NEWS / ACE News / Sustainability takes centre stage as contractual disputes fall

ACE News

27 JUL 2022


ACE members contribute to 2022 Contracts and Law Report published by RIBA

ACE members were among the 950 respondents to an industry-wide survey on their experience of legal and contractual practice, published today in the 2022 Contracts and Law Report.

The survey forms part of the document which is published by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and found:

  • 43% of respondents were involved in one or more contracts that included ‘expected sustainable outcomes’ and 32% that included ‘measurable sustainability criteria’.
  • 23% said that 'operational performance criteria’ had become a contractual requirement, while 21% referenced ‘embodied carbon criteria’.
  • 7% of respondents had been involved in a contract that included the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
  • 57% said they adopted collaboration techniques on some or all projects, with almost a quarter (22%) adopting collaboration techniques on all projects.
  • 63% said that collaboration techniques reduced the number of disputes, and 61% said they improved the delivery of the client’s objectives.
  • The proportion of respondents being involved in contractual disputes fell from 44% in 2015, to 33% in 2018, to 27% this year.

Head of economic research and analysis at RIBA, Adrian Malleson, said: “From navigating the complexities of Brexit to the uncertainty of the Covid-19 pandemic, the past three years have been particularly tough for the construction sector. Project delivery has been risky and – as these findings suggest – it’s through increased collaborative working and mutual support that the sector has continued to deliver, and the number of those pursuing dispute resolutions has declined.”

The Contracts and Law Report included a series of articles, including a piece from ACE’s agreements consultant, Rosemary Beales.

Rosemary said: “After a difficult period for everyone, we’re delighted to see disputes falling. Standard agreements and contracts are just one way to embed collaboration and ensure positive outcomes for all parties, reducing the number of disputes on sometimes complex projects.”

“It is also encouraging to see the recent increase in the importance of sustainability for clients and others. ACE Agreements and ICC Contracts are sufficiently flexible to provide for the delivery of required sustainable outcomes.

“The ACE Professional Services Agreement and Schedules of Services enable bespoke sustainability provisions to be incorporated as part of a project’s strategic goals and their integration into the construction contract. The ICC includes sustainability provisions enabling the inclusion of a client’s sustainability policy, audit of compliance and the ability for the submission of proposals for improvement of sustainable outcomes during the course of the Works.”

Browse the full suite of contracts and agreements on our website now.