The NEC was first published in 1993 as the New Engineering Contract, also known as the Engineering and Construction Contract. It is a suite of construction contracts intended to promote partnering and collaboration between the contractor and client. It was developed as a reaction to other more traditional forms of construction contract which have been portrayed by some as adversarial.
In 1994, NEC was strongly recommended in the Latham Report (Constructing the Team) which investigated the perceived problems with the construction industry, describing it as ineffective, fragmented and incapable of delivering for its customers, proposing that there should be greater partnering and teamwork.
The Engineering and Construction Contract (ECC) is the most frequently used, and can be adopted on projects such as infrastructure, buildings, highways and process plants. It is used for the appointment of a contractor for engineering and construction work, including any level of design responsibility.
The NEC contracts are intended to:
Stimulate good management.
Be clear and simple, written in plain English, in the present tense and without legal terminology.
Be useable in a wide variety of situations from minor works to major projects.
Now in its fourth edition, NEC4, revised in 2015, NEC4 contracts reflect procurement and project management developments and emerging best practice, with improvements in flexibility, clarity and the ease of administration.
The NEC2 second edition of the box set was launched in 1995, adding in several new contracts to the family including a professional services contract and adjudicators contract. This led to 10 years of extensive and successful usage with significant feedback from the industry on the development process and culminated in the launch of the third edition NEC3.
The third edition was revised in 2010, with a total of 39 NEC3 documents and a range of services and products to support users, the NEC3 suite of contracts is more comprehensive than ever before and is endorsed by UK government with individual titles supported by The Association for Project Management and the British Institute for Facilities Management.