To amend or not to amend?
Although the general approach and structure of a standard form will often be desired by the parties, a schedule of amendments to the standard form building contract will more often than not be needed to accurately reflect the rights and obligations of the parties and the risk matrix.
It is therefore common practice for the parties to a building contract to agree a set of amendments to one of the standard forms to reflect the particular bargain that is agreed between them.
Such schedule of amendments to standard form building contracts are more or less inevitable because, even in producing a standard form, it is extremely difficult to take an approach which is perfectly balanced between the parties.
They will each want to tweak it.
And also a standard form will not necessarily reflect the specifics of the project which it relates to.
It is, in fact, relatively unusual for a standard form contract to be used without any amendment at all.
There is, in most cases, some degree of change that is required so that a standard contract properly suits the needs of the parties and the project.
The right approach to schedule of amendments to standard form building contracts
Any amendment to a standard form contract should be considered with caution.
It is often the case that the amendment of one provision has ramifications throughout the contract or that the amendment made does not adequately achieve the objective which originally prompted the amendment.
You can find some interesting Court of Appeal findings about consequences of amendments to standard form contracts in an article I wrote recently: “JCT Contracts: Paying the Price of Amendments”.
In conclusion, careful consideration must be given to whether consequential amendments arising from the principal amendment are required to maintain the integrity of the Conditions of Contract as a whole and whether the proposed amendment is effective in reflecting the intention of the parties.
How can I help you?
I have a wealth of experience drafting and negotiating amendments to standard from building contracts.
Similarly, I have assisted many clients to adequately manage the potential risks of such bespoke amendments.
For further information or to discuss a matter, please Contact me.