Building & Construction Contracts

When considering a construction project’s success, the building contract is just as important as the plans, designs, materials and labour. It can be a very complicated and large document comprising of many sections and parts, so it is imperative that you correctly draw it up in a form that is as fair as possible for all parties involved.

If an involved party is considering signing a building or construction contract but is uncertain of whether or not it has been drafted and collated in a way that his or her rights are fairly protected, it is advisable to contact a building contract solicitor who can review the document and provide expert advice regarding the reasonability of the document.

Essentially, the building contract will contain a list of provisions that relate to:

  • The subject matter of the contract:
  • The building to be constructed,
  • Its location,
  • Its cost,
  • Time frame of construction,
  • Materials to be used,
  • The rights, liabilities, duties and responsibilities of each party:
    • Professional Standards to be used
    • Payment
    • Inspection
    • Rectification
    • Warranties
    • Indemnities
    • Other specific provisions relevant to the type of building being built.

A common problem area in building and construction contracts occurs when a party to the contract believes that a provision of the agreement was supposed to be incorporated, or that it was understood that a term of condition would be complied with, but the contract itself does not reflect this. The contract may contain what is known as an ‘entire agreement’ clause, which states that the contract is the whole contract and that no other representation (made before the contract was entered into or during the contract’s existence) is to be understood as part of the agreement or used to interpret the agreement. These ‘entire agreement’ clauses seek to provide clarity by excluding what is known as extrinsic evidence from the argument. At times, it may be possible to rely on extrinsic evidence, even in the face of an entire agreement clause. However, these matters must be determined on a case-by-case basis.

CM Lawyers’ building contract lawyers will be able to review all of the provisions of the building contract. They will determine whether the contract is fair, whether any provisions are unlawful, illegal or unreasonable, if there are any provisions missing that may safeguard the rights of the prospective owner of the building. They will also be able to generally advise you in relation to the negotiation process before the contract is executed and work commences. In addition to this, we are able to provide on-going services in relation to pre-contractual legal advice, the interpretation of contractual terms and conditions in light of recent law, contract negotiation with the builder, the administration of an executed contract which is on food, as well as the compliance with terms and any advice in relation to potential breaches of the building contract.

Contact CM Lawyers today to see how we can assist you in regards to contract litigation in your building or other construction matters.