Advantages of standardisation

The Joint Building Contracts Committee (JBCC) in the Preface to its May 2018 agreements states the following:

Persons entering into or preparing contracts using the JBCC suite of contract agreements and support documents are warned of the dangers inherent in modifying any part of it.

Experience has shown that changes drafted by others, including members of the building professions, often have unintended results that may be prejudicial to either, or both parties

The JBCC says that the lack of standardisation in the South African construction industry is not sustainable nor desirable for the industry.
The Joint Building Contracts Committee says that standardisation is to the advantage of all stakeholders.

Lloyd QC in Royal Brampton Hospital NHS Trust v Hammond & 7 Others stated that: “A standard form is supposed to be just that. It loses value if those using it, or at tender stage those intending using it, have to look outside it for deviations to the standard.” The Construction Industries Development Board (CIDB) recognised that standardisation is to the advantage of all stakeholders and published the Standard for Uniformity in Construction Procurement (SFU) in 2004 in Government Gazette No 26427, as amended regularly thereafter. In the SFU the Scope of it reads:

This standard establishes requirements for procurement within the construction industry which are aimed at bringing about standardisation and uniformity in construction procurement documentation, practices and procedures.

However, notwithstanding the foregoing, very little standardisation currently exists in the South African construction industry, particularly in the manner Organs of State and other Public Sector Bodies (State) procure and manage their contracts. The JBCC and the National Department of Public Works (NDPW) considered the status quo as not sustainable nor desirable for the industry and embarked on a cooperative process between professional members of the NDPW and JBCC to bring the requirements of State and Private Sector closer – in order to minimise the need to amend contractual conditions for State.

The JBCC PBA edition 6.2 of May 2018 requires a minimum of amendments to cater for the differentiated needs between the Private Sector and State in the use thereof. As a direct result of this the subcommittee that was established could, after numerous work sessions and meetings, reach agreement on the Contract Data suitable for State, when using it with the JBCC PBA edition 6.2 agreement. JBCC holds the view that genuine uniformity can only be achieved through the accreditation of the Contract Data by the CIDB and State Attorney for use by State together with the form of contract that is most suitable for building work, i.e. the JBCC. The benefits derived when implemented will be:

  • Proper uniformity – not a myriad of contractual conditions/contract data
  • Ease of pricing – therefore procurement certainty
  • Known risks – not different between various State entities (national, provincial and local)
  • Better tender prices – contractors will be more comfortable with the standard conditions – i.e. what is expected of them and what they can expect from their employers
  • Less disputes
  • Less delays
  • Improved cost management – accurate budgeting made more certain, and
  • Improved project management – in case of personnel redeployment between State bodies and service providers where appointed by State

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