A History of NEC contracts


NEC Contract

What are NEC contracts? 

The mission of the NEC and the contracts they provide is to “provide clarity, flexibility and stimulate good management.” Their aim is to improve the procurement and delivery process as opposed to just facilitating them. In that essence, NEC contracts have been created with the aim of improving contract management for all parties involved. Historically, contracts were primarily verbal, or written up independently. This left a wide margin for error and dispute. Neither of those are desirable within the construction industry. Therefore, the contracts provide a guideline of practice for both clients and construction workers. This guideline enforces a clear understanding of the project at hand and the legalities involved.


NEC contracts, a timeline

There is a long line of history behind NEC contracts. Over the years they have had to adapt with the times. Furthermore, as the use of the contracts increased, the NEC needed to meet this demand. This demand was met through the introduction of further contracts into the group, that cover a variety of construction project types.


Early NEC

The NEC was originally founded in 1993. The creator of the NEC contract wanted to be able to provide a set contractual agreement in clear, plain language. He found that many contracts previously were very wordy and used a lot of technical jargon. Although this may make sense to the construction crew, this wasn’t ideal for the clients. Following its success, an expanded version was released just two years later. This expanded version was referred to as the NEC Engineering and Construction Contract (NEC EEC). The NEC EEC listed detailed subcontracts with further subdivisions included to provide more clarity.


Later NEC contract additions

Further down the line a revised version of the NEC contracts are released. Roughly 10 years after the release of the NEC EEC, the NEC3 was released. Following a decade of success with the previous editions, the NEC wanted to expand. The new release contained further and more organised contracts. The contracts contained more detail than the previous editions. Moreover, the contracts we created to suit specific types of projects. This made application of the such contracts much easier.


Current NEC contracts

The NEC4 was announced 12 years after the NEC3. It was not to be thought of as new contracts, but rather than an evolution of the previous ones. It is referred to as a streamlined edition. To enable this evolution the NEC has taken into account over a decade of feedback from clients around the globe. This feedback has then been considered and implemented to help best practice and increase flexibility. The NEC4 however is still in the works, with the most recent addition announced in 2021.


How can I learn more about NEC contracts?

In order to effectively manage construction, you need to have a clear understanding of the application of NEC contracts. Furthermore, you need to be confident in the legalities and also the appropriate way to resolve any potential dispute. Luckily, due to their popularity, courses have been established to help you under NEC contracts and how to use them appropriately.


One of these courses is the Professional Diploma in NEC contracts offered by the College of Contract Management. This course is delivered live online but highly trained professionals over a 4-month duration. The lectures are hosted via zoom call enabling interaction between you and your fellow students. Moreover, this interactive method of lecture delivery gives you direct correspondence with your lecturer, allowing you to ask questions and join discussions. Anyone working within construction will eventually come across the contracts. This course provides you with the best possible understanding of their use, and helps you navigate them effectively.

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