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Last edited 27 Aug 2020
Contract documents for construction
The contract documents set out the obligations and responsibilities of the parties to the contract. On a traditionally-procured, fully-designed construction project, the contract documents for suppliers such as the main contractor are likely to include:
- Article of agreement and conditions of contract, for completing as a simple contract (or as a deed).
- Working drawings.
- Bills of quantities.
- Schedules of work.
- Perhaps an information release schedule. Consultants can be reluctant to produce information release schedules because of concerns about being held to the dates on the schedule (even where the progress of construction does not require information when the information release schedule proposes it). Failure to keep to the dates set out in the information release schedule may then be a matter for which the contractor can claim an extension of time and loss and/or expense.
- A schedule of tender adjustments or clarifications negotiated and agreed after the receipt of tenders and prior to the signing of the contract.
- The requirement for the contractor to provide a performance bond and to obtain collateral warranties from any sub-contractors or suppliers.
Both client and contractor should engross the contract by witnessed signatures prior to commencement of work. In practice the administrative effort of collating all necessary paperwork can be overtaken by the desire to begin construction. In such circumstances it becomes harder to sort out any disputes as to the content. There have been cases where the courts have had to interpret an implied contract when the contract has remained unsigned.
- The articles of agreement and conditions of contract.
- The employer's requirements.
- The contractor's proposals.
- The contract sum analysis.
- Possibly bills of quantities (for some or all of the design).
- A model enabling amendment introducing a BIM protocol as part of the contract documents.
- A BIM protocol, which establishes specific obligations, liabilities and limitations on the use of building information models and can be used by clients to mandate particular working practices.
- Employer's information requirements, which define information that the employer wishes to procure to ensure that the design is developed in accordance with their needs and that they are able to operate the completed development effectively and efficiently. Suppliers respond to the employer's information requirements with a BIM execution plan.
Click here to see a diagram showing the relationship between contractual documents for BIM.
- The form of agreement.
- Conditions of contract.
- Contract data.
- Prices, activities schedules, bill of quantities.
- Works information.
- Site information.
A pre-contract meeting is likely to take place after the contractor has been appointed. This is an opportunity to for the project team to meet (perhaps for the first time) and to plan their activities. The minutes of the pre-contract meeting may form part of contract documents (for all procurement routes) subject to the agreement of both parties.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Articles of agreement.
- Association of Consultant Architects TAC-1 launch and BIM
- Bills of quantities.
- Construction contract.
- Contract conditions.
- Contract engrossment.
- Contract execution.
- Contract negotiation.
- Contract notice.
- Contractual documents.
- Contractors proposals.
- Contract sum analysis.
- Employers requirements.
- Form of tender.
- Information release schedule.
- Manual of Contract Documents for Highway Works.
- Named specialist work.
- Performance bond.
- Pre-contract meeting.
- Prescriptive specification.
- Procurement route.
- Schedules of work.
- Smart contracts.
- Supply contract.
- Tender documents.
- What should be included in a scope of work?
- Working drawing.
 External references
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