Principles of Construction Contracts

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Principles of Construction Contracts

Construction Contract Training

Construction projects involve large capital sums, and strong commercial management is essential to success. The construction contract monitors, controls and administers the project and also defines the relationship between client, consultant and contractor.

Despite a common aim to “get finished on time and get value for money” many projects take longer than programmed and cost considerably more than the original budget.

It is therefore essential that all those involved have a clear commercial understanding of construction contracts, the law that underpins them and how they operate in practice.

This comprehensive 2 day course has been specifically developed to provide you with a high level of commercial and contractual understanding and the confidence to use it in practice.

It has three key themes that deliver the knowledge and ability for effective understanding and practical application of construction contracts:

  •  The law – General and contract
  • The contracts – including NEC, ICE, ACE
  • The reality – What happens in practice

The commercial management and delivery of projects is driven by the construction contract and this targeted course will improve your ability to deliver your construction projects effectively.

Day one explores the framework of general law and contract law, and considers the key ingredients of construction contracts, in particular formation, appointment, negligence, insurances and the tender process.

Day two targets the key contract elements that contribute most to effective and efficient administration and project delivery – powers of the parties, instructions and variations, delay (loss and expense), defects, payment and disputes.

The presentations are underpinned throughout by discussion, case study and considered opinion. The course is applicable across the construction sector, whether you work for client, consultant or contractor.

The tutor is a civil engineer with more than 25 years’ experience, including fifteen years as a geotechnical specialist. He has worked for client, consultant and contractor organisations as well as spending a significant period as an academic at a leading UK university undertaking research, teaching and consulting activities. He has founded one and contributed to the establishment of two further geotechnical practices and is currently a Commercial and Technical Director of a specialist geotechnical consultancy. He has significant practical experience in the application of construction contracts, has acted as an expert witness on several occasions, published technical articles and lectures to industry and academia on a regular basis.

This course has been specifically developed for:

• Graduate Engineers undertaking their initial professional development for the chartered professional review
• Civil, structural and building engineers, project mangers, quantity surveyors and construction professionals in the early stages of their professional development needing a broad introduction to the contractual approaches of the construction industry
• Those seeking knowledge and understanding of construction contracts, how they are formed and how to work with them.

At the end of the course the delegates should have:

• The Ability to undertake effective administration of construction contracts, whether working for client, contractor or consultant
• Knowledge of the key components of construction contracts.
• Knowledge of what constitutes good contract administration
• Knowledge of the tender process and its implementation
• Knowledge of consultancy appointments
• Knowledge of dispute avoidance
• An Appreciation of the English Legal system and the principles of contract law
• An Appreciation of Insurance, liabilities and warranties in the construction industry
• Awareness of the dispute resolution process


Session 1 

Course introduction
Session 2 

The English legal system
• Categories of law
• Common, Civil and Criminal Law, Tort

Session 3 

Law of Contract
• Contract law
• Offer, acceptance and termination
• Damages

Session 4 

Insurance & liabilities
• Contract and construction insurances
• Guarantees, bonds and warranties
• Professional indemnity insurance

Session 5 

Professional Negligence
• Duties and expectations of the construction professional
• Reasonable skill & care
• Fit for purpose

Session 6

Professional Services Contracts
• Limit of liability
• Consultancy appointments (contract forms)
• D&B appointments

Session 7 

Pre-qualification and Tender process
• Prequalification
• Tender documentation
• Appointing consultants and contractors
• Pricing

Session 8 

Standard Construction Contracts – The ingredients and  documents

• Contract documentation
• The need to get it right


Session 9

The obligations of parties and others
• The parties and others
• Duties & obligations
• Engineer / Architect / Project Manager
• Contract administrator

Session 10

Instructions and Variations
• Issuing, managing and responding
• Changes in scope or method
• Determining prices for changes

Session 11

Time and Programme
• Time for completion
• Role of the programme
• Extension of time
• Damages

Session 12

Defective Work
• Remedies for a defect
• Searching for a defect – who pays?

Session 13

• HGCRA – payments & The Scheme
• Applications and valuations
• Final accounts

Session 14

Disagreement and dispute
• The menu of options
• Negotiation/mediation/conciliation
• Adjudication / Arbitration / Litigation

Session 15 

Course review and close