As part of our service offering, FIS provide a contract, QS and legal helpline service.  Demand for this helpline has increased in recent months and concerns have been highlighted related to the level of risk (particularly around design and delay associated with the new regulatory environment) being passed through the supply chain.  In response to this we have identified the need to introduce a new FIS Contract Review Service.

Unlike the helpline, which reacts to member enquiries once a problem has been identified, the contract review service provides pro-active support that will seek to identity onerous contract clauses before work starts, thus seeking to avoid contract issues further down the line.

The subsidised service will be staffed by a panel of four experts, and it will be the member’s choice as to which panel member they choose.  The starting price will be £450 for an initial review and written summary and an additional £150 if a virtual meeting is required to go through the contract in more detail.  Prices will be tiered around size of contract.

The panel will use the collective wisdom generated through this work to isolate trends, identify onerous clauses and update on the state of the contractual market for regular reporting purposes. They will offer guidance to FIS and its membership, through a series of advisory articles.  This work builds on our ongoing commitment to support the RICS Conflict Avoidance Process (more details in our Legal and Contractual Toolkit) .

Speaking of the new service, FIS Chief Executive Iain McIlwee said:

“This new service has been developed in response to the procurement research we did earlier in the year that identified that specialist contractors often find themselves under significant pressure to sign amended forms of contracts in the absence of any legal advice.   We have been monitoring this closely and continue to see unacceptable risk transfer through heavily amended standard form contracts.  If anything, this practice seems to be getting worse and it is increasingly hard to understand how unwieldy schedules of amendments are sneaking risk through.  This is being too readily accepted as normal behaviour, so much so that companies are at times not even reading the contacts.  We have to ensure that businesses and individuals understand and manage the risks that they are signing up to.

This new contract review service is designed to bring a bit of structure to how we respond, ensuring our members have access to the best possible advice in their negotiation of and management of contract and at least understand and can mitigate any risks that they are contracted to.  This forms part of our wider work in supporting the Conflict Avoidance Pledge.  Conflict management starts before the contract is signed and sometimes we need to be ready with an informed and responsible “no”.  Through this service we will be working with the reviewers to monitor contractual trends and ensure that we are responding effectively to them as a community.”

You can find out more about the Contract review service at the FIS Regional Meeting in Manchester on 28 November and via our dedicated webpage here