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Consultation on more sustainability in construction

04 February 2008

An industry consultation has been launched by the Joint Contracts Tribunal (JCT) to ask for comments to the suggestion that building contracts should include stronger sustainability performance provisions.

Companies and organisations from all sides of the industry, and throughout the supply chain, are being asked whether additional contractual provisions and guidance would be effective in improving the industry’s sustainability.

The month-long consultation follows the successful discussions last December between JCT and senior executives from organisations across the industry, government departments and agencies, chaired by James Wates, chairman of the Construction Confederation and deputy chairman of Wates.

Professor Peter Hibberd, secretary general of JCT, said: “As over 70 per cent of all building contracts are under a JCT form, we have an opportunity to gain consensus from, and perhaps provide leadership to, the industry to help improve its record on sustainability.

“The construction industry generally appears to accept that something has to be done about sustainability, and as it is the largest industry in the economy, it has to take responsibility, and to some degree leadership, in introducing changes.

“The meeting in December was most encouraging, and this consultation will ascertain whether that sentiment is prevalent across the industry.”

A briefing paper has been produced to provide a greater insight into the reasoning behind JCT’s suggestions. Questions such as whether contractual provisions could be effective, what remedies could be sought for failure to meet sustainability requirements, and how contracts and guidance could assist and encourage professional advisers to give priority to sustainable design features are all considered.

The briefing paper is available from the JCT website (, as well as a form for participating in the consultation (in a Word format). Alternatively, respondents can submit electronically using an online form also through the JCT website.

The closing date for responses is February 29, 2008.

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