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ACE Agreements 2009 edition
and NEW 2017 editions

ACE Agreements are the industry-standard documents for the appointment of consultancy and engineering professionals.

The new ACE 2017 editions should be used on all new contracts.

The ACE 2009 edition contracts will continue to be available for the next six months to be used on existing contracts.

COVID-19 DISRUPTION

COVID-19 Is increasingly causing disruption to construction projects.

This guide from the ACE specifically applies to the
ACE Professional Services Agreement (2017)

This standard Agreement has been increasingly used since its publication three years ago. It clearly sets out the rights and obligations of the Client and the Consultant (including joint obligations). It is important to be mindful of these but equally important, should the performance of the services appear likely to be affected by restrictions arising from Government guidance on COVID-19, to discuss this with the client as early as possible.

Clause 4.1 of the PSA 2017 imposes an obligation on the Parties to collaborate in a spirit of mutual trust and mutual support in the interests or the timely, economic and successful completion of the Project. Clause 4.2 requires the Parties to give notice as soon as they become aware of any matter which is likely to affect the provision of the Services. This includes delay and additional costs irrespective of whether the matter is contended to give rise to any relief under the Agreement. The parties then have seven days to discuss or meet to consider actions or measures to deal with the matter in order to avoid or mitigate any delay or extra cost. Any agreement should be put in writing and, when signed, is binding.

Given the current situation in relation to COVID-19 is so uncertain it may well be prudent to ensure that any agreement retains the potential to revisit actions going forward. Clause 4.2(iv) states that where no agreement is reached under Clause 4.2(i) the Client should issue such instructions as appropriate. It is important to consider what impact these may have on the Consultants rights and obligations under the Agreement.

In relation to risk, Clause 5 requires the Consultant and the Client to work together to analyse and manage any risks which may arise during the delivery of the Services and the potential outcomes of these risks including any associated costs.

There is, additionally, under Clause 13.3, the ability for the Consultant to suspend the Services upon the occurrence of any circumstances beyond the control of the Consultant which prevents or significantly impedes the performance of the Services. This can be up to 26 weeks although not less than four weeks notice should be given for this.

The Agreement provides for appropriate reimbursement in such circumstances. In the current situation Government instructions, health and safety concerns or the closing of a construction site could all be events which could be considered as warranting suspension. So far as the four week notice period is concerned, given the unusual circumstances, this may well be a matter of discussion with the Client under Clause 4.

A new ACE Professional Services Agreement is now available. It is up to date with current and emerging industry practice and thinking and which includes new provisions encouraging early warning and collaboration in the management of risk. The Agreement and the new Schedules of Services are also designed to enable and facilitate the use of BIM where agreed.


These editions will attract a wide range of users given its emphasis on clear language. It is user friendly with the content re-ordered to provide a logical approach. There is a clarity of rights and responsibilities and a fair allocation of risk between the client and consultant. The ACE Professional Services Agreement is supported by guidance notes which are included.

The ACE Professional Services Agreement also provides for the inclusion of bespoke / supplementary Clauses if required for particular projects. If it is agreed that the consultant will provide any collateral warranties to third parties, the new edition comes with a suitable form of warranty that is aligned to and co-extensive with the ACE Professional Services Agreement; optional step-in provisions are available if appropriate.

The ACE Professional Services Agreement is designed for all types of prospective client including contractor or end user, and is suitable for all UK jurisdictions.

A new edition of the ACE Sub-Consultancy Agreement has been introduced which compliments the ACE Professional Services Agreement.

ACE is also introducing new Schedules of Services aligned to RIBA plan of Works 2013 and which contain new core and optional deliverables at each stage, and may fit well with any BIM protocol which is in use on the project. There are a range of optional services which may be agreed. New Schedules are now available for civil and structural design with options for lead or single/non-lead consultant roles.

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Jacket image, ACE Agreement 1: Design, ISBN 987907660009, which building contract ACE Agreement 1: Design
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ACE Agreement 2: Advisory, Investigatory and other Services, ISBN 9781907660016, which building contract ACE Agreement 2 Advisory, Investigatory and other Services
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Jacket image, ACE Agreement 3: Design and construct, ISBN 97819076600203, which building contract ACE Agreement 3: Design and construct
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Jacket image ACE Schedule of Services – Part G(a), ISBN 9781907660085, which building contract ACE Schedule of Services Part G(a)
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Jacket image ACE Schedule of Services – Part G(b), ISBN 9781907660092, which building contract ACE Schedule of Services Part G(b)
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Jacket image ACE Schedule of Services – Part G(c), ISBN 9781907660108, which building contract ACE Schedule of Services Part G(c)
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Jacket image ACE Schedule of Services – Part G(d), ISBN 9781907660115, which building contract ACE Schedule of Services Part G(d)
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Jacket image ACE Schedule of Services – Part G(f), ISBN 9781907660139, which building conrtact ACE Schedule of Services Part G(f)
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ACE Short Form Agreement 2015, ISBN 9781907660764, which building contract ACE Short Form Agreement 2015
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ACE Professional Services Agreement 2017, ISBN 9781910865170, which building contract ACE Professional Services Agreement 2017
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ACE Sub-Consultancy Agreement 2017, ISBN 9781910865187, which building contract bookshop ACE Sub-Consultancy Agreement 2017
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ACE Schedule of Services Civil and Structural Engineering Lead Consultant, ISBN 9781910865200, which building contract ACE Schedule of Services Civil and Structural Engineering Lead Consultant
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ACE Schedule of Services Mechanical, Electrical and Public Health Engineering Lead Consultant, ISBN 9781910865231, which building contract ACE Schedule of Services Mechanical, Electrical and Public Health Engineering Lead Consultant
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ACE Professional Services Consumer Agreement 2019, £37.20, ISBN 9781916406162, which building contract ACE Professional Services Consumer Agreement 2019
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ACE Professional Services Agreement Advisory, Investigatory and other Services: 2019 Edition, £37.20, ISBN 9781916406155, which building contract ACE Professional Services Agreement Advisory, Investigatory and other Services 2019
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