One Contract Document is Better Than Two: Integrating Your Construction Agreement with the General Terms and Conditions

Good legal writing is simply good writing. Construction contracts written in legalese confuse rather than clarify performance expectations. “Gotcha clauses” buried in a contract leads parties to distrust one another. ConsensusDocs standard construction agreements are written in clear and concise language. This helps the parties understand, administer, and interpret the contract. One distinguishing feature in ConsensusDocs is the integration of the general terms and conditions into the agreement. This allows parties to complete an agreement with one document instead of two, which has many benefits.

There are three main benefits with integrating your terms and conditions into the agreement:

  1. Avoids conflicts and ambiguities between two documents.
  2. Facilitates contract administration by avoiding toggling between two documents to find a contract provision as well an exception.
  3. Avoids referencing general terms and conditions document that is not actually provided at contract signing.

These advantages coupled with a plain-English drafting style are especially helpful to construction practitioners in the field that may not have been involved in contract drafting. Field personnel is on the front lines in administering and adhering to the contract documents.

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) publishes a separate document for its terms and conditions called AIA A201 General Conditions of the Contract for Construction the AIA A201 Terms and ConditionsTM – 2017. The AIA A201 is referenced in the owner/architect, owner/contractor, and contractor/subcontractor agreements. The AIA A201 is the most litigated contract document in the construction industry. AIA has taken this approach for more than 100 years.

In conclusion, concise contract drafting with a straightforward writing style facilitates greater understanding and better project outcomes. Integrating your terms and conditions into your agreement like ConsensusDocs employs provides advantages that should be considered for your next construction project.

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