Commencement of works

Timely possession of the site is critical to keeping the project on schedule. The work can only commence when the contractor has possession of the site. These arrangements are usually detailed in the contract, and where they are not they will be implied into the contract.

Delays in the handover of the site can emerge from either party to the contract or from a third party. The JCT 2016 Standard Form of Building Contract permits up to a six-week delay in giving possession on the side of the employer without the employer being in breach of contract.

Taking possession of the site and commencing the works triggers a number of potential liabilities and important obligations on the part of the contractor, particularly with regard to security of the site, general safety considerations, liability as occupier and related insurance matters.

This section is maintained by Tim Healey of Herbert Smith Freehills LLP.