Construction law is a branch of law that deals with matters relating to building construction, engineering and related fields. It is in essence an amalgam of contract law, commercial law, planning law, employment law and tort. Construction law covers a wide range of legal issues including contract, negligence, bonds and bonding, guarantees and sureties, liens and other security interests, tendering, construction claims, and related consultancy contracts. Construction law affects many participants in the construction industry, including financial institutions, surveyors, architects, builders, engineers, construction workers, and planners.
Specific practice areas
Construction law builds upon general legal principles and methodologies and incorporates the regulatory framework (including security of payment, planning, environmental and building regulations); contract methodologies and selection (including traditional and alternative forms of contracting); subcontract issues; causes of action, and liability, arising in contract, negligence and on other grounds; insurance and performance security; dispute resolution and avoidance.
Construction law has evolved into a practice discipline in its own right, distinct from its traditional locations as a subpractice of project finance, real estate or corporate law. There are often strong links between construction law and energy law and oil and gas law.
Country specific practice
In the United Kingdom, there has been an active Society of Construction Law  since 1983, and there is now a European Society of Construction Law, and Societies of Construction Law in Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, and the UAE. The Joint Contracts Tribunal works on the most popular type of standard construction contracts.
Standard form contracts promulgated by the American Institute of Architects have been the standard in the industry; the organization first published a form in 1888, and has over 100 forms, with revisions to selected forms happening typically every ten years. However, these forms have been criticized as unfair to contractors in favor of owners and architects, which has led to the publication in September 2007 of a set of 70 forms by the Associated General Contractors of America called ConsensusDOCS, in which 23 trade associations participated. Among the 1996 forms were Owner-Design/Builder Agreement, AIA Document A19.
Although no special contract formalities are required, it is normal practice to use standard-form contracts such as, in the UK, the JCT form. In order to expedite dispute resolution, standard forms usually provide for arbitration by a "board of arbitration" or professional arbitrator. Construction law has been affected by the requirements in public contracts, which include surety bonds and other procedures. In private contracts, the requirements are negotiated between the parties. As of 1998, the principles of construction law were "well established". Remedies for breach of contract are the same as in the ordinary law, and include damages, repudiation, rescission, and specific performance.
When a plan has been adopted for a building, and in the progress of the work a change is made from the original plan, the change is called a "deviation". When the contract is to build a house according to the original plan, and a deviation takes place, the contract shall be traced as far as possible, and the additions, if any have been made, shall be paid for according to the usual rate of charging.
- Klinger M. (2007). A New Era in Standard Form Construction Documents: a Rivalry Between the Old Guard American Institute of Architects And An Upstart Consortium Led by the Associated General Contractors of America. Sedgwick, Detert, Moran & Arnold LLP.
- The 1996 AIA Design/Build Standard Forms of Agreement: Part 1-Standard Form of Agreement between Owner and Design/Builder. See Government Contractor Articles for other similar articles.
- Markram Incorporated Attorneys. "Construction Law in South Africa". Retrieved 2014-06-04.
- Bruner PL, Haley TL. (2007). Managing and Litigating the Complex Surety Case, p. 7.
- Levin P. (1998). Construction Contract Claims, Changes, and Dispute Resolution.
- American construction news and resources website
- http://construction-laws.com Understanding California Construction Laws
- Markram Incorporated Construction Law Attorneys