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Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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Can a main contractor deduct 5% retention from a sub-contractor

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We are working as a sub-contractor, in a JCT standard Building Contract (without quantities) 2011 edition. Can the main contractor legally deduct 5% retention from us if the retention provision within the main contract between the client/employer and the main contractor is only 3%?

Alex Watts : Hello my name is XXXXX XXXXX I will help you with this. Please note that I am a working Solicitor and may be on and offline as I have to attend Court and meet with clients, even at weekends. As such you may not get an instant response when you reply as this is not an ‘on demand’ live service, but rest assured I will be giving your question my immediate attention upon return. There is no need to wait here, you will get an email when I reply.
Alex Watts : Does the JCT contract allow for 5% please?
Customer: I believe the retention provision within the main contract is 3%
Alex Watts : Its bad news then I am afraid - if the contract you signed allows for 5% then this is what can be deducted.
Alex Watts : A contract is legally binding and contains all the terms and conditions both parties agree to be bound by when signing.
Alex Watts : If it allows for 5% then that is what you have to abide by.
Alex Watts : Whatever contract is governed by the contractor and client is purely a matter for them and nothing sadly to do with you.
Alex Watts : The contractor and client can agree whatever re
Alex Watts : Retetnion they wish.
Alex Watts : I am sorry if this is not the answer you want and it is certainly not the one I want to give you, but I have a duty to be honest.
Alex Watts : Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?

We only received an order letter stating the main contract terms and conditions a month after we commenced work on site, we have not signed any contract.


Does this mean we are able to reject the main contractors unfair retention clause as it was not mmade clear to us before starting work on site.

Alex Watts :

Yes. You are ONLY bound by terms and conditions (if any) were agreed (or signed) at the time of placing the Order. Any terms after the order was placed can not be binding.

Alex Watts :

Does this help?


Yes, thank you

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