- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 09 Nov 2018
The classic 19th-century definition of a contract is 'a promise or set of promises which the law will enforce' (ref. Pollock, Principles of Contract 13th edition). That is, there is reciprocity of undertaking passing between the promisor and the promisee.
 Standard forms of contract in common use for construction in the UK
- DB: Design and build contract.
- CE: Constructing Excellence contract.
- CM: Construction management contract.
- IFC: Intermediate form of building contract.
- MC: Management building contract.
- MTC: Measured term contract.
- MW: Agreement for minor work.
- PCC: Prime cost building contract.
- MP: Major project construction contract.
- RM: Repair and maintenance contract (commercial).
- SBC: Standard Building Contract.
- Form of building agreement.
- PPC: Standard form of contract for project partnering.
- SPC: Standard form of specialist contract for project partnering.
- Conditions of Contract for Construction. The Red Book.
- Conditions of Contract for Plant & Design-Build. The Yellow Book.
- Conditions of Contract for EPC Turnkey Projects. The Silver Book.
- The Short Form of Contract. The Green Book.
 NEC (The New Engineering Contract): Engineering and Construction Contract)
- Option A: Priced contract with activity schedule.
- Option B: Priced contract with bill of quantities.
- Option C: Target contract with activity schedule.
- Option D: Target contract with bill of quantities.
- Option E: Cost reimbursable contract.
- Option F: Management contract.
- Option G: Term contract.
For more information, see NEC3.
Other less commonly used forms of contract include:
- The GC Works suite of standard government conditions of contract are no longer being updated by the government who are now moving to the New Engineering Contracts, now in their third edition NEC3. See GC Works for more information.
- IChemE (The Institution of Chemical Engineers) forms of contract.
- ICC Infrastructure Conditions of Contract. A relaunch of CoC (see below)
- The ICE Conditions of Contract (CoC) (previously maintained by the Institution of Civil Engineers) have been withdrawn in favour of NEC contracts. See ICE Conditions of Contract for more information.
- IMechE/IET (The Institution of Mechanical Engineers / The Institution of Engineering Technology) Model Forms of General Conditions of Contract for electrical works (MF/1-4).
- The Civil Engineering Contractors' Association (CECA) subcontracts for the ICC (above).
See: Contract conditions for more information.
 Building information modelling (BIM)
The adoption of building information modelling (BIM) on a project requires the definition of specific obligations and liabilities, and limitations must be placed on the agreed use of the model. This is generally achieved by adopting a BIM protocol. BIM protocols can be incorporated into contract documents by the addition of a model enabling amendment such as that proposed in the CIC BIM protocol.
 Modified standard forms of contract
24% of respondents to the National Construction Contracts and Law Survey 2012 indicated that they use purpose-written bespoke contracts. Not only is this considered inadvisable because of the risk that bespoke contracts may not adequately or fairly make provision for all circumstances, and that they are not supported by a history of case law, but it is also a poor reflection of how inflexible and ineffective the industry perceives many of the standard forms of contract to be.
For more information, see Bespoke construction contract.
NB: The first stage appointment of a two-stage procurement process might be made using a separate pre-construction services agreement (PCA or PCSA), sometimes called early works agreements, rather than under the provisions of the main, second-stage contract.
- Traditional contract: tender.
- Design and build: tender.
- Public project: tender.
- Public project: PFI tender.
- Construction management: tender.
- Management contract: tender.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Design and build procurement route
- Construction contract conditions
- Standard form of contract
- Contract documents for construction
- Tender documentation for construction projects
- Procurement route
- NEC Option A: Priced contract with activity schedule
- JCT Construction management contract
- Traditional contract: tender
- Construction contractor
- Intermediate building contract
- Minor works
- PPC 2000
- Management contractor
- Lump sum contract
- Bespoke construction contract
- Traditional contract for construction
- Constructing Excellence contract
- Modifying clauses in standard forms of construction contract
- Variations in construction contracts
- Typical tender process for construction projects
 External references
- The London Government Taskforce: A Guide to standard forms of construction contract, outlining key characteristics and components.
- The International Bar Association: Standard forms: contract conditions.
- PACE: Guide to the appointment of consultants and contractors P96.
- OGC: Partnering contract review.
- The Joint Contracts Tribunal.
- JCT: Deciding on the appropriate JCT contract. 2011
- nbs: National Construction Contracts and Law Survey 2012.
- Pollock, Principles of Contract (13th Edition).
- Winward Fearon on Collateral Warranties, David L Cornes and Richard Winward. 2002.
Featured articles and news
When is there a right to light, and what happens if it is obstructed?
What would the nationalisation of economic infrastructure mean for GB?
A new guide to improving value by reducing design error.
We've reached 80,000 page views a day and 10,000 registered users. Why not join them?
A masterplan is a framework within which a location is encouraged to develop or change. Read our introductory article.
New consultation announced on a specialist Housing Court to settle landlord-tenant disputes.
ICE responds to a transport consultation advising the government to make decisions enabling more inclusive cities.
BRE and Loughborough University complete first phase refurbishment of demonstration home.
How the risk of collapse of fibrous plaster ceilings is being addressed in theatres.
If you’re a great writer and have practical experience of the construction industry, it could be you.
Frustrated by long documents or technical jargon? Put off by sign-up forms or costs? Take this 5 min survey to help improve construction knowledge.