What are ‘standard form’ construction contracts

The Melbourne Law School, with the support of the Society of Construction Law Australia, has just published the results from a research project investigating current practice in relation to standard forms of contract in the Australian construction industry. The full report can be found via this link.

Overall, there was found to be broad support in principle for the use of standard forms and 68% of the contracts reported upon used standard forms. However, of those, 84% were amended from the standard form and the primary reason identified for amendment was the ‘need to shift risk’.

Interestingly, the form was chosen by the principal or principal’s lawyer in more than 80% of cases and the dominant factor identified for that choice was ‘familiarity with the form of the party choosing it’.

While this report is based on Australian research and standard forms, these statistics are likely to be very similar if the same research was undertaken in New Zealand. It will be interesting to see whether NZS3910:2013 has altered this position, which was one of the reasons for updating the standard. Anecdotally, we are not sure there would be a substantial change to any of these statistics.

Let us know whether this reflects your experience with the use of standard form contracts.

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