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This subject is designed to develop and enhance students’ abilities to draft, analyse and administer construction contracts at an advanced level. It does this by reference to three themes.
The first theme is the common law approach to written contracts. This begins with the techniques that courts and arbitrators use to interpret express contractual terms. It extends to the processes that courts and arbitrators follow to determine whether a contract includes any implied terms. This knowledge is vital throughout the life of construction projects, from negotiations, to contract administration, to formal disputes. Students will explore the relevant law by close reference to leading cases from Australia and the common law world.
The second theme is good legal writing. The focus is plain language drafting and its principles of structure, simplicity and clarity. These principles apply to formal contractual drafting, but also to the drafting of contractual specifications and everyday correspondence. There will be opportunities for students to apply these principles.
The final theme is the rigorous study and comparison of standard form construction contracts, including a Standards Australia contract and a FIDIC contract. Students will be expected to take a critical approach to the drafting and risk allocation of each contract. The main areas of risk allocation considered will include:
- Performance security
- Latent conditions
- The superintendent
- Quality and defects
- Dispute resolution
Intended learning outcomes
A student who has successfully completed this subject will:
- Have an advanced understanding of the role and function of contracts used on construction projects
- Have enhanced their skills in analysing and drafting construction contracts
- Be able to reflect critically on the interaction between the technical, commercial and legal aspects of construction contracts
- Be able to investigate, examine and analyse existing and emerging legal issues relating to construction contracts.
Last updated: 6 September 2021