NEC ECC: Use of wording "Approval" vs "Acceptance"

I am preparing the contract document, in which as “common practices”, it is “reference” from previous similar contract.

It was noted in the “reference” contract document, it appear several times of wording “approval by Project Manager”.

Since, I heard that there is no “Approval” in NEC, but instead “Acceptance” is used. this is also avoid the transfer of liability.

My question is, should I change all the wording “approval” to “acceptance” ? if not, any examples for not change?


If you look at clause 14.1 of both the NEC3 and NEC4 Engineering and Construction Contract, acceptance of anything clearly does not transfer liability.

I would argue that not ‘accepting’ something when you should do under the contract puts the Employer/Client at greater financial risk than ‘approving’ (which doesn’t exist under the contract, therefore you haven’t done the action) because, for instance, the Contractor does not proceed with construction until design has been accepted.

Equally, as a Client, if my contract turns to the proverbial because the consultant I am employing hasn’t done their actions under the contract, who am going to go after ?

So change the wording to ‘acceptance’ !

The only time the word approval appears is in relation to the Contractor obtaining approval from Others, for example for his design, where appropriate.

use of the word ‘acceptance’ is probably more similar to ‘no objection’ and doesn’t mean that responsibility passes from the Contractor to the Employer upon acceptance, as confirmed by clause 14.1. .

There may be certain ‘approvals’ required, even from the Client / Employer, such as obtaining certain rights of (restricted) access, which would probably form part of the Scope / Works Information requirements, rather than the conditions of contract.