- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 12 Jul 2019
A contract is 'a promise or set of promises which the law will enforce'. That is, there is reciprocity of undertaking passing between the promisor and the promisee.
In the world of the consumer, a maintenance contract may be taken out for cars and appliances such as TVs, washing machines, computers, refrigerators and other equipment. The idea is that the consumer pays a fee (usually monthly) to ensure their equipment is regularly maintained, thereby securing maximum service life and reducing the risk of breakdowns.
A maintenance contract – renewed annually or for a longer fixed term – may also be taken out by landlords and other property owners. This may involve paying a monthly fee to a service provider to cover servicing (e.g central heating) and repairs (e.g roof leaks) as they arise. The emphasis is usually on preventative maintenance so that the building’s fabric, equipment and technology remain in good order. A technical support service that provides advice to the client may also be part of the package.
The contract should state its proposed duration as well as the intensity of service calls provided during a specific term (a limited number of calls per month may be stipulated). The terms will vary from contract to contract and may have limitations on frequency and types of service calls.
Modern buildings are normally complicated and require expertise to operate and maintain. They may involve complex electrical, IT, plumbing and mechanical equipment. It can therefore to the benefit of everyone directly involved with a building’s final use that a maintenance contract is in place (although large organisations may have their own in-house maintenance staff). The process of maintainenace aims to ensure the client gets the maximum benefit and long-life from the asset.
If well structured, it can save a client the complexity of managing and operating (on a daily basis) the engineering and mechanical aspects of a building, saving them money, time and effort. Some contracts may allow for downsizing or other variations to change the maintenance requirements if the client encounters changed circumstances.
The Joint Contracts Tribunal (JCT) produces a range of repair and maintenance contracts (JCT-RM) intended for use on commercial projects where there is a defined programme of repair and maintenance works for a building or buildings.
JCT-RM is primarily used by local authorities and other employers who are used to placing a large number of small and medium-size contracts, and are therefore expected to be experienced in handling contractors’ accounts – removing the need for an independent contract administrator.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Certificate of making good defects.
- Constructing Excellence contract.
- Construction contract.
- Design and build contract.
- In-house or outsource maintenance.
- Intermediate Building Contract.
- JCT Repair and maintenance contract.
- JCT Sub-subcontract.
- Measured term contract.
- Minor works.
- Scheduled maintenance.
Featured articles and news
Five things to consider before installing solar panels.
New conservation building for the Louvre completed.
A balance between character and climate.
Bamboo pavilion built at London South Bank Uni.
Bringing in an expert.
Why the lowest price isn't sustainable.
The Most Economically Advantageous Tender.
Pipe dream or possibility?
The New Rules of Measurement.
Prioritising Sustainable Development Goals on projects.