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The introduction of the New Engineering Contract (NEC) encourages a systematic approach to contracting which is multidisciplinary in nature and fully interlocked in form. The NEC is intended by its supporters to be more flexible and easier to use than any current leading traditional standard forms of contract. It is believed that these features reduce adversariality and disputes. The NEC seeks to achieve this aim primarily through co-operative management techniques and incentives built into the NEC’s procedures. This commentary analyses and evaluates these and related claims of innovation.

The New Engineering Contract: A legal commentary examines the background to the NEC, its design objectives, structure, procedures and likely judicial interpretation to determine whether it improves upon the traditional standard forms of contract. Special attention is given in the commentary to the development and the significance of the principles underlying preparation of the NEC as well as the arguments in favour of and against them. Throughout the detailed commentary upon the NEC clauses comparisons to the traditional forms are also made to highlight unique features and principles of general application.

The conclusion reached is that the NEC does make a significant contribution to the development of standard forms of contract, addresses many of their short comings and offers one of the best models for their future development, direction and design. The commentary draws upon the body of the project management literature and legal analysis to support its conclusions.

The New Engineering Contract: A legal commentary will be essential reading for lawyers, barristers and solicitors, as well as engineers and project managers.

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