NEC4 Short Form Cl 20.2 (Contractors Design Acceptance)

We are currently putting together a tender for a project. The client has chosen NEC 4 Short Form as the form of contract but we were informed today that there is an element of contracts design that will need to be undertaken.

Clause 20.2 of the contract states “The Contractor does not start work which the Contractor has designed until the Client has accepted that the design complies with the scope”.

We think this suggests that the contractors design is still the clients risk, however cannot locate any formal acceptance procedure.

Any help appreciated?

The short forms are a bit light on these sorts of things.

Firstly, in respect of liability, you need to look at clause 14.4 which states that any acceptance of a communication from the Contractor does not change the Contractors obligations to Provide the Work or liability for design.

This means that the Contractor remains liable for the design of those things that the Scope says it is to design, irrespective of any acceptance by the Client.

There is no design acceptance process; the contract simply contemplates that the Contractor prepares a design, submits it to the Client who then either says go ahead (acceptance) or not. The Contractor cannot go ahead until the Client confirms that it can.

Anything more complicated than that will need an amendment to the contract.

One further point on the short form and design; it has no equivalent to X15 in the ECC. This has two primary effects: (i) there is no obligation to have PI insurance and (ii) all design must be fit for purpose rather than the lower (and insurable) liability of using reasonable skill and care.

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Thank you very much @stevencevans most helpful, and makes sense.