Why are universities not teaching about NEC forms of contract?
Whenever I run a NEC training course I typically get people in the room to introduce themselves and their roles within their companies, I am always quite excited to hear someone has just left university or currently at university. I get to ask them my favorite question, which is “do they/did they teach you about NEC3 forms of contract?” I always ask this question in the hope that I will not (again) be disappointed. My glimmer of hope is invariably quashed with a response of “No, they only talked about JCT”.
Why is this? It is not like they are new contracts anymore – unless you call 23 years old “new”! The NEC User Group reported earlier in 2016 that following a survey of nearly 1000 UK construction businesses that NEC contracts are now the most popular form of procurement for clients in this country, and continue to increase their overall market share at the expense of other traditional forms of contract (including JCT). The survey by the RIBA found the NEC3 contract suite is used by 42% of clients compared to only 32% mostly using JCT contracts. In the past three years the use of NEC by the construction industry is up to 30% from 22%, compared to JCT that has decreased from 48% to 39% in the same period. Assuming that trend continues (and there is no reason to suggest that it won’t) then in the next couple of years NEC will be the most widely used in the UK compared to other forms (as well as already being the most popular).
So I repeat my original question: Why are Universities not teaching about the use of NEC3 contracts whilst they do continue to “educate” them on the intricacy (or should that be subjectivity) of the JCT contract? Is it simply that the average age of a University lecturer is 74 years old and as creatures of habit they teach only what they have known? (I write that knowing that I am unlikely to incur their wrath as I reckon they will currently be in their JCT website group not this one!). If you are trying to educate graduates to make them ready for life in the real world then why not cover the contract that they are most likely to use. Anyone working on HS2, Hinkley, Thames Tideway, TFL, Airports, Highways, water industry to name but a mere few will all be using only NEC3 contracts.
How do we get this message into the Universities to bring them up to the 20th century with regards to this aspect? I would like to shame the ones that don’t, (but won’t) but we could name the ones who do and give them a bit of credit that they deserve. Given that Universities like technology – they could even pick up our BuiltIntelligence NEC3 elearning academy and run it as a standalone module/ assignment to form the basis of the understanding.
Interested in peoples experience as to if this is the real problem I think it is, and what we can do about it. Please do leave a comment or join the NEC3 discussion on our NEC Linkedin Group.