How NEC Contracts Work

NEC in action

NEC produces a diverse range of definitive end-to-end project management contracts that empower users to deliver projects:

  • On time
  • On budget
  • To the highest standards

The suite is uniquely flexible and can be used for the procurement of works, services and goods across all sectors – including public and private, buildings and infrastructure, plant and equipment – as well as all stages of a project lifecycle, from planning, design and project management to construction, maintenance and facilities management.

Each contract is supported by associated guidance notes and flow charts, detailing exactly what procedures should be followed by whom and when.

The NEC structure 

The principal NEC3 contracts, short contracts and subcontracts can be broadly grouped into works, services and supply as shown below. The choice of NEC3 form depends on the project complexity and level of risk.


There are some innovative new features and new contracts in NEC4 suite which will help users achieve further improvements to the efficiency and outcome of their projects and work programmes.

New forms of contract

NEC4 Design Build Operate Contract (DBO) allows Clients to procure a more integrated whole-life delivery solution.

The Alliance Contract (ALC) suits Clients who wish to enter into a single collaborative contact with a number of participants in order to deliver a project or programme of time.


The guidance notes for NEC4 contracts have been updated and consolidated. They are provided in four distinct volumes, dealing with procurement strategy, contract preparation, supplier selection and contract management. The contract preparation and contract management volumes sub-divide into separate books for each NEC contract.

Download NEC4 - The Next Generation to learn more about the changes and benefits.


Works encompasses purchases such as the construction, refurbishment and decommissioning of buildings, structures, process plants and infrastructure – including everything from houses, schools, hospitals and leisure facilities to infrastructure for water, energy, transport, industry and waste.


Services includes purchases of professional services such as engineering, architectural, project management and consultancy works. It also covers composite services such as facilities management, cleaning, catering, security, maintenance and data processing.


Supply includes supply of high-value goods and associated services such as transformers, generators, rolling stock, cranes, gantries and complex plant. It also includes lower-risk items such as building materials and products, stationery, personal protective equipment and parts.

Watch the below video produced by the Hong Kong government which provides more detail on how NEC3 works and the benefits of using the contracts.   


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What our Customers Say

Open Quote Following a review of available contracts and lessons learnt from recent major projects, we decided to use the NEC3 suite because it supports the desired culture and way of working, provides robust contract management processes, achieves a fair and sensible allocation of risk and can be used for all project requirements to give consistency in approach. Close Quote

Steve Rowsell Head of Procurement 2008-2010 Crossrail

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