ByrneWallace: What you need to know about the new Public Works Contracts

20 Feb 2017

All the signs are that 2017 will be a busy year for the construction industry and this should include Government projects as well as private projects.

Contractors need to be aware as of 9th January 2017 it is mandatory for Contracting Authorities (“CA’s”) to use the revised versions of the Public Works Contracts suite of documents and no further amendments are permitted to same. Therefore contractors should familiarise themselves with the revisions so they can tender properly and operate the project effectively.


The four main areas where amendments have been made are as follows:

1. Pricing Document

The Bill of Quantities makes a comeback and is now a Compensation Event* for Employer designed forms PW – CF1, PW-CF3 and PW-CF5 as set out in Schedule Part 1K (17).

2. Reserved Specialists

A new procedure for CA’s to obtain tenders directly from Specialist sub-contractors* who are then appointed by the Contractor has been introduced for Employer designed contract forms PW-CF1, PW-CF3 and PW-CF5. This new procedure is an additional procedure and the existing procedure of novation of Specialists from the Employer to the Main Contractor continues to be available in forms PW-CF1 – PW-CF5 inclusive.

3. Dispute Resolution Procedures

The dispute resolution procedures are amended to include an informal without prejudice dispute resolution method prior to Conciliation with the introduction of a Project Board* to resolve disputes in relation to Determinations made by the Employer’s Representative. Further, for contract forms PW-CF1 – PW-CF4 with a Contract Sum in excess of €10m a Standing Conciliator* must be appointed by the parties who will act as Conciliator for all disputes which arise throughout the project and who will have a role during the project in assisting the parties in avoiding disputes.

4. Construction Contracts Act 2013

The Construction Contracts Act 2013, in force since 25 July 2016, provides new rights and obligations for both parties in relation to payments made under the contract and the dispute process with the introduction of statutory adjudication for payment disputes. Relevant amendments have been made to the various forms of contracts to take account of the provisions in the Act.

* These terms are defined in the PWC Contracts.
Deirdre Hennessy is a Senior Associate in one of Ireland’s leading law firms ByrneWallace and specialises in advising on the dispute resolution side of construction law.

Links to the contract documents and relevant Guidance notes are available on

For more information in relation to the implications of these changes for contractors please contact Louise Forrest, Deirdre Hennessy or Joanna Beausang from the ByrneWallace Construction and Procurement Teams.

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