Part 3: Legal Issues
Pages 44

There are a number of advantages to be gained from using standard forms of contract within the construction industry. Through continual use of these forms, members of the construction team become familiar with the format and content of the contract conditions and, as a consequence, have a better appreciation of their rights and obligations in relation to the administration of the associated construction project. The contract conditions of the standard forms are drafted by legal experts to ensure that the contract terms are clearly expressed and that they comply with current legislation and commercial practices. However, despite the use of these legal experts, there are occasions when disputes arise concerning the interpretation of certain words or phrases within the contract conditions, or there may be claims that certain terms are in confl ict with current legislation, but this should not necessarily be viewed as a disadvantage. It is by such disputes that standard forms of contract have continued to evolve over the years. Where disputes have been settled through litigation, a record of the legal arguments put forward by the various parties and, more importantly, of the court’s decision remains. As a result, an enormous volume of case law has developed over the years, which has helped to clarify how certain terms and conditions should be interpreted within the standard forms of contract. In certain instances, the court’s decision has led to the redrafting of the contract or to the introduction of new contract conditions. To demonstrate this process, the following sections identify a number of areas where legal disputes have played an important role in clarifying the administrative procedures within the Standard Building Contract with Quantities (SBC/Q). In some

instances, they have even resulted in the redrafting or introduction of new conditions within the contract.