Standards Australia to Modernise the Standard Form Construction Contract

The standard form construction contract is being updated to reflect changes from the past 25 years of legal development

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Standards Australia is in the process of updating and modernizing the AS 4000—1997 General Conditions of Contract standard to reflect legislative changes over the past 25 years. This revision aims to ensure the standard remains relevant and effective in today’s construction industry landscape.


Why is this being done?


AS 4000 is a widely used standard form contract in the construction industry, with a well-understood risk allocation framework between contracting parties that will remain unchanged in this modernised version. The current revision has been conducted by a committee of industry representatives and experts, who have preserved the original risk allocation based on industry feedback. The updated AS 4000 will integrate 25 years of legislative progress, ensuring it remains an effective, trusted, and widely accepted document.


What is being changed?


In 2022, Standards Australia began updating AS 4000 by inviting experts and stakeholders to join. The committee’s review focuses on reflecting legal and case law developments since 1997, improving contract terminology and structure, and maintaining the existing risk allocation. Key revisions include the addition of a Formal Instrument of Agreement, updated definitions, a GST clause, consistent terminology for time periods, provisions for the Personal Property Securities Act 2009, updated insolvency provisions, and more flexible dispute resolution options. For example, the dispute resolution changes would allow parties to choose from four different methods, including mediation and expert determination, for escalating disputes. If the parties do not make a selection, the default process remains negotiation, followed by arbitration.


Public Review Period


The updated AS 4000 is now open for public review and feedback from 27 March until 29 May 2024, accessible via Standards Australia’s Public Comment Portal. Following the review period, the committee will reconvene to incorporate feedback and finalize the draft.  The expected release date for the new AS4000 is either late this year, or in early 2025.


If you want to understand what this means for you, please contact Warlows Legal today using the contact information below.

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