History of NEC

Olympic park - NEC form of contract

“Our philosophy was to produce something which cured every known ill of traditional contracts. We did not have to compromise. Everything we thought would be a good idea went in – and we could decide what to put in solely on the basis of what would stimulate all those using it to manage their contribution well”. – Martin Barnes

The first NEC contract – then known as the 'New Engineering Contract' – was published in 1993. It was a radical departure from existing building and engineering contracts, being written in plain language and designed to stimulate rather than frustrate good management. 

The second edition, called the NEC Engineering and Construction Contract (ECC), appeared two years later together with a new Professional Services Contract (PSC), Adjudicator's Contract (AC) and a back-to-back set of short forms and sub-contracts.

A decade of extensive international use followed, culminating in the development and launch of the NEC3 contract suite in 2005. This included a new Term Service Contract (TSC) and Framework Contract (FC), joined in 2010 by a Supply Contract (SC)

The suite was updated and enlarged to 39 documents in April 2013, including a Professional Services Short Contract (PSSC) – which has been selected by the Association for Project Management as its standard form for appointing project managers – and an enhanced set of guidance documents.

The NEC3 suite has been endorsed by governments and industry worldwide and has an unrivalled track record for delivering projects on time and on budget – including the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games venues. 

Twelve years on and with several hundred billion pounds more procurement under its belt, the contract suite’s next evolution NEC4 contract suite – was launched in 2017. A new NEC4 Design Build Operate Contract (DBO) and Alliance Contract (ALC) was added.

The contracts are updated and streamlined to take into account consultation responses, user feedback, industry developments and emerging best practice, with improvements in flexibility, clarity and ease of administration.

To read more, please download the NEC Evolving to be the world’s favourite procurement suite.

Discover more about the NEC Story by watching an interview with NEC creator Martin Barnes CBE and NEC Users' Group Secretary Robert Gerrard. 

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