Construction Contract Agreement

Construction Contract Agreement Template

Use our Construction Contract to specify work to be done by a contractor for a property owner.

A Construction Contract Agreement is a contract between a client and a contractor that specifies the details of a construction project.

The details in a construction agreement should include all aspects of the project, including payment, the type of work being done, the legal rights of the contractor, and more.

For some construction projects, you may need government permits in addition to the building contract before contractors can begin working.

Table of Contents

What is a Construction Agreement?

A Construction Agreement, also known as a Construction Contract or Building Contract, is a legally binding document that outlines the terms and conditions for a construction project. It serves as a formal agreement between a property owner or client (often referred to as the "owner") and a construction contractor or builder. The primary purpose of a Construction Agreement is to specify the roles, responsibilities, rights, and obligations of both parties involved in the construction project. Here are key elements typically included in a Construction Agreement:

  1. Parties: The agreement identifies the parties involved, including the owner and the contractor. Their full legal names and contact information are specified.
  1. Project Description: A detailed description of the construction project is provided. This includes the scope of work, specifications, materials to be used, and any relevant plans or drawings. The project's location is typically included as well.
  1. Project Timeline: The agreement outlines the project's schedule, including the start date and the estimated completion date. Milestones and deadlines for various project phases may also be included.
  1. Payment Terms: This section details the payment structure for the project. It includes the total contract price, payment schedule (e.g., progress payments or installments), and any provisions for retainage or withholding funds until satisfactory completion.
  1. Change Orders: Procedures for handling changes to the original scope of work are defined. This includes how changes are initiated, approved, and compensated.
  1. Insurance and Liability: The responsibilities and requirements for insurance coverage, including liability insurance and workers' compensation, are specified. The parties' obligations regarding indemnification and liability for accidents or damages are addressed.
  1. Permits and Approvals: The agreement may stipulate which party is responsible for obtaining necessary permits, approvals, and inspections required for the project.
  1. Warranties: The warranties provided by the contractor for workmanship, materials, and equipment are outlined. The duration and terms of these warranties are typically included.
  1. Termination and Default: Procedures for terminating the contract or addressing defaults by either party are established. Grounds for termination and dispute resolution mechanisms are often included.
  1. Subcontractors: If subcontractors will be used, the agreement may address the hiring and management of subcontractors and specify that they are bound by the terms of the Construction Agreement.
  1. Dispute Resolution: The methods for resolving disputes between the parties, such as mediation, arbitration, or litigation, are outlined. This section may also identify the applicable jurisdiction for legal proceedings.
  1. Safety and Compliance: Provisions related to job site safety, compliance with applicable laws and regulations, and adherence to industry standards are included.
  1. Final Inspection and Acceptance: The process for the owner to inspect and accept the completed work is detailed, including any punch list items that must be addressed before final payment.
  1. Force Majeure: Circumstances beyond the parties' control, such as natural disasters or acts of God, are addressed to determine how delays or interruptions will be handled.
  1. Confidentiality: If necessary, provisions for maintaining the confidentiality of certain project-related information may be included.
  1. Signatures: The agreement is signed and dated by both parties, signifying their acceptance and agreement to the terms.

Construction Agreements are crucial documents in construction projects of all sizes, as they help prevent misunderstandings, disputes, and delays by clearly defining the rights and responsibilities of the parties involved. Both parties should have legal counsel review the agreement before signing it to ensure that it aligns with their interests and legal requirements.

When Do You Need a Construction Contract?

A Construction Contract is essential for virtually all construction projects, regardless of their size or complexity. Having a formal, written agreement in place is crucial to protect the interests of both the property owner (client) and the construction contractor (builder). Here are common situations in which you need a Construction Contract:

  1. New Construction: When you are building a new structure, whether it's a residential home, commercial building, industrial facility, or any other type of construction project, a contract is necessary. It outlines the scope of work, project timeline, costs, and responsibilities.
  1. Home Renovation or Remodeling: If you are renovating or remodeling your home or property, a contract ensures that both you and the contractor are on the same page regarding the work to be done, the materials to be used, and the project's cost.
  1. Commercial Construction: For commercial building projects such as office buildings, retail spaces, warehouses, or restaurants, a Construction Contract is crucial to define the terms of the project, including specifications, timelines, and costs.
  1. Residential Construction: Whether you're hiring a contractor to build a single-family home, duplex, or multi-unit residential property, a contract protects your investment and outlines the responsibilities of both parties.
  1. Home Improvement Projects: Even for smaller home improvement projects, such as adding a deck, installing a new roof, or remodeling a bathroom, a written agreement helps prevent misunderstandings and ensures that the work is completed as expected.
  1. Construction of Infrastructure: Projects involving the construction of infrastructure, such as roads, bridges, utilities, or municipal facilities, require comprehensive contracts to address the complexity of the work.
  1. Custom Construction: When you're commissioning a custom-built structure or project, it's especially important to have a detailed contract that reflects your unique requirements and specifications.
  1. Government or Public Contracts: Public projects often require adherence to specific procurement and contracting regulations. A Construction Contract is necessary to comply with these requirements and establish the terms of the project.
  1. Property Development: Real estate developers entering into agreements with contractors to develop land or construct multiple properties should have well-structured contracts to protect their investments.
  1. Renewable Energy Projects: Projects involving the construction of renewable energy facilities, such as solar farms or wind turbines, require comprehensive contracts to address the technical and financial aspects of the project.
  1. Commercial Fit-Outs: For projects involving the interior customization of commercial spaces to meet specific business needs, a contract is essential to outline design specifications, construction, and costs.
  1. Historical Restoration: Restoration or preservation projects involving historical properties require contracts that address the unique challenges and requirements associated with historic structures.
  1. Tenant Improvements: Landlords and tenants may enter into Construction Contracts for tenant improvements to commercial or industrial spaces.

