As a way of improving the ease of doing business in the construction industry, the Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors has trained its members and other professionals in the industry in modern forms of contract.
One of the forms of contract they were trained in was the Joint Contracts Tribunal, which produces standard forms of contract for construction, guidance notes and other standard documentation for use in the construction industry.
The NIQS President, Mr Obafemi Onashile, explained that the JCT was a United Kingdom-based organisation that coordinates contracts for the construction industry.
“As you know, Nigeria is a member country of the Commonwealth and our construction industry operates under the style and; so, the JCT contract is adopted for construction contracts in Nigeria. We are introducing the recent form of JCT contract to Nigeria and for the industry to start to adopt this latest form of contract procedure,” he stated.
Onashile said it was part of the reforms the NIQS was clamouring to occur in the industry, which had been in doldrums in the last few decades, adding that there had not been any progress per se, as most of the operations in the construction industry were still 20th Century processes and procedures.
“We are saying this is the 21st Century and to also benchmark our industry on international standards. If we want international standards in our industry and want multinationals to come in, we also need to benchmark our procedures with international standards, which is what this is all about. This is part of our contributions to the reform of the industry,” he stated.
Onashile noted that the JCT contract had been in use as a form of contract for construction purposes, but professionals in the country had continued to use the 1963 version, while in the UK, it was revised in 1980, 1998, 2005, 2011 and 2016.
He explained, “They have been making progress due to their experience in the industry, while we are stuck to 1963 and ignoring the progress made; meanwhile, we are saying we do not want to learn from other people’s mistakes, but we are still making those mistakes with the form of contract we use. So, we are saying let us leave the old style, which has made us to stay behind.
“Our clients are becoming more international and investors are coming in, they need to be assured that their investments are secured. The archaic form has issues, which other countries have improved on but which we are still using.”
He said the institute’s professional examinations would henceforth be based on the modern form of contract, while its members would be required to update their knowledge and pass it to other professionals in the industry.