CEMFCL-Construction Contract Law

Module Provider: School of Construction Management and Engineering
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2013/4

Module Convenor: Prof Will Hughes

Email: w.p.hughes@reading.ac.uk

Summary module description:
A framework is developed for understanding and interpreting contractual relationships in construction projects. Lessons from research and practice are used side-by-side to provide robust explanations and help to develop a deep understanding of the consequences of how construction contracts are drafted, chosen and managed.

The procurement of construction work takes place within specific legislative frameworks. Contracts result from agreements between businesses for all forms of consultancy and construction work, whether they are formally written or not. New developments in statutes, court cases and standard form contracting have a significant impact on the kinds of deals that take place in the construction industry. Also, new business processes promote new ways of working and collaborative business arrangements that require a deeper understanding of the way that business participants interact in the construction process. The construction industry is characterised by the way that each participant typically works for a different practice or firm, and they are all expected to work together, usually under the terms of business contracts (formal or informal) within the statutory framework that prevails. This module seeks to explain the statutory and contractual context of contracts in construction, in order that the students will be able to recognise and confront the kinds of problem that can get in the way of successful contract management.

Assessable learning outcomes:
Students will be able to make informed decisions about risk apportionment, procurement methods, contract strategies and dispute resolution strategy. In addition, students will be able to explain the legislative context of contracts, and the impact that innovations and current policy development are having on construction procurement policy.

Additional outcomes:
Students will be familiarized with legal approaches to construction contracting, and will understand the diverse influences on contract policy and procurement thinking.

Outline content:
• Principles of the law of contract and recent developments
• Relationship between procurement practice and contract law
• Developments in procurement policy
• Contract choice and procurement strategy
• Claims Management
• Tort law in the construction context
• Civil Liability for Building Defects
• Remedies for Breach of Contract
• Project Security: Insurance
• Bonds and Guarantees
• Arbitration and litigation
• Alternative dispute resolution

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
The module will be taught by lectures, tutorial discussions and seminars, some of which will involve specialist experts in aspects of construction law. The module is based on the textbook Murdoch, J and Hughes, W (2008) Construction contracts: law and management. 4ed. London: Taylor & Francis, ISBN 0-415-39369-8 (pbk).

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 24
Tutorials 6
Project Supervision 6
Guided independent study 64
Total hours by term 100.00
Total hours for module 100.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 100

Other information on summative assessment:
This module will be assessed by means of written assignments and on-line tests.

Formative assessment methods:
Self-administered multi-choice tests based on the core text-book for the module will be available for the students to check their own understanding of the main issues in this module.

Penalties for late submission:
Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy. Please refer to page 5 of the Postgraduate Guide to Assessment for further information: http://www.reading.ac.uk/internal/exams/student/exa-guidePG.aspx

Length of examination:

Requirements for a pass:
The students must obtain a mark of at least 40% in the assignments and an overall mark of 50% in the total of assignments plus on-line tests.

Reassessment arrangements:
Students who fail to obtain the minimum mark in any assignment, or 50% overall are required to re-sit the failed elements in August/September. Such students are, however, permitted to proceed to the dissertation phase of the programme.

Last updated: 22 August 2013

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