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Framework Agreements: How To Minimise Paperwork and Risk in Repeat Contracting

View profile for Derryn Rolfe
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Framework agreements sound scary: central Government behemoths for massive projects tying both sides into 25-year deals with Key Performance Indicators, Service Level Agreements and severe penalties. They don’t need to be like that, and probably 99% of them aren’t anything like that at all.

Framework contracting is just a means of reducing risk and paperwork for both sides. If you are intending to enter into a series of contracts with the same people over a period of time (and who doesn’t want to cut down on tendering cost and hassle, and get projects done efficiently with people you work well with?) then a framework is the best way of doing so.

What you need is an agreement that covers the following:

  • Parties’ details
  • Length of time the framework is valid for
  • How an individual order is to be placed
  • Terms of contract that apply to each order
  • Rates and prices to be used (although these can be done on a project-by-project basis either if projects are likely to be very different or materials and labour prices are changing too fast)
  • What lawyers call “boilerplate” clauses – the infrastructure that makes the contract work, such as definition of terms, jurisdiction, and termination provisions

The parties will agree the terms of the contract that will apply to each actual project in the same way as if it were a stand-alone agreement, and then by putting those into the framework they will apply to each project. No need to re-negotiate, no need to get them checked by insurers or lawyers each time, no filling-in of standard form contract, just an order from the purchaser to the contractor stating the work to be done, the timescales and anything particular to the site. The parties can use standard form contracts such as JCT for the contract terms, they can agree something bespoke that suits them or they can use a standard form with amendments – whatever works for them. But they only have to negotiate it once.

Our Construction and Engineering team can help with this, whether it is for construction, engineering, or other purchases. We can draft and negotiate the framework, the contract terms, and even the order form for you to use. We then offer the option of further support via fixed-fee checks of each order if you wish. Please get in touch for further information.