1st Edition

The Application of Contracts in Engineering and Construction Projects

ISBN 9781138543621
Published July 10, 2018 by Informa Law from Routledge
433 Pages

USD $210.00

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Book Description

Written by an engineer and construction lawyer with many years of experience, The Application of Contracts in Engineering and Construction Projects provides unique and invaluable guidance on the role of contracts in construction and engineering projects. Compiling papers written and edited by the author, it draws together a lifetime of lessons learned in these fields and covers the topics a practicing professional might encounter in such a project, developed in bite-sized chunks.

Key topics included are:

  • the engineer and the contract; 
  • the project and the contract;
  • avoidance and resolution of disputes; 
  • forensic engineers and expert witnesses; and 
  • international construction contracts.

The inclusion of numerous case studies to illustrate the importance of getting the contract right before it is entered into, and the consequences that may ensue if this is not done, makes The Application of Contracts in Engineering and Construction Projects essential reading for construction professionals, lawyers and students of construction law.

Table of Contents



Author Profile

List of Figures and Table

Table of Cases

Table of Legislation

1. Overview

Part I The Engineer and the Contract

2. The Evolution of the Role of the Engineer

3. Time, Cost and Quality – the Engineer’s Eternal Challenge

4. Risk and Construction Contracts

5. Managing Design Risk

6. Contracts for Design Services

7. Design Life or Service Life: What is the Difference?

8. Fit for Purpose or Due Skill and Care?  9. Design & Construct Contracts and Final Design Cost Risk

10. The Duty of Care in Design – Can Engineers Rely on Codes of Practice?

Part II The Project and the Contract

11. The Importance of Standard Form Contracts

12. Challenges in Achieving Successful Megaprojects

13. Managing Time, Cost and Quality – a Tale of Two Buildings

14. A Tale of Two Bridges: Issues Arising from Design and Construct Contracts

15. State of Tasmania v Leighton Contractors Pty Ltd

16. The Canterbury Earthquakes I

17. The Canterbury earthquakes II

18. Construction Failures: Have We Learned the Lessons of History?

19. Lessons from Failures – Quebec Bridge

20. Lessons from Failures – West Gate Bridge

Part III Avoidance and Resolution of Disputes

21. The Avoidance of Disputes by Contractors in Design and Construct Contracts

22. Cost Effective Resolution of Construction Disputes

23. Dispute Boards and Construction Contracts

24. The Commercial Value of Dispute Boards Under FIDIC Contracts

25. The "Best" Method of Resolution of Construction Disputes – Elusive or Illusory?

Part IV Forensic Engineers and Expert Witnesses

26. The Engagement of Forensic Engineers

27. Guidelines for Experts

28. Getting the Most Out of Expert Witnesses

29. The Rules for Expert Evidence in Australia

Part V International Construction Contracts

30. "A Common Law of Construction Contracts" – or Vive la Différence?

31. The Use of the Unidroit Principles in International Construction Contracts

32. Final Comments



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Dr Donald Charrett, FCIArb, currently practices as a barrister, arbitrator, mediator and Dispute Board member in construction and engineering disputes. He was previously a consulting engineer for over 25 years.



'...the author’s mixed discipline background and career allow him to provide an excellent practical insight and legal summary which will no doubt provide a useful reference point for those involved in designing and delivering large construction projects as well as for legal professionals in fitting technical input within the framework set by the construction contract.'

Laura McEwen, Civil Engineering Surveyor


"The 397 pages explore virtually every aspect of Construction Law. It is the sort of book that should be on every construction lawyer’s shelf...it imparts great experience in a very readable form.

The Application of Contracts in Engineering and Construction Projects is that rare thing in a construction lawyer's bookshelf. While it is undoubtedly a useful legal reference in any dispute, the perspective and material it contains are also both interesting and enjoyable to read."

Toby Shnookal QC, (2018) 183 ACLN 58


"This new book...fulfils an important role as a practical, legally well-informed and intelligent handbook.

The historical examples taken in this book should provide extremely good object lessons to all those...involved with construction and engineering projects from the cradle of their inception to what might be called the grave of litigation or arbitration. It is a practical manual for all such people."

Sir Robert Akenhead, (2019) ICLR


"The text...engages with a global audience in the use of case studies and other examples from all over the world, including from Dr Charrett’s own experience.

...the context that this collection gives for the role that all manner of professionals play on a project would be beneficial for lawyers to appreciate, particularly those without an engineering background.

Unlike typical legal case studies, Dr Charrett’s examples examine more than issues of liability and instead extend to an analysis of organisational, contractual and managerial aspects of project execution. This multi-disciplinary approach is a particular strength of this collection."

Jaclyn Masters (Director, Society of Construction Law Australia)


"...this book...not only seeks to improve the knowledge and understanding of the laws of contract for young engineers, it also seeks to significantly, and comprehensively, enhance the knowledge and understanding of those with much greater experience in the building and construction industry.

This is a book that is not only informative but is also well sourced, comprehensive and consistently easy to read. The case studies are particularly interesting and provide a useful insight into the rights and wrongs on engineering and construction contracts. The book no doubt contains many thought provoking aspects which will undoubtedly benefit any person practising in engineering and construction."

Steven Goldstein, (2019) The Forum, DRBF


The author speaks of the aim of this work as being that of furthering the inter-disciplinary co-operation between engineers and lawyers he considers essential to project success. That will be achieved by assisting engineers to understand better the role of contracts in their work and their necessary interaction with lawyers and by developing a greater awareness among lawyers of engineers' roles in the successful execution of construction projects. He should be satisfied that he has succeeded in his aim. Time is likely to demonstrate the correctness of his Honour Justice Digby's prediction that this work will take its rightful place in thecanon of construction law texts

John Sharkey,Australia: Building and Construction Law.