NBS Preliminaries includes sets of clauses for use with the JCT Major Project Construction Contract. NBS Technical Author Roland Finch explains some of the main features.

JCT Major Project Construction Contract (2005, as amended)

The JCT Major Project Form (MPF) was launched in June 2003, and became the first new “traditional” JCT contract since IFC 84. However it is different in so many ways from previous JCT contracts that it is hopefully worth the wait. It was revised in 2005 and renamed the Major Project Construction Contact (MP).

The MP is aimed at those situations where the Employer, Contractor, Consultants and other interested parties are experienced in undertaking large commercial projects, and have well defined procedures for dealing with the various aspects of this type of work.

It has been introduced as a response to demand from those involved in larger contracts, and who make extensive alterations to the current JCT Standard Contracts to reflect their own bespoke practices, or to transfer risks onto the other parties. While JCT has found itself in a quandary; it recognises there is often a commercial choice to be made between “best” practice and “industry” practice.

It is also written in a clearer, less legalistic style.

As a consequence, huge chunks have been culled from the text, compared to the other JCT Contracts. There is no VAT supplement, no CIS provisions, and perhaps more importantly, no standard insurance clauses, no clauses for materials off site and no price fluctuations. This has the effect of leaving many of those matters to the discretion of the parties themselves, by the insertion of new clauses, rather than heavy amendment of existing ones.

It allows for a range of design input by the Contractor – generally speaking, from none to everything – It also provides for the Employer’s designer to be novated to the Contractor, if required.

The MP comes with a helpful guidance note and comprises four main parts:

  • The Contract Conditions – written in section-headed format, so that unlike some other contracts, similar clauses are kept together
  • The Contract Particulars (formerly the Appendix) – Contains all the contract-specific information, including default options, where applicable
  • The Third Party Rights Schedule – Instead of having extensive collateral warranties, it is intended that the contract invokes the provisions of the Rights of third parties
  • The Pricing Document – Containing all information necessary to permit the calculation of the contract sum and the valuation of changes.

In addition, the Contract documents will include the “Requirements” to be prepared on behalf of the Employer, setting out what is expected, and the “Proposals”, which explain how the Contractor intends to comply with them.

Because the form is essentially a set of “core” conditions, it requires a good deal of input to complete, and a fair amount of proactivity to manage. It also places more risk on the Contractor for such things as ground conditions and design development.

For this reason it is likely to be used where relationships between the parties have already been established, although notwithstanding its title, the MP need not necessarily be restricted to large jobs, as it is the procedures which need to be consistent, rather than the complexity of the work.
How extensively the form is used remains to be seen, but it is a welcome addition to the range of Preliminaries in NBS.

Suggested further reading:

JCT Major Project Contract and Guidance Note

Guide to MPF, Sarah Lupton, RIBA Publishing

The JCT Major Project Form, Neil F. Jones, Blackwell Publishing

Note: The latter two comment on this Contract's predecessor - the JCT Major Project Form, but many of the principles are the same.

All are available from RIBA Bookshops.

Preliminaries for use with the JCT MP are included in NBS Building Standard library. For details of other contracts covered by NBS preliminaries, See Scope and Contents.