New Sub-Contractors Contract Form


In the prevous article Subcontractors??? we discussed the necessity, significance and importance of sub-contractors and how they can make or break the profitability of a project. Weincluded a checklist for main contractors to evaluate how good their subcontractors are, and a checklist that identifies if sub-contractors are getting a fair deal from their main contractor.

All the points raised are important and now there is a structure on which these can be based and managed in the form of a contract or official agreement, developed by a working group of representatives from the Registered Master Builders Federation and the New Zealand Specialist Trades Federation (formerly the New Zealand Building Subcontractors Federation).

Subcontract Agreement 2009 (SA 2009). This is aimed at codifying a good working relationship between the Contractor and Subcontractor critical to ensuring construction projects run smoothly and are completed on time and to budget. It enhances already established practices by ensuring obligations and responsibilities are identified up front, thereby avoiding later disputes which can be costly in time and goodwill.



The document has three parts;



The Specific General Conditions, as with most standard form contracts, form the bulk of the document and contain the standard contract clauses which should not be changed. 

Any changes to these conditions, or additional conditions, can be detailed in the “Subcontract Specific Conditions” and take precedence over all other documents.

Using this basic format, The Subcontract Specific Conditions should contain all the information that parties need to refer to in assessing a job for pricing or prior to entering into a binding contract.

The Agreement is currently available in hard copy format and contains options to customise the agreement by ‘filling in the blanks’ of many items with numbers or free text in the Subcontract Specific Conditions. As well as the usual information, the Agreement provides for pre-letting meetings, a form for scheduling and recording pre-letting meeting and the subsequent minutes can be included in the Subcontract Specific Conditions.
The Subcontract Agreement is intended to be a best practice document and has been described as “a genuine cooperative effort by a previously divided industry, to articulate and encourage best practice through documentation and procedures that will clearly define contractual arrangements from the outset”.

Both organisations have commented they are committed to ensuring that the document continues to gain acceptance and use in the marketplace and that it remains the ‘go-to’ document for both contractors and subcontractors when they want certainty and fairness in their contractual relationships and it’s just $45 plus gst/

Each copy is only suitable for one contract but it’s cheap [$$$$$??????] in comparison with what one dispute or misunderstanding between a main contractor and sub-contractor can cost.


This Subcontract Agreement 2009 (SA 2009) is available from: 


Registered Master Builders Federation of NZ
PO Box 1796
Phone: (04) 385 8999


New Zealand Specialist Trade Contractors' Federation (NZSTCF)
PO Box 31067
Lower Hutt 5040
Phone:  0800 78 22 66