JCT’s Home Owner Contracts are designed specifically for people looking for the benefits and protection of a contract when appointing consultants or contractors. This contract is for a home owner/occupier who has not appointed a consultant to administer the contract. The customer deals directly with the contractor. Please note that you do not need a subscription to purchase Homeowner Contracts which are only available as pdfs. The subscription service supports online.
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For the inexperienced client that is a positive starting point but the structure and the language are also refreshingly simple to follow, being the contract specifically designed for use by home owners.
However, the Minor Works contract is in fact quite a sophisticated document and, although intended for smaller projects domestic or otherwise, can be used on larger ones provided that the project requirements are relatively straightforward.
Just How Good is the JCT Home Owner Contract?
It carries more weight and authority than HO09, a clear example of this being the damages provisions for late completion which are incorporated into MW Returning to HO09 it also comes in two forms: Both HO09 and MW11 only allow for a start and completion date and there is no specific requirement in both to produce a programme although there is nothing to prevent such a requirement being included in the specification.
Furthermore, both contracts do not allow for either commencement or completion in contractually binding phases, so if this is required, the Intermediate Building Contract may be more suited rather than amending the contracts. In reality where works are undertaken in an occupied property some phasing will be necessary for the employer to use or occupy part of the works during the time that the contractor is on site.
hoomeowners If this is the case it should also be made clear in the tender documents so the contractor may homeiwners for appropriate screening and temporary works, and agreement should be reached with the contractor over suitable arrangements. Be aware though that failure to grant as much access as is necessary to complete the works will entitle the contractor to an extension of time!
Delays arising from weather will always be tricky and may not be limited to exceptionally adverse weather as that would rely on the adoption of an implied term.
In all likelihood it will depend on the situation and how familiar your contractor is with the JCT suite of contracts. If not at all then it would be best to assume that any bad weather which delays the works will necessitate an extension of time. The stages need to be carefully defined and quantified so as to avoid front loading or advance payments from occurring which is largely avoided by payments in arrears for work completed under MW The above aside, maintaining cashflow is particularly critical for small contractors and it is not unusual for advance payments to be required so it is vital that bank references are sought, financial checks undertaken and references obtained from recently completed projects to ensure that the risk of default, having paid over a significant sum of money, is reduced.
Within the extensions of time provisions HO09 also provides that the contractor can claim any reasonable costs where delayed by the customer e. However, this is the only instance within MW11 where the contract administrator may make such an award so if the contractor suffers losses not related to a variation as in the case of delays by the consultant or contract administrator, then these might have to be referred to adjudication, arbitration or litigation, unless some agreement can be reached.
In reality, however, the incorporation of liquidated damages provisions in a domestic context will at best be treated with extreme suspicion and at worst will either scare off many builders or they will refuse to accept such terms.
That is even before they are used in a delay scenario which is often not the case, being used more as a negotiating ploy and to manage performance.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Conversely their presence does provide reassurance to clients and, as already touched on, they provide a lever with which to help manage performance. Neither HO09 or MW11 provides for the appointment of named or nominated sub-contractors thus avoiding a complicated area of contract law.
In practice my sense is that uct employers ask their builder to use a certain party homeowmers neither contract makes any provision. If this is unavoidable then you at least need to keep a close eye on matters to ensure there are no slip ups. The insurance provisions under MW11 are more sophisticated and provide for a greater range of projects though in the case of a residential occupier the contractor should have insurance in place for the works clause 5.
A common omission is insurance against damage caused to property which is not the result of the negligence of the contractor. For example, subsidence or vibration resulting from the carrying out of the works might cause such damage, even though the contractor has taken reasonable care.
Home Owner Contracts
This is a risk which may be quite high with certain projects, such as those on tight urban sites or in close proximity to old buildings, and in such cases it may be advisable to take out a special policy for the benefit of the employer. Under both contract the employer may terminate the contract, subject to a minimum of 7 days notice, homeownners non-performance. Both contracts stipulate that no further monies become due until the contracr has been finished by another contractor.
Indeed both rely on good communication and a pragmatic approach to work.
Building Contract for a Home Owner
Miss these vital ingredients and any project will fail, which in a nutshell is no different jcg much larger projects.
I like the simplicity of HO09 and would have no hesitation using it ….
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