My consulting experience covers many different disciplines and sectors. Below are a few examples:
Carpentry Sub-Contractor - Terms & Conditions
Many craftsmen and small contractors view paperwork with suspicion, taking the view that the quality of their work speaks for itself and their word is their bond. This is a mistake and I have long encouraged small sub-contractors to take more interest and care over their terms of business and formal documentation for quotations, variations and payment. These do not have to be complicated.
A simple set of contract and project documents allocates risk at the commencement of the project, reduces argument and facilitates payment. For example I recently drafted the following for a small carpentry sub-contractor working in both the private and commercial sectors of the industry:
- Terms and conditions of business;
- A straightforward form of quotation;
- Contract Variation Forms;
- Forms for Applications for Payment.
The contractor has found these particularly useful when dealing direct with private clients, but they are also of considerable use in negotiations with main contractors.
Main Contractor - Revised Sub-Contract Terms
Most main contractors operate standard sub-contracting terms and conditions but these vary considerably in quality. It is, above all else, vitally important that sub-contracting terms and conditions are up to date, appropriate to the main contract being used, and properly step down the risks the contractor is assuming.
I have updated several sets of main contractor sub-contractor terms and conditions. In all cases their current conditions incorporated an outdated standard form contract which would have caused considerable difficulties given changes to the payment provisions in the Construction Act. In each case, I drafted versions of standard conditions for the forms of main contract they regularly encountered, provided guidance on which was the appropriate form to use in various situations and finally ran a training session on how to operate the new contracts we had drafted.
Advice on Contract Terms
Both contractors and sub-contractors are often presented with standard terms upon which they are expected to contract, and many do not bother to read them properly before they sign up to them. This is a serious error as it does not take very long to assess the main areas of risk in standard terms and conditions, often relating to payment, extensions of time, design liability, etc. Many clients and contractors are open to some negotiation, but if not an assessment of the risks needs to be carried out before the contract is entered into. I have carried this operation out for several contractors and sub-contractors over the last few years.