NEC3 SC: Design Liability under a Supply Contract?

Under a supply contract the purchaser has provided drawings to the supplier. Under the supply contract the purchaser has an obligation to review and ‘approve’ drawings. The supplier is disputing that the purchaser’s role is merely advisory with what appears to be an attempt to relieve itself of any design responsibility. Surely however, the supplier must provide his product with a design that is fit for purpose and in accordance with the goods information and even if it is not in accordance with the goods information then the responsibility is with the supplier? Is there not an implied term under the sale of goods act in this regard?

Clause 20.1 states :
“The Supplier Provides the Goods and Services in accordance with the Goods Information.”
So the Supplier has to supply in accordance with the Goods Information

Clause 14.1 of the Supply Contract states :
“The Supply Manager’s acceptance of a communication from the Supplier or of his work does not change the Supplier’s responsibility to Provide the Goods and Services or his liability for his design.”
Consequently, acceptance of the design does not get the Supplier out of the final delivered Goods having to comply with the Goods Information.

As the Supplier is supplying ‘goods’ then the default position is that they have to be ‘fit for purpose’. If the purpose is stated in the Goods Information, then see above. Otherwise, it is that this is reasonably in the contemplation of the contracting Party at the time of signing the contract, which could in part be based on information the Purchaser has supplied but is not necessarily in the Goods Information.

Unless the Purchaser has cut & pasted X15 from the ECC or written an equivalent clause in the Z clause, then the Supplier’s obligation for the goods to be fit for purpose is not reduced.