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New NEC clauses to boost collaboration efforts

nec launch of clause large

The ICE’s New Engineering Contract (NEC) has introduced early contractor involvement (ECI) clauses to its suite of contracts to encourage and enable better project team collaboration and efficiency.

The new ECI clauses apply to contractors involved in the design development and construction planning stages of projects. They recognise the growing recent trend of early project collaboration across the industry with processes such as building information modelling (BIM) design where all parties are expected to get involved in projects at an earlier stage.

Until now the design development and construction planning stage on NEC projects has often been contracted separately from the main detailed design and construction stage. NEC has now published a standard additional clause so that a single NEC3 Engineering and Construction Contract (ECC) to be used for both stages. The clauses are available as a free download now from

The new clauses were unveiled at the Alliancing Code of Practice Launch at ICE’s HQ. They show contract publisher NEC’s determination to ensure its suite of contracts reflects the ever-evolving needs of this high-pace industry. ECI is now widely recognised as a beneficial procurement method across the industry. Project team leaders on ECI schemes such as High Speed 2 agree that it supports improved team working, innovation and planning to deliver value for money.

Peter Higgins, NEC consultant and leader of the drafting team for the clauses, said the new clauses “will allow the contractor to be appointed under a two-stage ECC contract before details of what is to be constructed have been fully developed and priced.

“Two approaches to ECI are covered by the new clauses. The employer can engage the contractor to assist its consultant in designing the project, as well as to design specific elements. Following agreement of prices for the construction stage, the employer then instructs the contractor to deliver the works, including any outstanding design, under standard ECC Option C (target contract with activity schedule) terms.

“Alternatively, the employer can appoint the contractor to carry out the design with assistance from their consultant. 

“The employer then instructs the contractor to deliver the works under standard ECC Option C

or E (cost reimbursable contract) terms. 

“If using Option E, the contractor can also be incentivised to provide a cost-effective design by sharing in the savings on the employer’s budget, which includes other relevant costs incurred by the employer.”

The NEC will release a “How To” guide to the clauses and hosting a programme of training courses in the New Year.

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