays. It is possible that contractors are resisting this provision, but its absence only leads to more uncertainty between parties. Many of the core issues of JBCC 5 haven’t been addressed in JBCC 6.2, and I look forward to sharing my knowledge and experience so that people make the right choices regarding amendments to the building contracts they choose to use,” concludes Steve.
Steve will be presenting the JBCC Suite of Contracts training course in different areas of the country: 25 -27 March 2019 in East London, 8-10 April 2019 in Durban and 22-24 May 2019 in Johannesburg.
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