Why are construction contracts different from other contracts?

A construction contract is an agreement between two or more parties (normally the employer and the contractor) to execute construction work within the agreed time frame. Like any other contract, both the contractor and employer are obliged to comply with the conditions of the contract with regards to the details of construction project work, their specifications, time limits, payments, and penalties for delivery delays.

Construction contracts differ from other commercial contracts in that there are contractual mechanisms available to manage changes in time and cost as such occurrences arise. As such, construction contracts have the unique ability to manage such changes without entering into a new contract.


Construction contract project delivery arrangements

There are different project delivery and contracting methodologies, including, “Engineer, Procure and Construct” (EPC), “Engineer, Procure, Construct and Manage” (EPCM), “Design and Build” (D&B), “Design, Build, Operate” (DBO), “Build, Operate, Own” (BOO), “Build, Operate, Transfer” (BOT), “Build, Own, Operate, Transfer” (BOOT) and “Operation and Maintenance” (O&M).

Different role players in the construction industry

  • Employer– The entity that requires the construction work
  • Contractor– The entity that carries out the construction work
  • Arbitrator/Adjudicator- independent third party settles the disputes that arises between the parties
  • Subcontractor– Appointed by the contractor to perform parts of the construction work
  • Employer’s Representative- The party that acts on behalf of the employer, managing the construction works.

Standard Form Construction Contracts

There are various standard form construction contracts, including:

  • FIDIC, (First Edition, 1999) and the new Rainbow Suite of Contracts (FIDIC, 2017);
  • The General Conditions of Contract for Construction Works, Second Edition (GCC 2004, GCC 2010 & GCC 2015);
  • JBCC (JBCC 2000); and
  • NEC3 and NEC4 standard contracts.


Contract interpretation, drafting and negotiation

Construction contracts can be extremely complex to understand, this is where we step in.

We are well acquainted with construction specific jargon, standard form construction contracts as well as bespoke agreements. With our extensive industry experience in interpreting, drafting and negotiating such agreements we are effortlessly able to identify the pitfalls, challenges and project risks and assist in mitigating against such eventualities.



Chiba Attorneys is one of the few black women owned law firm specialising in construction law. With our in-depth understanding of the construction and engineering environment, we are fully equipped to draft, interpret and negotiate construction contracts.

We fully appreciate the importance of finalizing a project within budget, on time and with adherence to quality.