NEC ECC: What are hand tools not powered by compressed air?

In the full SCC clause 44 appears clear in respect of hand tools. But these can be small screwdrivers to £600 110v reciprocating saws or angle grinders. If a contract is tendered on a design and demolish basis, a tenderer may not know precisely what tooling he will require to this level of accuracy. So do we apply the rule exactly as it reads? The Contractor is saying that hand tools not powered by compressed air (under clause 44) relate to the very minor tools e.g. tools that fit in a tool belt, lump hammers, spirit levels and the like not larger grinders etc. which indeed may not be “powered by compressed air”.

Also are consumables part of the working area overhead percentage that is tendered in Contract Data Part 2? What constitutes consumables under the NEC as specific explanation is missing? Hacksaw blades, utility knives, tape measures, grinding disks, hammer drill bits, cordless stihl saws? It appears a never ending list. I am inclined to impose the reasons under the Guidance Notes document for clause 44 in respect of consumables being under the WAOH as the effort to forecast or price is disproportionate to value.

Your thoughts are welcomed, thank you.


44 (j) covers all hand tools not powered by compressed air. The idea being that rather than having to account for every single item that the WAOH gives the Contractor an opportunity to make an allowance for all such tools. In terms of consumables e.g. replacement blades, disks, etc I would agree with you make an allowance in the WAOH.
Essentially include the right amount of money for these items is the Contractor’s risk.

I am having the same problem at the moment, it isn’t a very well worded clause. Hand Tools to me are spanners and socket sets, not £500 impact drivers that are battery run not compressed air. Not sure why the compressed air part is mentioned, would prefer just hand tools which if you search on a site like screwfix is just spanners and screwdrivers.

This is a common area of confusion as the use of the words ‘hand tools’ seems to contradict the intent of the category. The definition under NEC2 was ‘hand tools and hand held power tools’ which seems to be the same intent of NEC3, although with the definition extended to cover all hand tools ‘not pwered by compressed air’.

This then leads to a further issue with trying to determine which ‘hand tools’ are included in the Working Area Charge and which are genuinely categorised as Equipment. For example, a wheelbarrow is not powered by compressed air, but is it classed as a hand tool? Also, when does a ‘hand held’ power tool become Equipment? A power drill would commonly be considered as included in the WAO % but what about a whacker plate not powered by compressed air and operated by hand?

Like most issues it comes down to £££s and I don’t think an argument over a wheelebarrow on a £100m project would get much consideration but on a £50,000 project an item costing £500 probably would.