As part of MCE’s Continuous Professional Development, I attended the NEC Contract’s first NEC4 Foundation Certificate course in Sydney earlier this month. Currently major programs of work are being delivered under bespoke projects and I wanted to understand the benefits that NEC could offer Australian governments delivering a major pipeline of infrastructure. I have previously used NEC in Europe and this course provided an interesting reminder of how NEC contracts can be used to stimulate good management practices in a collaborative environment by being written in clear, simple and plain English.
The Contracts are written for engineers and infrastructure professionals to apply rather than lawyers. NEC contracts proactively manage risk between client and contractor, they encourage collaborative behaviour which highlight issues early to enable resolution in a timely manner.
The suite of Contracts has evolved quite a way since I used NEC2 in the UK over a decade ago. I understand why Crossrail, the Hong Kong government project and now Sydney Water all use the NEC to delivery their projects.
The NEC suite of contracts is suitable for procuring a diverse range of works, services and supply projects, spanning major framework deals through to minor works and the purchasing of goods and services. The suite seems flexible and has been used for public and private, building and infrastructure projects, as well as all stages of a project lifecycle including maintenance and facilities management.
NEC is a well-practised form of Contract which provides governance and practising principles, it can be part of the solution to improve poorly delivered projects and save the government money.
By Thomas Lee