The Guernsey Construction Industry Forum (CIF), in conjunction with the Chamber of Commerce, has launched a new minor works contract specifically designed for use by local industry.
Dozens of construction industry representatives and other individuals involved in the sector attended the launch of the contract, which has been long awaited in the island.
The contract was developed by law firm Ferbrache & Farrell LLP, working with CIF and industry stakeholders, including Trading Standards. Commenting on its release, Managing Partner Alastair Hargreaves said: “We are delighted to have been able to offer our legal expertise to CIF, which will serve to benefit the community as a whole. This project is a testament to our commitment to doing whatever we can to assist Guernsey industry and the island generally.”
Chairperson of the Chamber Construction Industry Group, Tim Guilbert, said: “It is great news that we have launched this new contract for use by persons having work done in the island. A great deal of work and thought has gone into ensuring it is fit for purpose for many projects being undertaken in Guernsey, and we are expecting clients and contractors of all sizes to find it very useful.
“The contract has been written in a clear, concise way to enable users to be certain of the responsibilities and expectations for both client and contractor from the start. Together with the comprehensive guidance notes that we have also developed, it should help local projects to progress more smoothly and efficiently.”
The contract has been designed to help clarify responsibilities in the event of a dispute, but more importantly, to avoid disputes occurring in the first place. Head of dispute resolution at Ferbrache & Farrell, Partner Martin Jones, said: “All too often, we see situations where disputes have arisen which may have been avoided if the parties to a contract had been clear as to their respective obligations at the outset. It is hoped that use of this standard form will become commonplace and will help to give the parties to such contracts the clarity and certainty they need.”
Guernsey Trading Standards is welcoming the contract, having been involved in its development. A spokesperson said: “The Construction Industry Forum, now part of the Chamber of Commerce, has consulted extensively with Guernsey Trading Standards before offering these terms for use by the trade and by members of the public. Trading Standards is encouraged to see such support for fair trading within the industry, which can only be good news for consumers and businesses across the Bailiwick.
“Many of the issues that Trading Standards receive complaints about are due to unclear contracts and differing expectations between traders and consumers. We therefore encourage all parties to have a clear, written contract in place when agreeing to any building work.”
The new contract is designed to cover minor to medium sized works and will be suitable for many types of project. Both the contract and accompanying guidance notes will be provided free of charge and will be available to download from the Guernsey Chamber of Commerce and CIF websites.
While the new contract has similarities to other standardised contracts, it is also very Guernsey-specific. The quirks of working in the island are clearly reflected, from bornements to the requirement to get a license from the parish to close a road. The contract is also enforceable through Guernsey law.
Pictured top: The launch of the contract.
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