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What is NEC and what support is available to me?

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What is NEC?

The New Engineering Contract (NEC) is a formalised system created by the Institution of Civil Engineers that guides the drafting of documents on civil engineering and construction projects for the purpose of obtaining tenders, awarding and administering contracts. It legally defines the responsibilities, duties and data provided by Employers (who commission work) and Contractors (who carry out work, that we refer to as delivery partners).

NEC4 has been available since June 2017 and reflects procurement and project management developments and emerging best practice, with improvements in flexibility, clarity and the ease of administration compared to previous versions.

The NEC contracts now form a suite, with the Engineering and Construction Contract (ECC) as the main contract used for a construction-based project. The ECC sits alongside several other contracts which are used to execute Delivery Agreements through our frameworks, depending on the stage or Framework. The contracts contained within Scape frameworks are:

  • The Engineering and Construction Contract (ECC)
  • The Engineering and Construction Short Contract (ECSC)
  • The Professional Services Contract (PSC)
  • The Professional Services Short Contract (PSSC)

The Engineering and Construction Contract (ECC)
Suitable for any construction-based contract between you and a delivery partner, for use within any sector of the industry, including civil engineering, building, nuclear, oil and gas, etc. Within the standard ECC contract there are six family level options of which you will choose what you deem to be the most suitable and gives you the best option/value for money on that project, however only the following are applicable through Scape:

  • Option A: Priced contract with activity schedule
  • Option C: Target contract with activity schedule
  • Option G: (NEC 3)

The differences between these options lies in the contract clauses around how delivery partners are paid and risk allocation/management in order to control costs.

The core clauses (of the main options listed above) are used in conjunction with the secondary options and the additional conditions of contract.

The Engineering and Construction Short Contract (ECSC)
This is an abbreviated version of the ECC contract and most suitable when the contract is considered "low risk" (not necessarily low value) on a project with little change expected. This contract is still between the employer and contractor but does not use all the processes of the ECC making it simpler and easier to manage and administer.

The Professional Services Contract (PSC)
This contract is for anyone providing a service, rather than doing any physical construction works. It is used as the primary form of Delivery Agreement via the Built Environment Consultancy Services (BECS) framework.

The Professional Services Short Contract (PSSC)
This is for simpler, less complex assignments than the PSC, such as the appointment of small team for managing an ECC contract on the Employer's behalf.

Why does Scape use NEC?

  • Its use stimulates a collaborative relationship between the two parties to the contract and, hence, of the work included in the contract.
  • It can be used in a wide variety of types of work and in any location.
  • It is a clear and simple document - using language and a structure which are straightforward and easily understood.
  • The UK Cabinet Office recommends the use of NEC by public sector construction procurers on their construction projects.

What support is available to me?

Your local relationship manager is on hand to provide further guidance, supported by an extended team of framework managers and procurement professionals who are there for you every step of the way. They can walk you through the contract, help with the execution or setting appropriate clauses and selecting the most appropriate contract for your project.

In some cases, you can access more formal training, which can be discussed with your relationship manager to assess your requirements.

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Written by:

Adrian Hill

Director of Operations

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