RIBA to launch new range of building contracts

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) is launching two new and innovative building contracts next month (5 November). Designed to be used in conjunction with RIBA’s Architect’s Appointment Agreements for Small Projects (domestic and concise forms); the new contracts are fully aligned with the RIBA Plan of Work 2013.

The new contracts have been designed in response to feedback from RIBA members calling for improvement and innovation within the building contracts currently available.

The RIBA Domestic Building Contract provides a simple, comprehensive and legally appropriate contract solution for all types of non-commercial work, including renovations, extensions, maintenance and new buildings. The contract is endorsed by the HomeOwners Alliance.

The RIBA Concise Building Contract provides a complete contract solution to cover small scale commercial building projects of a standard and straightforward nature.

The new RIBA Building Contracts form part of a move towards a holistic suite of project contracts that can be prepared and stored digitally and are more relevant and focused around the needs of those undertaking smaller projects – a more intelligent and flexible suite of documents that are easier to use, yet reduce risks to both parties and the project overall. The RIBA is also working on updating the suite of RIBA Agreements, to be available as an online tool.

Key innovations incorporated into the new RIBA Building Contracts:

  • Allows effective collaboration between the client/employer and contractor
  • Facilitates good management of the project from start to completion
  • Fair and equitable terms for all parties
  • Flexible payment options
  • Flexibility to propose suppliers and sub-contractors
  • Provides a straightforward method for dealing with changes to the project within specified timescales
  • Option for completion in stages
  • Comprehensive insurance provisions
  • Terms compliant with the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations for consumer clients
  • Provides an effective way of managing payments to the contractor

Key features of the new RIBA Building Contracts include:

  • Clearly designed and laid out to aid completion
  • Available in both print and online formats
  • Written in plain English that is simple to understand
  • Comprehensive guidance notes

The new RIBA Building Contracts will be launched on Wednesday 5 November and will be available in both print and online formats.

Speaking about the new contracts, Stephen Hodder MBE, RIBA President said:

“The new RIBA Building Contracts are a major step forward for the RIBA, our members and more importantly our member’s clients. The contracts complement our existing suite of architect’s appointment agreements for small scale residential and domestic building projects and have been written in straight forward language that can be completed with confidence, without the need for legal advice.”

Jane Duncan, Director, Jane Duncan Architects and RIBA President-Elect said:

“I commend these RIBA forms of contract – designed specifically for ease of use by architects and other industry professionals, but also and particularly by home owners and builders of smaller projects. The RIBA Buildings Contracts are fair and balanced, supporting and enabling the work of the contractor whilst protecting the rights and interests of clients. This offers appropriate provisions for the major risks that either parties may encounter, including the risk to the contractor of failure by the client to pay for the work done and the risk to the home owner of defective or incomplete work.”

“I am proud to have been instrumental in the development of these two new forms of building contracts and very much welcome their publication.”

Paula Higgins, Chief Executive, HomeOwners Alliance

“Most homeowners do not have experience in carrying out major building work, like an extension or loft conversion, and we therefore strongly support this new form of contract. It will help homeowners protect their home, help them have a better understanding of their and their builders obligations and ensure that the result is a dream come true.”