Legal & Commercial Support

Look no further for legal support. As a BESA member you have access to our in house team of experts at no extra cost.

£758k Legal fees saved by members
£390k saved on contract reviews
2,500 hours of free legal support
700 Member queries resolved

Any business that has faced a legal issue in the past knows how expensive legal support can be, our legal and commercial team are here to help support our members by offering expert advice without the premium hourly price tag.

The BESA Legal and Commercial Team can assist you with bespoke advice, guidance and practical support on a broad range of commercial, legal, contractual and payment issues, adding real value to your membership.

BESA members also have access to a wide range of contractual precedents, templates, guidance documents within the BESA Members’ Area, designed to specifically de-risk a BESA member business model regardless of size or specialism- all at no extra cost.



It is crucial that employers understand and manage the wide range of regulatory requirements and obligations they must comply with.

Being an employer does not simply mean running a business, it also includes a range of legal regulations, duties and obligations you must comply with and follow.

Remaining compliant is essential. If you do not adhere to Government enforced legislation then you will face fines and criminal proceedings, putting your company at unnecessary risk.


Compliance issues employers must be aware of include:


Our legal and commercial team offer advice, support and guidance on how companies should comply with the Bribery Act including information on the principles for bribery prevention, what are classed as offences and how to remain compliant.

If you do not have the correct plans and procedures in place to conform with the Bribery Act the penalties can be severe ranging from up to 10 years imprisonment, unlimited fines and companies could even be debarred from tendering for public contracts. 

As a BESA member you have access to advice and guidance including checklists, templates and questionnaires to help you remain compliant.


The Freedom of Information Act created a public ‘right of access’ to information held by public authorities.

In effect, this means that the public (including companies) have the right to information relating to the activities carried out by public authorities, publicly owned companies and designated bodies performing public functions.

Our team can help you in preparing requests for information to send to public bodies. We will guide you through the process and prepare the necessary documentation alongside you, as well as analyse any information provided in the responses.


The Modern Slavery Act outlines two main offences concerning holding another person in slavery, servitude or forced labour and arranging or facilitating the travel of another person with a view to that person being exploited. 

Although you may not think that the Modern Slavey Act has relevance to your business, if your turnover exceeds £36 million the so-called Transparency in supply chains (TiSC) provisions require commercial organisations to prepare a slavery and human trafficking statement for each financial year. 

Organisations must report on the steps, or absence of steps, taken to ensure there is no slavery or human trafficking offences taking place in their business or in any of their supply chains to a certain extent.

BESA members have access to our Modern Slavery Guide which explains everything you need to know to stay compliant.


From April 2017 large businesses in the UK are required to report on their payment practices, policies and performances under the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015. 

The reporting duty will be mandatory for companies with an annual turnover of more than £36 million, balance sheet total more than £18 million and more than 250 employees. 

BESA members have access to our guidance on reporting payment performance.  

Contract Management 

Contracts can be a minefield. Ensuring your company's contracts are managed efficiently can save your business not just time, but money too

Although standard, unamended contracts are broadly acceptable without further amendment, they are rarely left unamended - we would always recommend that you should review your contracts carefully to ensure they have not been tampered with.  The BESA legal team offer guidance on the issues you should consider when reviewing your contracts. 

The BESA Legal team offer guidance on the issues you should consider when reviewing your contracts. Login to the legal and commercial section of the BESA Members’ Area to take advantage of our suite of contractual precedents, templates, guidance documents - these documents are not only free but specially designed to de-risk a BESA member business model regardless of their size or specialism.

Eliminate Risk with our free credit check facility 

Credit checking can be expensive, so most companies will only carry out checks on larger customers, where they stand to lose far more if payment isn’t forthcoming. As a BESA member there is no limit to the number of reports that you can request.

Each report will give you a detailed financial picture of a customer before you decide to work with them, helping to eliminate any risk.

Our guidance covers:


BESA members have access to a handy pre-contracts checklist so you can ensure you don't make any costly errors. 


Contractual pitfalls often include tedious clauses in construction agreements causing confusion over their practical effect.

The legal and commercial team can help you to understand all the contractual jargon and also suggest alternative wording to reduce the risks and liability you might be exposed to. 


The concept of “practical completion” is a frequent source of dispute on construction projects.

Parties often disagree about what the term “practical completion” means and whether or not practical completion has been achieved.

BESA members have access to our practical completion guide which explains what practical completion means and why it matters. 


