JCT (Joint Contracts Tribunal) contracts facilitate the process of delivering a building project. They can be used in projects from the repairs to a church roof to a large scale redevelopment of church premises. In simple terms they set out the responsibilities of all the parties within the process and their obligations to each other. It is then clear what work needs to be done, who is doing it, when they are doing it by and for how much.
TMCP recently provided guidance for Managing Trustees who were contemplating works to Methodist Property and were seeking to enter in a JCT Contract with the builder for those works. The guidance stressed the importance, as prudent charity trustees, of obtaining professional advice so that the obligations under the contract are as expected and the parties are described correctly.
After giving the guidance TMCP were subsequently copied into an email sent by a District Property Secretary to all the Circuit Superintendents, Circuit Property Stewards and other Managing Trustees in the District that are involved in property.
The email by the District Property Secretary was a good reminder for Managing Trustees to carefully check legal documents before signing the same. If Managing Trustees do not take professional advice before entering into contracts they could find themselves exposed to personal liability if a dispute arises. An excerpt from the email is set out below:
“For information I pass on the following advice given by TMCP regarding JCT contracts and particularly for those Churches in the process of planning major refurbishment work.
TMCP have recently discovered a JCT contract that was about to be entered into by Managing Trustees which did not meet the requirements of Methodist law and policy because the client named in that document was an individual member who is an employee of the Managing Trustee Body and not a Managing Trustee at all, the employee was personally liable under the terms of the contract and was contracting in his own right.
TMCP strongly recommends that any Managing Trustees contemplating entering into construction contracts take professional advice to be clear that their obligations under the contracts are as expected. There is often a view that these are standard contracts with little scope for errors, however as prudent charity trustees Managing Trustees should be clear that any obligations in the contracts are understood and the costs and any extra costs are clear.
Under the terms of Standing Order 931(3) TMCP review contracts to ensure that they do comply with Methodist law and policy and you should forward copies of any contracts to TMCP to enable them to complete this.
For the avoidance of doubt TMCP cannot offer legal advice on the implications of the contracts but they will check that the contracting party (the relevant Managing Trustee body) is correctly identified. The signatories must have authority to enter into and sign the contracts on behalf of the Managing Trustee Body and their ought to be provisions in the documentation ensuring that there is no personal liability for any of the signatories or members of any Managing Trustee Body.”
Please do share this article with Managing Trustees involved in property, to help increase awareness of potential pitfalls that can arise with JCT contracts.
Further information for Managing Trustees undertaking work and development projects involving Methodist property can be found on the ‘Development and Works’ page on TMCP’s website. TMCP can also be contacted at any time if Managing Trustees are unsure about the implications of entering into a JCT Contract and their responsibilities under the same:
Help and guidance is also available on the property page of the Methodist Church website:
If you have any queries in relation to the guidance in this document please contact TMCP Legal for further assistance.