As the saying goes, “knowledge is power”. This is why subcontractors are strongly encouraged to sign up for JCT contract training courses before entering into an agreement with a contractor or a construction company. As JCT contracts are being widely used in the building industry, familiarising yourself with their ins and outs would be a considerable advantage. Moreover, you will learn how to avoid the common pitfalls which could put you at a disadvantage or even cause you to lose some of your hard-earned money.
But with so many training courses available, which ones are right for you?
Why Sign Up for JCT Contract Training Courses?
It is no secret that a growing number of complaints are being lodged against those working in the construction industry, particularly the residential housing sector. Instances of poor workmanship and disputes between builders and contractors have become so prevalent that Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick was recently prompted to announce plans to create the New Homes Ombudsman.
Although JCT contracts can and do help, they are not a foolproof solution. Even with this raft of agreements in place, subcontractors can still find themselves getting the short end of the stick, particularly if their contracts are open for interpretation and they do not have a keen understanding of what the JCTs entail.
If you want to protect yourself and your team, there are several reasons why you should consider improving your knowledge of JCT contracts.
1. It can help prevent disputes
Disputes with your contractor or main employer can damage your team’s morale. Furthermore, they are a huge drain on your time, money and resources.
Having an in-depth understanding of JCT contracts can help prevent disputes arising. For example, you will be able to identify the provisions and safeguards that you need to include in the contract to ensure that all parties are fully aware of their responsibilities. In addition, you can ensure that everyone is protected from the typical issues subcontractors often encounter when undertaking a building project.
2. It allows you to reduce costs
JCT contracts use a standard form to help minimise the cost of entering into an agreement with another company. However, if you don’t have a good grasp of the contracts, you may overlook certain expensive but unnecessary items. Knowing the JCT contracts like the back of your hand can help prevent this type of scenario, ensuring that unnecessary items are omitted so you won’t incur additional expenses.
Moreover, being familiar with JCT contracts can help guarantee that you and your team will be paid on time. It will also enable you to incorporate provisions to ensure you will receive payment for every additional piece of work you carry out.
3. It helps facilitate quick dispute resolutions
As mentioned earlier, having a JCT contract in place will not completely remove the possibility of disputes arising. However, it can help mitigate the situation and, more importantly, create a path for a swift resolution. Having a keen understanding of JCT contracts is also an advantage as it will enable you to identify the course of action you should take if you have a misunderstanding with a contractor.
4. It helps ensure the equal allocation of risks
As you will know, every building project comes with certain risks. Unfortunately, if you don’t understand these risks, you might find yourself at a disadvantage when you enter into a contract with another construction company.
By signing up for JCT contract training courses, you can familiarise yourself with the risks mentioned in the written agreement. You will also be able to quickly verify the contents of the contract and ensure that no side has the upper hand.
5. It helps protect you from shady contractors
As you are probably aware, contractors come in all shapes and sizes. While many are honourable and have integrity, some will actively look for ways to gain an advantage over a subcontractor. This is why it always pays to stay informed and have an in-depth understanding of how JCT contracts work. This will help you uphold your rights and ensure that you and your team are well-protected from unscrupulous and shady contractors.
Recommended Training Courses
Today, there are several training courses to choose from to enrich your working knowledge of JCTs. But with so many available, which programme would be most suitable for you and your team? To help you make an informed decision, we have compiled a list of some of the courses that will help you develop an excellent understanding of JCT contracts so you will know how to use them to protect and uphold your rights.
1. Basics of JCT contracts
Renowned Russian-American ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov once said, “Fundamentals are the building blocks of fun”. No matter what skill you are trying to develop or the course you want to study, you are more likely to achieve success if you begin with the basics.
For this reason, if you want to develop a thorough understanding of JCT contracts, you should begin by learning the fundamentals. Studying the basics will help you determine how the JCTs came into being, the purpose they serve, their types and how they can benefit all the parties involved in a construction project, among other important topics. By having in-depth knowledge of the basics, you and your team will find it much easier to learn about the more advanced aspects of the subject.
2. Ensuring you will get paid correctly and on time
For many subcontractors, nothing is more disheartening than putting in the effort to complete a project on time, only to realise that you won’t get paid as scheduled. It is also frustrating to discover that you won’t receive payment for any extra work you have carried out.
Fortunately, there are courses available that will teach you what to do to ensure you will receive your payments on time, allowing you to protect your interests. You can also learn about the steps you should take if you do not receive your payment as scheduled. And, if the project entails completing additional tasks or “variations”, these courses will equip you with the knowledge and information you need to ensure you will receive what is owed.
3. Limiting risks and liabilities
When you enter into a JCT contract with another party, you will probably find yourself having to understand Liquidated and Ascertained Damages (LADs), Defects Liability Period and other related terminology. As we discussed earlier, construction projects carry certain risks and sometimes these risks are unavoidable due to circumstances beyond your control.
If you find yourself being held financially liable for problems that have unexpectedly arisen, it will pay to have a good grasp of what you can do to minimise the impact on your team and business. For this reason, we strongly recommend studying a course on how to reduce your risks and liabilities. It will teach you the steps you should take if there are delays to the project. It can also help you manage direct and indirect losses and deal with other matters that can negatively affect your earning potential.
4. Collateral warranties, vesting agreements and other essential documents
Did you know that you can attach several documents to JCT contracts to expand their scope and shed light on specific issues? For example, you can add collateral warranties, vesting agreements and performance bonds, to name but a few.
Each document serves a vital purpose and knowing how you can use them to your advantage will enable you to reduce your risks and liabilities, particularly in the case of unforeseen events. This is why we would strongly recommend that you enrol on courses that focus on these essential documents to ensure that you will not sign anything you do not understand.
5. Structuring payment terms and making payment applications
Knowing how to better structure your payment terms and file your payment applications can help guarantee that you will receive the money you are owed at the specified time. By equipping yourself with the appropriate knowledge, you can avoid losing out on money you have worked hard to earn. For this reason, contract specialists like our team here at BEB highly recommend JCT contract training courses that cover payment terms and applications, among other related issues.
Strengthen Your Understanding of JCT Contracts Today!
Although JCT contracts help prevent disputes between subcontractors and their employers, they are not 100% foolproof. If they are poorly worded, and you do not fully understand how they work, you might find yourself at a disadvantage. This is why we would encourage you to educate yourself about these contracts so you can protect your business whenever you are entering into a JCT with another construction company or individual.
At BEB, our goal is to provide our clients with reliable and enriching online JCT training courses to help them protect their business and minimise their risks when entering into a JCT contract. Please contact our team today so we can discuss an exciting and rewarding learning experience.