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Be prepared for smart contracts - Tom Pemberton, Construction partner, writes for Building Magazine

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The next generation of contracts should be designed to work with Modern Methods of Construction (MMC), says Tom Pemberton in his latest feature for Building:

"The government’s new construction playbook identifies the use of digital tools and modern methods of construction (MMC) as being critical to achieving its objectives of a leaner, greener building sector. The industry cannot return to its old ways, having learned so much during the pandemic about how to build more effectively."

The full article is now available on the Building website, you can access it by clicking here.

Tom's article goes on to consider the role that smart contracts can play in supporting the automated offsite processes at the heart of MCC. 

What are smart contracts?

A recent definition of smart contracts by Dr Jason Allen (quoted in a lecture by Sir Geoffrey Vos, chancellor of the High Court and chair of the UK Jurisdiction Taskforce of the LawTech Delivery Panel) is that they are recordings of a legal agreement between parties in a language that is both human-intelligible and machine-readable, whose text incorporates an algorithm that automates some or all of the performance of the agreement.

Will courts enforce smart contracts?

There is no reason in principle why courts will not enforce smart contracts provided all the necessary elements are present (offer, acceptance, intention to create legal relations and consideration).

Tom Pemberton

Tom has many years’ experience of advising clients involved in the procurement, management, design and delivery of high profile building and infrastructure projects in the UK and internationally in the transport, energy, power, waste, process engineering, leisure, residential, retail and office accommodation sectors. He specialises in drafting and negotiating development agreements, construction contracts, professional appointments, collateral warranties, guarantees, bonds, direct agreements and other ancillary documentation. Tom works closely with clients to identify their objectives and the risks associated with the project, and takes a pragmatic approach to drafting and negotiating contract terms to support the achievement of a successful outcome. 

Goodman Derrick - Construction

Goodman Derrick has a strong cross-departmental Construction Group that provides contentious and non-contentious advice to property owners, developers, contractors and consultants, the group:

  • provides a comprehensive construction law service, from project beginning to end
  • draws on its knowledge of the construction industry, built up over many years
  • works extensively in the UK and internationally
  • takes pride in its ability to offer practical and commercially sound solutions

Goodman Derrick - a London law firm focused on delivering an exceptional service to ambitious businesses and entrepreneurs

More information

This guide is for general information and interest only and should not be relied upon as providing specific legal advice. If you require any further information about the issues raised in this article please contact the author or call 0207 404 0606 and ask to speak to your usual Goodman Derrick contact.