How many times has a subcontract arrived that says something like ‘the main contract is available upon request’ or ‘the subcontractor is deemed to have read the main contract’ And then goes onto employ cover all back to back clauses with the main contract.

Do you request the main contract or raise the point that you haven’t had sight of the main contract?

Aside from the fact that cover all back to back clauses should be avoided, if you sign the contract with these types of statements without actually knowing what’s in the main contract how can you know what risks you are signing up to.

If you don’t know your contractual risks how can you plan to mitigate & how can you ensure that your bid is priced to cover. If a main contract clause is to apply, fine, but have it specifically written in or referenced; cover all clauses are lazy & should be avoided.

The contractual risk of complying with the main contract should lie with the main contractor not delegated down his supply chain.

Knowing there are risks but accepting them in the hope that this won’t turn out to be a problem contract isn’t an adequate risk mitigation measure – it only takes one problem project to cause significant damage to cashflow & profits.

Always read before your sign!