In all these scenarios, a well-drafted Construction Contract helps mitigate risks, prevents disputes, ensures that work is completed to agreed-upon standards, and provides a legal framework for addressing changes, delays, and unforeseen circumstances. Both parties should seek legal counsel to review and negotiate the contract terms to protect their respective interests.

Consequences of Not Using a Construction Contract

Consider a scenario in which your contractor and his crew abruptly stopped working and demanded excessive payment for supplies and labor that were not initially agreed upon. Or, after the job is finished, the owner, your customer, decides not to pay you.

In either case, you should have a written contract to safeguard your rights. Without a contract, you run the danger of losing time, money, and the caliber of the build.

Some of these problems could be avoided and settled with the aid of a straightforward construction contract agreement:

Owner Contractor
Commencement and completion delays Payment delays
Imbalanced risk allocation Imbalanced risk allocation
Poor performance Additional labor costs
Unsatisfactory or wrong work Additional material costs
Work changes Work changes
Loss of use of home Lost profits
Early termination Early termination

Here are some of the potential consequences of not using a Construction Contract:

  1. Unclear Expectations: Without a contract, there may be ambiguity about the scope of work, project specifications, materials to be used, and project timelines. This can lead to misunderstandings between the client and the contractor.
  1. Scope Creep: In the absence of a clear contract, clients may request changes or additional work that was not initially agreed upon. Contractors may be unsure whether these changes are billable, leading to disputes over scope and costs.
  1. No Legal Protections: A Construction Contract provides legal protections for both parties. Without one, there may be no clear legal recourse in case of disputes, delays, substandard work, or non-payment.
  1. Disputes and Litigation: Disagreements and disputes are more likely to arise when there is no written agreement in place. This can lead to costly legal battles, where both parties may incur legal fees and damages.
  1. Financial Risks: Without a contract, the terms of payment may be unclear, leading to delayed or disputed payments. Contractors may struggle to collect payments for completed work, and clients may be at risk of overpaying or not receiving the expected work.
  1. Quality Control: A Construction Contract typically outlines the quality standards and specifications for the project. Without such provisions, there may be a lack of accountability for the quality of work performed.
  1. Lack of Deadlines: The absence of a contract can lead to delays and uncertainty about project timelines. Without agreed-upon deadlines, projects may drag on indefinitely.
  1. Inadequate Legal Protections: Contracts often include provisions for insurance, warranties, indemnification, and dispute resolution. Without these protections, parties may be exposed to greater legal and financial risks.
  1. Loss of Legal Rights: Some legal rights, such as lien rights, may be forfeited without a formal contract. Contractors may lose their ability to file mechanic's liens to secure unpaid bills.
  1. Regulatory Compliance: In some cases, contracts are required to comply with local building codes, zoning regulations, or other legal requirements. Failure to use a contract can lead to non-compliance and legal penalties.
  1. Unresolved Change Orders: Change orders, which are common in construction projects, may lead to disputes and delays without clear documentation and agreement on how changes are managed.
  1. No Project Records: Contracts often require the maintenance of project records, including invoices, receipts, plans, and communications. Without a contract, these records may not be well-maintained, making it challenging to resolve disputes or address issues.
  1. Difficulty in Proving Agreements: In the absence of a written contract, it can be challenging for either party to prove the terms of the agreement or the existence of any oral agreements made during the project.
  1. Loss of Protections for Intellectual Property: Contractors may lose rights to their intellectual property, including designs and plans, if there is no written agreement specifying ownership and usage rights.

