The New Engineering Contract is a modern family of standard form construction contracts that truly embraces the concept of partnership – encouraging clients, designers and contractors to work together in construction projects. Originally introduced in 1993, the NEC has become increasingly popular, with the third edition of the contract published in 2005.

The Office of Government Commerce has endorsed it for use on public sector projects, and the Olympic Delivery Authority has indicated that it will be used for the delivery of the London 2012 Olympic projects.

Despite such approval, the use of 'simple' language, for example, while being seen by some as one of the contract's major strengths, has not been met with universal approval. Commentators have said the simple language makes the contract too vague and the scarce amount of case law, in their view, exacerbates this issue.