Conditions of Sub-Sub-Contract

Standard form of Labour-Only Sub-Contract and guidance notes

Conditions of Trading

Supply-Only Contract

Maintenance Agreement

Consumer Contract


JCT and NEC letters for

Response to Instruction(s) form

Tender Acceptance

Response to Tender


Mediation, which is underpinned by the Court Rules requiring attempts to resolve disputes before court action, is an effective form of dispute resolution that you can utilise to help resolve disputes quickly, privately and cost-effectively - without the need to go to court.

The process involves an independent third party, who will work with the parties to facilitate a mutually acceptable resolution to the dispute. Mediation is private and confidential, it involves a one day process whereby parties reach a voluntary settlement facilitated by the Mediator as a far quicker and cheaper alternative to court or adjudication


Debts & Disputes

Debts, disputes and payment issues can cause a real impact on your business' cash flow meaning the right advice and guidance can be essential.

Especially in this economic climate getting paid in full and on time is critical. Unwanted pressure can arise when payments are not made or they are delayed which in turn impacts on your cash flow.

All businesses incur debts. Problems occur when the debts fail to be paid or collected - suddenly, there is a break in the credit control; a gap in the cash flow. 


Businesses always have the option of pursuing debts through the Courts using the litigation process, however, there are also a number of alternative dispute resolution options available.  

The three main options for dispute resolution in the construction sector are:

Mediation - often the cheapest method as it can bring about a compromise agreement on the day.

Adjudication - the primary method of dispute resolution within the construction industry due to cost efficiency and speedy nature of the process. You now have the right to refer a dispute to adjudication at any point, even after you have finished your works.

Arbitration - only suitable for disputes of over £50,000

 As a BESA member you can download our handy debts and disputes overview which explains the alternative dispute resolution options.


Litigation is the process you enter into when you sue someone. 

As a BESA member you have access to the legal and commercial teams' expertise - they will look at your case and advise on the best method of dispute resolution helping to achieve the best result for your individual circumstances.  


Insolvency proceedings are when you 'threaten' a Debtor with bankruptcy or 'winding-up' proceedings. 

If your debt is over £750 a statutory demand is the legal document used to do this.

As a BESA member you have the support of the legal and commercial team who support you by writing your statutory demand.  

Business Protection

As a business owner, protecting and de-risking your business from threats is essential and having plans and processes in place along with a support network is key.

Our legal experts have developed a range of advice and guidance documents designed to give members a commercial infrastructure which de-risks their business and protect it from insolvency and enable management of your cash flow as effectively as possible.

Login to the BESA members' area to read our series of guidance and support on:

- Collateral Warranties

- Trading with a consumer - what legal rights a consumer has and what you need to know when trading

- Performance Bonds

- Parent Company Guarantees - for contractors, sub-contractors and employers

- Personal Guarantees

- Project Bank Accounts

- Pheonix Companies


Helping you to understand the relevant payment legislations in our sector.
The payment mechanism for Construction Contracts is governed by the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996 (also known as the Construction act) - keeping up-to-date with the relevant legislation ensures your business stays compliant with the payment processes in the construction industry.

The Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act HGRA, commonly known as the Construction Act, aims to ensure that payments are made promptly throughout the supply chain and that disputes are resolved swiftly.

BESA members have access to a suite of precedent notices and letters together with detailed guidance on the Construction Act.


From April 2017 large businesses in the UK are required to report on their payment practices, policies and performances under the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015. 

The reporting duty will be mandatory for companies with an annual turnover of more than £36 million, balance sheet total more than £18 million and more than 250 employees. This allows suppliers of those companies reporting to assess their clients’ trading risk based on their payment performance. 

BESA members have access to our guidance on reporting payment performance


Project Bank Accounts (PBAs) are a cash disbursement model that allows money to be ring-fenced in bank accounts from which payments are made directly to suppliers.

This reduces the risk of contractor insolvency and the consequent disruption to projects. It also cuts out much of the additional cost of risk pricing and debt management associated with having multiple layers of payment within the contractual chain.

BESA are lobbying for PBAs to be the preferred method for improving payment conditions in the UK.   

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The BESA Legal and Commercial team are experts in issues which can be used as commercial leverage and tactics that can be employed in order to maximise your ability to recover monies you may be owed or to reduce your exposure to bad debt. We can advise on when and which method of debt recovery or dispute resolution is best for your situation and business model.