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Essential advice on your problems with building, budgeting, DIY & planning from the most experienced names in the self build industry


What type of contract should I opt for?

I am finding the array of different options offered by the Joint Contracts Tribunal (JCT) very confusing. Our architect has told us that having paper copies of contracts is not advisable. We plan to appoint a builder for the main structural shell, with the possibility of procuring additional work in the future. The management building (MB) contract looks the best fit for those in my position but it is only available digitally – via a subscription and at a high cost. Are the minor works (MW) or intermediate (IC) contracts perfectly adequate?

The JCT suite of contracts is really very good. Personally, I think paper copies are fine but digital versions are certainly easier to distribute. The type of agreement you opt for should be selected in light of specific and individual advice to you by a professional architect or surveyor who understands the following:

• What level of design has already been completed?

• What is left to procure?

• How much of that is design and how much is simply specification choices?

• Who will be paying whom as the project gets delivered?

For average contract sizes you might be best using the minor works route (with design if appropriate) for the tendered shell and then the homeowner contract (HOC) for each sub-contractor thereafter. However, these options tend to assume that you will be appointing one main builder – and, in the case of the MW or IC, that you will have a contract administrator. Your attitude to risk is important here as well. Although breaking up an agreement into component parts can appear attractive from a flexibility perspective, it does tend to transfer risk back to the client for potential project delays and/or cost increases.

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About Build It

The February edition of Build It magazine will help you get your self build, renovation or extension project off on the right foot. It’s packed with inspiration and advice, including: • A run-down barn transformed in to a stunning contemporary home (page 22) • A beginners guide to self build (page 62) • 8 hot ideas for stoves & fires (page 69) • Create your ideal kitchen with our in-depth guide (page 74) • Get room sizes right (page 96) … and more!