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Construction Prime Contract Documents

The contract represents the entire and integrated agreement between the parties, normally the Project Owner and the Prime General Contractor.

Types of Analyses

The AIA General Conditions of the Contract for Construction AIA Document A201 - 2007, includes a contractual definition of the contract documents in subparagraph 1.1.1:

"The Contract Documents are enumerated in the Agreement between the Owner and Contractor (hereinafter the Agreement) and consist of the Agreement, Conditions of the Contract (General, Supplementary and other conditions), Drawings, Specifications, Addenda issued prior to execution of the Contract, other documents listed in the Agreement and Modifications issued after execution of the Contract. A Modification is (1) a written amendment to the Contract signed by both parties, (2) a Change Order, (3) a Construction Change Directive or (4) a written order for a minor change in the Work issued by the Architect."

The same paragraph goes on to identify some documents which definitely are not to be considered as contract documents:

"Unless specifically enumerated in the Agreement, the Contract Documents do not include the advertisement or invitation to bid, Instructions to Bidders, sample forms, other information furnished by the Owner in anticipation of receiving bids or proposals, the Contractor’s bid or proposal, or portions of Addenda relating to bidding requirements.”

Furthermore, the General Conditions, in subparagraph 3.12.4, clarifies the status of shop drawings and other submittals:

"Shop Drawings, Product Data, Samples and similar submittals are not Contract Documents."

More Non-Contract Documents.

In addition, by inference, the contract documents do not include numerous other documents commonly used in the construction contracting process. For example, all of the following are not contract documents:

Correspondence, e-mails, unsigned change orders, insurance policies, insurance certificates, performance bonds, labor and material payment bonds, title reports, topographic and boundary surveys, soil tests, material tests, laboratory reports, engineering calculations, environmental impact reports, materials certifications, inspection reports, subcontracts, purchase orders, payment requests, schedules of values, payment certificates, field observation reports, requests for information, requests for price quotations, cost breakdowns, price quotations, conference reports, certificates of compliance, manufacturers' literature, industry standards, guarantees, warranties, certificates of substantial completion, notices of completion, operating instructions, photographs, certificates of occupancy, mechanics' liens, lien releases, building permits, building codes, or zoning regulations.<

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James G. Zack, Jr.
Executive Director
Navigant Construction Forum,
Navigant Consulting, Inc.
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