Australian Standards General Conditions of Contract Review

David Slinn , 11 October 2013

David Slinn, ACA Representative for the Australian Standards General Conditions of Contract Review, provides an update on the review and calls for feedback.

On Thursday, 26 September 2013, I attended a stakeholder initiation meeting in Sydney with Standards Australia and other industry and government representatives to commence a process by Standards Australia to achieve the following:

  1. Revise and publish a standardisation document for AS 4000–1997 (within 13 months)
  2. Review the entire General Conditions of Contract suite; and
  3. Consider incorporating Building Information Modelling (BIM) legal instruments into the General Conditions of Contract Suite.

This initial meeting was very much about process for the review of AS 4000-1997 and it was noted that the timetable proposed was very ambitious. A drafting committee will be established this month to undertake the detailed task of reviewing each clause and each proposed change. If the timetable is maintained there will be public consultation period in April–May 2014 once initial proposals and changes are developed.

Overall up to 29 Australian standards may be impacted by the review of the entire General Conditions of Contract suite.

Australian Standards has somewhat changed their processes for reviewing standards in order to achieve quicker outcomes and in this regard have already issued a scoping document. The purpose of the scoping document is to try to identify upfront those areas to be reviewed and seek industry consensus early in the process around issues where possible. In this regard it is important that issues for review or requests for changes are identified early in the process.

Another aspect discussed was product delivery by Australian Standards and SAI Global. It was recognised that for the Standard to be effective it needed to be used as drafted and avoid heavy modification by users. Also under consideration are web-based delivery models such as completing contracts online as a more comprehensive service. At this stage these aspects will require much more detailed consideration.

If members of the ACA have feedback about the use or drafting of AS 4000–1997 then it is important they pass on this feedback as early as possible. It is best to email me at david.slinn@dem.com.au. I will collate specific responses or items for review.

David Slinn is ACA – NSW/ACT Treasurer and CEO of DEM. This article was first published in ACA Communique, October 2013.

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