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Foot in mouth treatise

Letters

I refer to your news item on foot and mouth (NCE last week). The story confuses two different committees, the Condition of Contract Standing Joint Committee (CCSJC) and the New Engineering Contract Panel (NECP). The committees examine only their own forms of contract . Your news item spoke only in terms of the CCSJC contracts and does not refer to NEC contracts.

NEC contracts require cooperation of all those in the contractual process since it is explicitly stated in the first clause of the contract that they '. . . shall act as stated in this contract and in a spirit of mutual trust and co-operation.'

The preliminary action to effect this is the contractual early warning procedure designed to resolve issues that are affecting the works before costs escalate or time is lost.

This is a powerful tool to help both employer and contractor plan a course of action which will minimise the adverse effects of the regulations as they are applied.

Sensible and proper operation of the NEC procedures by both parties avoids the expensive arbitration or court action you refer to by continuing to apply partnering concepts that exist in the NEC contracts.

Drick Vernon, technical advisor, Institution of Civil Engineers, One Great George Street, London SW1P 3AA

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