NEC have announced that the next generation of NEC documents will be made available this summer.This is the first major release of NEC documents for 12 years. After such a period many will perhaps concern over any amendments so set out  below are the highlights:

New form of contract – NEC4 Design Build Operate contract (DBO) - possibly the most significant thing within this update will be the new DBO contract, for projects where design, construction, operation and/or maintenance is via a single supplier. 

Contractors proposals - new contractual processes for Contractor or Project Manager to benefit the outcome of the project, by reducing cost or acceleration of completion.

Dispute resolution - introduction of a four week period under which disputes are to be negotiated. If an agreement cannot be reached during this period, formal proceedings cannot be commenced until the expiry of the four weeks. This will be mandatory except for contracts which fall under the Housing, Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act.

Collateral warranties - adapted to allow the specifying which Collateral Warranties will be required and under what form, negating the need for various Z-clause amendments. 

Building Information Management (BIM) - adapted to include secondary options to support its use. 

Assignment - NEC4 now contains core clauses that allow for the assignment of the contract, previously this would have required Z-Clause amendment.

Terminology - a number of changes have been made to the terminology used, most notably:

  • Client is now used in place of 'Employer'.
  • Scope is now used in place of previous terms such as 'Works Information', 'Service Information'  and 'Goods Information' (Supply Contract). 
  • Early Warning Register is now used in place of 'Risk Register' 

Viewpoint - until the documents are released in the summer there is little merit in making comment  as to the benefits of these amendments but the NEC is highlighting that this is very much evolution opposed to revolution and that current users of the NEC3 will be able to move over to NEC4 with the minimum of fuss. 

Everything points to the NEC4 improving on the NEC3!