Last edited 15 Sep 2020

Back-to-back provisions in construction contacts


The term ‘back-to-back’ refers to the replication of contractual terms through the supply chain.

As contractors increasingly sub-contract much of their work to others, so the construction supply chain has become longer and more complex. It is important for all parties to ensure that certain rights and obligations exist not only in their own agreements, but also in the agreements contracting parties have with others. This ensures that the main contractor is not left responsible for all obligations to the employer, that sub-contractors have enforceable rights and that timings are co-ordinated throughout the supply chain.

Typically, descriptions of back-to-back requirements focus on the relationship between the employer, contractor and sub-contractors, but they apply equally to sub-sub-contractors, suppliers, consultants and sub-consultants.

In its strictest form, back-to-back refers not just to the replication of contractual rights and obligations in different levels of contract, but to a requirement that the terms of agreement at one level are included in agreements at lower levels.

This is a very complex process that requires careful consideration and drafting ­to ensure the correct terms - and only those terms - are passed on, that they are phrased appropriately and that requirements, and in particular timings, are properly co-ordinated.

Back-to-back provisions can be created by:

Key aspects of construction contracts that might require back-to-back provisions include:

The Housing Grants Construction and Regeneration Act prevents the inclusion of pay-when-paid or pay-when-certified clauses, and the release of retention (i.e retention monies) cannot be prevented by conditions within another contract.

[edit] Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki

Designing Buildings Anywhere

Get the Firefox add-on to access 20,000 definitions direct from any website

Find out more Accept cookies and
don't show me this again