IStructE Core Objective – 3.5 Contract Documentation
The contract documentation objective is one that might feel more difficult to write about convincingly in your final report, because chances are you don't spend a lot of time thinking about different forms of contracts on most days. However there is a good chance that the experience you have gained so far, even indirectly, will be nearly enough to meet this objective, and with a bit of reading around the subject and possibly attending a training course, this objective needn't cause any problems.
A training course on construction contracts is a good place to start with this objective, because it gives you something concrete to mention in your final report. You could also mention any contracts module you attended as part of your university degree course.
Next, go through all of the projects you have worked on and find out what form of contract they each used. You may find you have worked under a variety of different contract forms, which will be great for meeting this objective. You can then give examples of each form of contract you have worked under, and if possible give an example of what implications that had on the project.
For example, on a traditional JCT contract, the architect is likely to be the lead consultant, and a quantity surveyor will produce a bill of quantities for contractors to price against. You may have been involved in the tendering process for contractors, or attended contract meetings.
Another example is a design and build contract, where your firm may have been novated over to the contractor for the construction period after working for the overall client to produce tender information. On public sector work, you may have been involved in tendering for work or been appointed to a framework.
Other commonly used forms of contract in civil and structural engineering are FIDIC and NEC contracts. There are even handy NEC3 (NEC3 Dictionary) and NEC4 (NEC4 Dictionary) dictionaries to help navigate your way through their terminology.
You should not be asked in your Professional Review Interview about contracts you have not worked with, though some background reading is a good idea, and will allow you to speak more knowledgeably when asked about contracts in the interview. It is worth having a look at some of the contracts that your firm has signed for some of the projects you have worked on, to see what kind of things they say, and what kind of language they use.
- Contractual procedures in the construction industry – Ashworth, A.
- Construction planning, programming and control – Cooke, B. and Williams, P.
- Project management, planning and control. Managing engineering, construction and manufacturing projects to PMI, APM and BSI standards – Lester, A. (2017)
- Project management in construction – Walker, A.
- Project management in construction – Lock, D.