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Construction Contract Basics

Kevin D. Waddell, P.E.

Course Outline

1. Learning objectives
2. Course Introduction
3. Course Content and Appendix
4. Course Summary
5. Related Links
6. References

This course includes a multiple-choice quiz at the end, which is designed to enhance the understanding of the course materials.

Learning Objective

The litigious and change order driven mindset present in the construction market necessitates an understanding of contract documents. This course will provide the student an understanding of the content that comprises a good construction contract. A brief discussion of the standard components of a construction contract and a test of the student's aptitude is included herein.

Course Introduction

An engineer, architect, or other young professional cannot be a good construction manager without comprehending the documents that are organized to create a construction contract. The construction contract is often misinterpreted, misused or blatantly ignored. Contract documents are project specific and can vary significantly for differing projects. Achieving even a basic understanding of the content, organization, and legal power of the contract will allow an inexperienced professional to administer the contract more effectively.

Course Content

The Course Content and Appendix are in a PDF file Construction Contract Basics. You need to open or download this document to study this course.

Course Summary

Becoming a successful Engineer or Architect does not correlate with an ability to apply equations or remember textbook problems. All the work that is afforded design projects of any type is simply a means to an end. That end is the realization of a designer's vision through the construction of the project. Design professionals must learn to describe the legal and technical aspects of a project with Contract Documents. More importantly, the designer must strive to understand the effects of the written documents and what role those documents have in any given construction project. Take time to read through various types of Contract Documents and ask legal counsel or a seasoned design professional for interpretations or opinions. Once you understand the role and importance of Contract Documents the better you will become at preparing them.

Related Links

For additional technical informaion related to this subject, please visit the following websites or web pages: - Engineers' Joint Contract Documents Committee - Construction Specifications Institute - American Institute of Architects - National Society of Professional Engineers - Associated General Contractors of America - American Council of Engineering Companies - American Society of Professional Engineers


Standard General Conditions of the Construction Contract; Engineers' Joint Contract Documents Committee; No. 1910-8 (1983 Edition)


Once you finish studying the above course content, you need to take a quiz to obtain the PDH credits.

DISCLAIMER: The materials contained in the online course are not intended as a representation or warranty on the part of PDH Center or any other person/organization named herein. The materials are for general information only. They are not a substitute for competent professional advice. Application of this information to a specific project should be reviewed by a registered architect and/or professional engineer/surveyor. Anyone making use of the information set forth herein does so at their own risk and assumes any and all resulting liability arising therefrom.