Last edited 09 Nov 2018

Main contract


In a contract there is reciprocity of undertaking passing between the promisor and the promisee. The rights and obligations are created by the acts of agreement between the parties to the contractual arrangement. In the procurement of construction, contracts can be:

A ‘main contract’ is that which is awarded by the client to the general contractor, or main contractor, whose bid wins the tender. The main contract is an agreement between the general contractor and the client whereby the former agrees to undertake the main construction works in the project as specified by the latter. The organisations that the main contractor may appoint to carry out specific aspects of the works may be described as ‘subcontractors’, 'subbies', or simply as 'suppliers'.

Main contractors are often appointed under a traditional contract to construct a development for which the design has already been completed by consultants appointed by the client. The works required are set out in detail in tender documents, for which the main contractor offers a fixed price, and if selected by the client, they carry out and completes the construction works.

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