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NEC releases new contract clauses to help tackle climate change

11 August 2022

NEC's Secondary Option X29 clauses can help to meet net zero and sustainability targets in construction. 

NEC releases new contract clauses to help tackle climate change
NEC welcomes feedback on the use of the Secondary Option X29 clauses. Image credit: Blue Planet Studio/Shutterstock

NEC has published the final version of contract clauses specifically designed to tackle climate change in the built environment.

The Secondary Option X29 clauses were produced to help the industry achieve net zero emissions and sustainability targets in the creation and operation of built assets.

To achieve this, the design, construction, maintenance and disposal of buildings and infrastructure will need to become more sustainable.

The clauses follow a period of consultation, and a launch at this year’s annual NEC Users’ Group conference.

Why were the Secondary Option X29 clauses created?

Reducing the impact of built assets on climate change is principally a technical issue addressed in the scope, a defined term in the NEC4: Engineering and Construction Contract (ECC).

However, there are limitations in this approach as it relies on users including the required content in the scope and linking this to the contractual processes in the contract.

Introducing additional conditions to the contract was seen as beneficial in driving the reduction of the impact of the works on climate change.

The X29 clauses have been introduced to:

  • Signpost the issues to be covered in the scope and/or raise its profile.
  • Incentivise performance against climate change targets.
  • Add to existing processes or create new ones that help reduce the impact of the works, service and supply on climate change.

A version of the Secondary Option X29 clauses has been produced for all NEC4 main and main subcontract forms.

The aim is to enable the consideration of climate change at every stage in the life of an asset. It would also support in engaging clients and key members of the supply chain.

NEC welcomes feedback on the use of the X29 clauses and is keen to support users in the development of best practice examples.

Download the X29 clauses Download the X29 guidance notes

Who helped prepare the X29 clauses?

The ICE acknowledged the help in preparing the Secondary Option X29 clauses, given by the NEC4 Contract Board, the ICE Carbon Project and:

  • Richard Patterson, NEC and procurement specialist, and technical principal, Mott MacDonald
  • Siu Fa Ng, project executive, Environment Agency
  • Stacey Collins, major projects partner and climate change specialist, at global law firm Pinsent Masons LLP
  • Veronica Flint Williams, contract and risk manager, Environment Agency

The NEC4 Contract Board members are:

  • Peter Higgins (chair)
  • Peter T Cousins
  • Matthew Garratt
  • Ian Heaphy
  • Shy Jackson
  • Steve Rowsell
  • Ian Heaphy, nec4 contract board and director at IN Construction Consulting