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 200 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 led to the publication of ConsensusDocs standard contracts in September 2007. The ConsensusDocs Coalition includes 41 trade associations representing design professionals, owners, contractors, subcontractors and sureties in the design and construction industry. ConsensusDocs publishes more than 100 contract documents, addressing all methods of project delivery, and are written in the project's best interest versus one particular party.
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.
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