ICHEME has launched a completely new model form of contract book, Professional Services Contract - the Silver Book, which covers professional services agreements and is suitable for both UK and international use.
It addresses a gap in IChemE’s extensive range of model forms of contract and was put together following consultation with legal experts, industry users and consultants, carried out by IChemE’s Contracts Committee. It includes both short form and long form contracts. The short form is suitable for low-value pure consultancy services, feasibility and concept studies, business cases or research and development activities. The long form is suitable for, amongst other things, more complex feasibility and concept studies, developing business cases, traditional engineering design, management, procurement and consultancy, with a higher value and longer duration.
The Silver Book was officially launched at an event at Keating Chambers in London on 9 February 2017, attended by around 40 invited guests including lawyers, representatives from large oil and gas firms and IChemE Corporate Partners. John Challenger, chairman of the Contracts Committee, explained that the contracts are designed to be practical and concise and allow the user to concentrate on the technical aspects. The contracts are applicable beyond the process industries.
“The Silver Book has been drafted with performance-based projects in mind, specifically for the process industries. Like other forms of IChemE contract it can also be used for more general applications. The Contracts Committee has maintained its approach to ensure close co-operation between the purchaser and the consultant,” said Challenger. “It is very rewarding to see such a crowd at tonight’s launch event, and I hope that The Silver Book is another useful and successful addition to our existing Forms of Contract suite.”
The keynote address at the launch was given by guest speaker Steve Elliot, chief executive of the UK’s Chemical Industry Association (CIA).
Elliot spoke on the importance of the UK’s chemical industry, which was recently recognised in a speech by Prime Minister Theresa May. Last’s year’s UK referendum vote to leave the EU will, Elliot said, have consequences for the UK chemical industry, which is very exposed to the EU. 60% of its exports go to the EU, while 75% of imports come from the EU. If high trade tariffs are imposed or the free movement of workers restricted, there will be further impact.
In such a climate, getting the best deals and the right legal protection is particularly important.
“Work such as this clearly helps companies in CIA membership negotiate the legal minefield of any contractual relationship, including the rights and the liabilities between purchaser and consultant. I don’t need to tell anybody in this room that for many UK chemical businesses, contracting with confidence to deliver anything from complex engineering to R&D projects is fraught with difficulty,” Eliott said, adding: “Anything that gives more clarity and reassurance to both client and consultant has to be welcomed.”
He also praised the global applicability of The Silver Book, which he said will be of particular benefit, as around 75% of CIA members are headquartered outside the UK, and the provision of ethical clauses such as those for corruption and bribery.
Eliott concluded: “As our country seeks a new place in the world, what we really want to see is a much more collaborative approach between industry and government to help drive and attract investment, recognising that the world is increasingly going to be a very different place for us Brits. Success here can only be good for the whole of our economy, for UK chemical businesses, and of course for the popularity of books such as The Silver Book.”
Visit www.icheme.org/foc for more information about the Silver Book, and IChemE’s other forms of contract.
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