Additional points to include in the Construction Contract Agreement

A comprehensive Construction Contract should address various aspects of the construction project to protect the interests of both the property owner (client) and the construction contractor (builder). In addition to the fundamental elements, here are some additional points and clauses you may consider including in your Construction Contract Agreement:

  1. Detailed Project Description: Provide a more detailed and specific description of the project, including architectural or engineering plans, drawings, and specifications, to leave no room for ambiguity.
  1. Project Phases and Milestones: Outline specific project phases, milestones, and deliverables, including completion dates for each phase.
  1. Permitting and Approvals: Specify which party is responsible for obtaining necessary permits, licenses, and approvals, and include provisions for handling delays or issues related to permitting.
  1. Payment Terms:
    • Include a payment schedule with clear due dates and payment methods for progress payments.
    • Define retainage and the conditions under which retainage will be released.
    • Detail the process for handling disputed invoices or change orders.
  1. Performance and Payment Bonds: Specify whether the contractor is required to provide performance and payment bonds and the terms of these bonds if they are required.
  1. Liquidated Damages: Include provisions for liquidated damages in case of project delays, specifying the daily or weekly rate and the conditions under which they apply.
  1. Financial Protections:
    • Address how disputes over payments, change orders, or additional costs will be resolved, such as through mediation or arbitration.
    • Include provisions for interest on late payments.
  1. Quality Standards:
    • Define the quality standards and specifications for materials and workmanship.
    • Address testing, inspection, and quality control processes during construction.
  1. Safety Measures and Responsibilities:
    • Specify safety protocols, responsibilities, and compliance with occupational safety and health regulations.
    • Outline procedures for reporting and addressing accidents or safety violations.
  1. Site Access and Utilities:
    • Define how the contractor will access the work site and coordinate with utilities.
    • Include provisions for temporary facilities (e.g., construction trailers) if needed.
  1. Change Orders:
    • Detail the process for initiating, approving, and documenting changes to the scope of work.
    • Specify how changes will affect the project schedule and budget.
  1. Subcontractors and Suppliers:
    • Address the use of subcontractors and suppliers and outline the contractor's responsibilities for their performance.
    • Specify requirements for subcontractor and supplier agreements.
  1. Dispute Resolution:
    • Specify the dispute resolution mechanisms, such as mediation, arbitration, or litigation, and the applicable jurisdiction.
    • Designate a dispute resolution process for specific issues, including change order disputes.
  1. Insurance and Liability:
    • Outline insurance requirements, including coverage types and minimum limits.
    • Address indemnification clauses and the allocation of liability between parties.
  1. Force Majeure:
    • Include a force majeure clause that addresses unforeseen events beyond the control of either party and their impact on project timelines and responsibilities.
  1. Warranties:
    • Specify the warranties provided by the contractor for workmanship, materials, and equipment.
    • Define the duration of these warranties.
  1. Termination:
    • Establish grounds for contract termination by either party and the process for doing so.
    • Address the obligations upon termination, including payment for work completed.
  1. Environmental Compliance:
    • Include provisions for compliance with environmental regulations and any necessary permits.
    • Outline procedures for handling hazardous materials and waste disposal.
  1. Final Inspection and Acceptance:
    • Detail the process for the owner to inspect and accept the completed work.
    • Specify any punch list items that must be addressed before final payment.
  1. Intellectual Property Rights:
    • Address the ownership and usage rights of intellectual property, including designs, plans, and drawings.
    • Specify any licensing agreements for intellectual property.
  1. Records and Documentation:
    • Require the maintenance and retention of project records, including invoices, receipts, plans, and communication logs.
    • Outline document retention periods.
  1. Notices: Provide instructions for delivering legal notices under the contract, including contact information for both parties.
  1. Insurance Certificates: Specify that the contractor must provide evidence of insurance coverage, such as certificates of insurance, before commencing work.
  1. Survival Clause: State that certain clauses, such as warranties and indemnities, continue to apply even after project completion.
  1. Alternative Dispute Resolution Costs: Clarify how the costs of alternative dispute resolution processes, such as mediation or arbitration, will be shared between the parties.
  1. Integration Clause: Include a clause stating that the contract represents the entire agreement between the parties and supersedes all prior agreements and understandings.
  1. Modifications and Amendments: Specify that any modifications or amendments to the contract must be made in writing and signed by both parties.
  1. Attorney's Fees: Address the allocation of attorney's fees and legal costs in the event of a dispute or litigation.


What is a Construction Contract Agreement?

A Construction Contract Agreement is a legally binding document that outlines the terms and conditions for a construction project. It specifies the responsibilities, obligations, and rights of both the property owner and the construction contractor.

Why do I need a Construction Contract Agreement?

A contract provides clarity and protection for both parties involved in a construction project. It defines the project scope, timeline, costs, and responsibilities, reducing the risk of disputes and misunderstandings.

What should be included in a Construction Contract Agreement?

A comprehensive contract should include project details, payment terms, timelines, specifications, quality standards, dispute resolution mechanisms, and provisions for changes, among other things.

How do I determine the payment schedule in the contract?

The payment schedule is typically based on project milestones or phases. It should outline when payments are due and how much is payable at each stage of the project.

Can I make changes to the project once the contract is signed?

Yes, changes can be made through a formal change order process outlined in the contract. This process defines how changes are requested, approved, and compensated.

Construction Contract Sample

Loading PDF…

Page 1 of

Related Service Contracts
Loading PDF…