NEC3 'Show and Share' Early Warning Notices Challenge

NEC3 'Show and Share' Early Warning Notices Challenge

NEC3 Early Warnings: Show and Share Your Best Early Warning Challenge #1

How Can You Draft A Good EWN?

If you’ve ever lost valuable time searching for the right words or template for an early warning notification, you’re not alone. Since most of us aren’t experts in NEC3 and plain English, our instincts lead us to use the last early warning we drafted or borrowing from a colleague rather than writing our own from scratch using best practice principles. Unfortunately, not all early warning are drafted equally!

The good news is that drafting Early Warning doesn’t require an expert. If you’re starting your first NEC3 Contract but didn’t know where to start, this week’s challenge is handcrafted for you!

Free Resources for Early Warnings Notices

Recently, community member Dr. Jon Broome and Chris Corr shared an Early Warning Register and asked a series of FAQs on common issues are EWN.  You might also wish to check out our free resources section as we add new templates all the time. If you are looking for a more comprehensive set of NEC3 templates please check out our NEC3 FastDraft suite of 100+ NEC3 templates here.

Guidance on the Basics of EWN

 Early warnings are a simple but fundamental process within the NEC3 family of contracts. A few golden rules to consider:


  1. Either Party are obliged to raise an early warning for a matter that could affect time, cost or quality
  2. Either Party can instruct a “risk reduction” meeting which is the chance to discuss the matter and consider ways of avoiding or at least mitigating the risk
  3. Matters recorded and updated on a Risk Register which is different from traditional risk registers that you may be used to
  4. The updated and reissued Risk Register will capture on an ongoing basis the current status of the matter raised.
  5. NEC3 Risk Registers need only include a description of the risk, and the action to be taken to avoid or reduce the risk - they do NOT need to include other information that traditional risk registers may have such as likelihood, severity, value etc
  6. The early warning process should be considered an operational tool rather than a commercial tool
  7. Early warnings are matters that could or might affect – if it IS already an issue then it sounds too late and may already be a matter to notify as a compensation event (if it is one)
  8. For an event that already has been notified as a compensation event an early warning is not required to be raised
  9. An early warning may well lead eventually to a compensation event but they are the opportunity to avoid or reduce their impact – they should not simply be considered as a “compensation event in disguise”
  10. The clue is in the words – it should be raised EARLY
  11. There are both potential practical and financial consequences to either Party if they fail to raise a compensation event - it could be a disallowed cost or a compensation event could be assessed as though an early warning had been raised (clauses 61.5, 63.5, 11.2(25))


You can also find some useful guidance from the Glenn Hide and Steven Evans on Early Warning on their respective sites.

Drafting Early Warning Notifications (EWNs) in Plain English

Writing in plain English doesn’t have to be Mickey Mouse but its not as easy as you might think. It is however faster to write, faster to read and you will generally get your message across in an easier and more friendly way.  The Plain English Campaign provides an excellent guidance if you have time to read more on this subject, but for those of you in a rush, here is a distilled version for NEC3

  1. Stop and think before you start writing. Make a note of the points you want to make in a logical order and the key clause or references to Works Information you wish to refer to.
  2. It generally better to use short words and every day English whenever possible.
  3. Avoid jargon, obscure acronyms and overly technical or legalistic words. They do not impress your clients or help your writing style. Always give the full version of any acronyms followed the initials initially. Thereafter, you can use the acronym instead of the full version. Explain any technical terms you have to use.
  4. Use the language of the contract e.g. compensation event, not claim.
  5. Be concise : try to keep your sentence length down to an average of 15 to 20 words. It helps if you stick to one main idea in a sentence.
  6. Use active verbs as much as possible. Say ‘we will do it’ rather than ‘it will be done by us’. I.e. state ‘who’-‘has to do what’-‘to whom’-‘by when’.
  7. Imagine you are talking to your reader. Write sincerely, personally, in a style that is suitable and with the right tone of voice.
  8. And always check that your writing is clear, helpful, human and polite.
  9. Review what you have written from the reader’s perspective: if you were them, with their knowledge and perspective, would you be clear about what you were talking about or wanted them to do ?

NEC3 Challenge of the Week

 This week your challenge is to draft an example Early Warning Notice, template or Risk Register to share with the NEC3 community.

You can use existing notices you have to illustrate how to flag typical issues, but please remove any commercial information if you wish to do this. You can also use MS Word or Excel or any to the existing NEC3 contract management software system on the market to draft your notifications or our FastDraft templates or App to create your challenge entry.

Share Your NEC3 Work

  • Comments: Use the comments section below to share a link to your published example and blog post.
  • Forums: Start your own thread on our LinkedIn forum and share a link to your published example.
  • Blogs: If you have a blog, please consider writing about your challenges. We’ll link back to your posts so the great work you’re sharing gets even more exposure.
  • Social: If you share your experiences on Twitter, try using #NEC3 so your tweeps can track your NEC3 credentials. Share your work on our LinkedIn page by replying to this post with a link to your example.
  • Email: If you want to send us your example, please email us at and we will publish it.

New to the NEC3 Challenges?

The weekly challenges are ongoing opportunities to learn, share, and build your know how. You can jump into any or all of the previous challenges anytime you want. I’ll update the recap posts to include your contributions.

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