Which Net Lawman Construction Contract?

Article reference: UK-IA-SGA19
| 4 min read

The purpose of this short article is to guide you to the most appropriate construction contract for your requirement.

We have used the term “construction” contract to mean any work generally regarded as “small works”. We exclude anything that could be regarded as civil engineering. We also exclude large construction projects on the grounds that the parties will probably use one of the JCT contracts.

Please note however, that the JCT contracts are drawn to provide a balance of the interests of both sides. Net Lawman contracts are drawn to protect the interests of the document buyer. They provide strong protection. We offer separate documents for contractor or client.

The other main issue in small works contracts is that most tradesmen and most of their clients do not want to have to try to understand ten pages of legal jargon. These are simple contracts so that both sides can understand what they are agreeing to.

There is a huge technical advantage in being the party whose contract terms form the basis of the contract. Most people lack confidence in questioning someone else’s contract terms, or cannot be bothered to do so. Your position will be far stronger if you use a Net Lawman agreement and present it as your contract terms.

All Net Lawman documents are in plain English. That is the flag we have hoist to our mast. Of course, if you want to add to a contract, you can do so in plain language too. If your meaning is clear then what you say will be binding.

So much for style. Now as to content. Net Lawman documents do not even begin to specify the work. We do not know when to use battens instead of laths, or facings instead of commons, whether carpet strip will fit under a door or what section of rafter is required to take Norfolk pamments. So any construction contract still requires that you add a specification. That can be ten written words or a typed document prepared by a quantity surveyor.

So what do we put in a construction contract? Well, we stick to the basic agreement, responsibilities of the parties, restriction of liability if anything goes wrong, and so on. For more sophisticated contracts we add terms relating to timing, sub-contracting, and other matters which could be subject to disagreement if you do not sort them out at the start.

We have simple tradesman’s contract suitable for sole traders, partnerships and small companies. Use for your deal with a householder, a business or a main contractor (who does not insist on his own version). There are about 50 trades in the construction industry. It is easy to take our standard version and edit it to what you want.

For a more sophisticated contract which includes provision for repeat work, look at our small works contract for builder. This is worded for a construction contractor, but can easily be edited for any specialist trade. As for our very simple construction contracts, the key to success is to attach a clear specification.

We also offer a builders contract with a sub-contractor. This is for any business or tradesman to use to take on a sub-contractor. This too, is a simple agreement, but it favours the main contractor, even if the sub-contractor is a far larger organisation.

Finally, we have a small works construction contract for client. The emphasis here is on protection of the client’s interest. Not everyone in the construction industry has the benefit of a Net Lawman contract. Many sole traders may in fact be quasi employees. Use this construction contract to make sure you do not end up paying PAYE on the grossed up sum you have paid to a man you thought was self employed.

Please note that the information provided on this page:

  • Does not provide a complete or authoritative statement of the law;
  • Does not constitute legal advice by Net Lawman;
  • Does not create a contractual relationship;
  • Does not form part of any other advice, whether paid or free.
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