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News & Press: 2014 News Items

New Everyman's Building Contract

Monday, 03 November 2014   (1 Comments)
Posted by: Bert vd Heever
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Everyman’s Building Contract (2nd Edition)

In 1988, five Port Elizabethans agreed that as a much-needed, voluntary, non-profit service to the South African construction industry, they would design a building contract which ensured that building contractors and their clients had a mutually fair, complete, workable set of conditions on which to base their contractual arrangements.

The five authors of the proposed Agreement were John Bowles, Michael Raaff, James Blackburn, Prof Gaye Le Roux and Michael St Leger Searle. 

They decided to produce a uniquely formatted document, combining an original copy (client’s copy) with a duplicate copy (for the Contractor), each in an extended single-sheet, which meant that the complete, undivided text of the Agreement would always be in full view of anyone perusing the contract, thereby diminishing the risk of oversight of any of the clauses.


In 1989, the First Edition of the innovative Agreement, titled Everyman’s Building Contract, generally known as Everyman’s was published by QS Publications in Port Elizabeth.


The authors’ expectations had been that the document would be most popular for minor works, but they soon discovered that the majority was used on medium-sized projects throughout South Africa.

When stocks ran out, the document was not reprinted.

Over the years, frequent requests for copies clearly indicated that while Everyman’s was needed by contractors and their clients, if it were to play its original role as a mutually fair, complete and workable set of conditions of contract supporting the interests of both parties engaged in construction processes, the contents had to be refined, updated and aligned with developments in the construction industry.

During 2013, in searching for a new home for Everyman’s, the original authors approached the Department of Quantity Surveying at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University with the suggestion that their existing authorship rights would be ceded to the Department, on condition that Everyman’s would be used in a teaching / learning environment and that the Department would take over Everyman’s by updating the document in perpetuity and distribute at a non-profit price to contractors, co-contractors, clients, property owners  and developers.  


In gifting Everyman’s to the NMMU Department of Quantity Surveying, the five authors believe that apart from its importance in


·  further education and training,

·  tertiary education, and

·   usage by role players and stakeholders in the formal sector of the South African construction industry,

the continuously updated Agreement will  fulfil a vital role in educating and  supporting

·         small and emerging building contractors, 
·         co-contractors, and
·         clients,

in understanding  their contractual  obligations and the need for compliance.

“Everyman’s” will be available from the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Department of Quantity Surveying, ASAQS and other association branch offices.

The recommended selling price is R 100,00 (excl VAT). For more information, contact Louise Engelbrecht, (041) 504 2669 or email:


Frans W. van der Walt says...
Posted Wednesday, 19 November 2014
It is a great idea to revive this form of contract ! I truly believe there is place for it in SA. I do, however, hope it was revived, with lateral thinking, in cooperation with the JBCC, to ensure that between the different forms of contract there is continuity for the Development Team to "grow" with the contract and possibly start using the JBCC on larger, more complex projects. The JBCC contract in it's current form is way too complex for a simple project, and the Everyman may have filled that "gap" from no contract to the JBCC suite. Even from a Education and selling perspective, it would probably make sense to ensure the JBCC (with all their problems !!!) supports this contract and that it be presented when the JBCC suite is presented ? What supporting documentation or guidelines are available, or would this be developed ? I also hope that the Contract makes full use of the technological era we are in, and are made available electronically to ensure adoption and use.