Construction Contract Agreement & Different Ways of Contracting
Construction Contract Agreement & Different Ways of Contracting

Construction Contract Agreement & Different Ways of Contracting

A construction contract agreement is an agreement between the owner and the contractor in the construction industry. It specifies the provisions and demonstrates which parties will participate in the construction project. There are several ways in which a prospective contractor can participate in a construction contract. Some examples are listed below:

Main contractor: The contractor himself or herself concludes a contract with an employer to build or construct something.

Joint venture: The contractor forms an agreement with one or more other contractors on an equal footing. They then jointly sign a contract to build/ construct all or a part of the project. It is important to note that in this case, each contractor in the joint venture is responsible to the employer for all obligations under the contract. In other words, as between the employer and the members of the joint venture, each member of the joint venture is responsible for the actions or breach of any other member.



Sub-contractor: The sub-contractor has an agreement with the main contractor to complete a part of the works, and will not have any contract with or obligations to, or rights against, the client. Sub-contractors will always have the same responsibilities and rights as the main contractor. But since sub-contractors contract with the main contractor, these responsibilities and rights will be exercised by and between the sub-contractor and the main contractor.

The sub-contractor does not have a contract with the employer, and in most instances does not have a relationship with them. In some instances, however, the client can take up this responsibility

When an employer wants to use a sub-contractor of their choice, the sub-contractor is referred to as a “nominated sub-contractor” and in certain instances; the client will take up risk due to its nomination

Construction Contract Arrangements

These can be created by standard form contracts or catered for/ created on a bespoke basis. The most commonly used arrangements are as follows:

Pure construction contract: This is a form of contract where the contractor is responsible for the construction of the works as per the design and specifications. With this type of contract, the contractor bears the lowest risk. The price is often measurable, based on a bill of quantities (a document detailing specific prices for services and goods the contractor will provide) since the design is not usually complete and fully available at the point that construction work is to commence.



Design-build: This is a form of contract where the contractor is responsible for both the design and construction works. Due to this fact the contractor bears more risk when compared to a pure construction contract (including ensuring that the work is fit for its intended purpose). Therefore, this is a moderately priced arrangement; usually a fixed lump sum price is required for doing both design and construction, but appropriate adjustments to the price are provided for events outside of the contractor’s responsibility

Engineer, procure and construct: This is a form of contract where the contractor is responsible for engineering, procurement/ sourcing of materials and construction works (including ensuring that the work is fit for its stated purpose). The contractor bears the majority of the risk and the client will regard him or her as the single point of responsibility for the whole project. This is, therefore, the most expensive type of arrangement. The contractor is usually required to provide a lump sum price, with fewer entitlements to adjustments than under any other arrangement, and must therefore appropriately price in the risk.

This blog post “Construction Contract Agreement & Ways of Contracting” is created by our guest blogger “Ali Osama, Senior Planning Engineer”. We would like to express our thanks to him for his contributions.

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