Watch this space – proposed update to key construction contract AS 4000-1997

Hot on the heels of the review of NZS3910, AS 4000-1997, a key Australian standard form construction contract for more than 27 years, is currently being reviewed.  This form, or variants of it, is sometimes used in New Zealand and various jurisdictions in the Pacific.   

This is not the first time that a review has been attempted of the AS 4000-1997 form: In 2013 Standards Australia initiated a review in response to calls for a standard form contract that more fairly and transparently allocated risk.  However, this was abandoned in 2017 due to a lack of support from the “full spectrum of interests”. 

This most recent review began in 2022, with Australian Standards indicating that the review was of much more limited scope, and that the proposed changes are not intended to affect risk allocation between the parties.  The draft AS 4000-1997 has recently gone through a public consultation process which ended on 29 May 2024.     

The proposed changes include:

  • Legislative updates and new clauses to address updates including PPSA and default and insolvency requirements;
  • Updated and new definitions;
  • A formal instrument of agreement as the basis for forming the Contract;
  • Amendments to dispute resolution clauses;
  • Style changes to ensure consistent language.

While the proposed changes may be on the conservative side, they provide some improvement to reflect developments in legislation and case law.  

We will wait with interest to see whether the proposed updates are adopted this time around and will provide updates on the key changes once these are released.  AS 4000-2024 is expected to be released at the end of 2024.

If you have any questions about the incoming changes to AS 4000, please get in touch with our Construction Team or your usual contact at Hesketh Henry.


Disclaimer:  The information contained in this article is current at the date of publishing and is of a general nature.  It should be used as a guide only and not as a substitute for obtaining legal advice.  Specific legal advice should be sought where required.

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Media contact - Kerry Browne
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