Interpretation and Enforcement of Construction Contracts

Online /
Oct 5 - 8, 2020 /
Course Code: 11-1002-ONL20

  • Overview
  • Syllabus
  • Instructor


This course is held online over 4 days on the following schedule (all times in Eastern Time Zone):
10:30am - 1:40pm (includes a 10-min. break) and 2:20pm - 5:00pm (includes a 10-min. break)

After participating in this course you will be able to:

  • Consider contractor perceptions about interpretation and enforcement issues
  • Apply your knowledge of construction contracts
  • Understand the role of the inspection authority
  • Avoid claims caused by overly strict or untimely interpretation
  • Recognize laxity in interpretation and its consequences

Ambiguous contract documents, improper interpretations, delayed decisions and wrongful enforcements can result in owners not getting their money's worth and being stuck with costly construction claims. This seminar explores what happens when interpretation and/or enforcement are too strict or too lax, and whether or not there is a correct balance.

Course materials will cover the many details of multi-faceted contract documents and focus on developing your interpretation and enforcement skills that can reduce costs.

Course Outline:

  • Enforcement of contracts
  • Structure of construction contracts
  • Contract project administration
  • Communication
  • Change requests and claims
  • Contract language by the courts
  • Bonding and insurance
  • Understanding delay and productivity claims

Who Should Attend:
Project Engineers and Managers • Contractors • Construction Managers • Designers • Contract Administrators • Owners • Engineering Consultants

Participants are expected to have some technical knowledge of the subject matter. More Information


Please Note:
This course is held online over 4 days on the following schedule (All times in Eastern Time Zone): Day 1-3 10:30 am to 5:00 pm Eastern (40 minute lunch + two 10 minute breaks ) Day 4, 10:30 am to 4:00 pm Eastern (40 minute lunch + two 10 minute breaks) *********************************************************************************

This course is held online over 4 days on the following schedule (all times in Eastern Time Zone):
10:30am – 1:40pm (includes a 10-min. break) and 2:20pm – 5:00pm (includes a 10-min. break)

Day I

Enforcement of Contracts
(Michael MacKay)

  • Basic principles
  • What is a contract?
  • Enforceability
    • Evidence of intention to be legally bound
    • Agreement as to subject matter
    • Written versus verbal contracts
  • Enforcement – what does it mean?
    • Specific performance versus damages
    • Calculation of damages
    • Limitations on the recovery of damages

Structure of Construction Contracts
(Michael MacKay)

  • The evolution of construction contracts
  • Allocation of risk
  • Fixed price
  • Cost plus
  • Unit price
  • Construction management
  • Design/Build and EPC
  • P3

Bids: Avoiding Interpretation and Enforcement Problems
(Michael MacKay)

  • The tendering process
  • The contractor’s obligations to the owner: the Ron Engineering revolution
  • Obligations of the owner to contractors: M.J.B. Enterprises, Martel Building and Double N Earth Movers
  • Exclusion of liability for owner’s breach of contract: Tercon v British Columbia
  • Bid evaluation; preventing ambiguities; technical evaluation (time, performance); financial evaluation
  • Minimizing the risk of bid disputes

Interpretation of Contract Language by the Courts
(Michael MacKay)

  • How do courts interpret contracts?
  • General principles
  • Specific rules
  • Exclusion and limitation of liability clauses
  • Warranty provisions
  • Importance of contractual notice requirements
  • How courts resolve disputes over extras and changes
  • Contractual responses to risk of adverse site conditions
  • Delay claims
  • Contractors’ delay claims against owners
  • Owners’ delay claims against contractors
    • Enforceability of liquidated damages

Day II

(Michael MacKay)

  • The parties - principal, surety, and obligee
    • The business of bonding
    • Bondi1ng versus insurance
  • Types of bonds
    • Bid bonds
    • Performance bonds
    • Labour and material payment bonds

(Michael MacKay)

  • Insurance requirements of the contract
  • What kind of insurance is available?
  • What does the insurance cover?
  • How to deal with insurance companies

(Michael Mackay)


Morning session: 10:30am – 1:40pm

Contract Project Administration
(Prof. Sami M. Fereig)

  • Parties to the process
  • Different project delivery mechanisms
  • Relationships among the parties
  • Responsibility, risk allocation, and management
  • Record keeping
  • Contract administration: the paper trail, coordination, negotiations, payments, changes, inspection/quality control, project close-out

(Prof. Sami M. Fereig)

Best Practices for Managing Risk in Construction Contracts
(Prof. Sami M. Fereig)

  • What should an owner be on the lookout for?
  • What should the contractor be aware of? Knowing rights and obligations
  • What should the consultant be aware of?
  • Crucial factors to look for in effective contract administration
  • Top tips for managing risk in construction contracts

Afternoon session: 2:20 – 5:00pm

Claims by Contractors / Claims by Owners
(Prof. Sami M. Fereig)

  • Restricted access/changed conditions: late and/or incomplete drawings or equipment, active interference with the contractor’s means and methods, constructive acceleration, termination and suspension
  • Contractor walks off the job and delays completion: liquidated damages
  • Contractor finishes with deficiencies: cost versus diminished value claims against design consultants (a developing trend)

(Prof. Sami M. Fereig)

  • Avoiding claims, presenting claims, and getting email under control

Day IV

Morning session: 10:30am – 1:40pm

Interpretation and Enforcement of Change Requests and Claims (Prof. Sami M. Fereig)

Pricing the Changes, Process of Effecting Changes (Prof. Sami M. Fereig)

  • Introduction
  • Factors affecting pricing of changes
  • Extras and changes
  • Changes in work
  • Resolving disagreements on changes
  • Payment for extras and changes: resolving disputes

Damage Quantification
(Prof. Sami M. Fereig)

  • Pros and cons regarding the various means of quantifying cost
  • Direct and indirect cost / equipment ownership
  • The failings of the total cost approach

Quantification Workshop (Prof. Sami M. Fereig)

Understanding Delay and Productivity Claims
(Prof. Sami M. Fereig)

  • Types of delay: means and methods of analysing delay
  • Factors which affect productivity, discussion on different methods of calculating productivity claims(i.e. differential cost method, measured mile approach), estimated cost/industry charts)

Workshop (Prof. Sami M. Fereig)

Afternoon session: 2:20 – 5:00pm

Dispute Resolution

  • Strengths and weakness of alternate strategies such as negotiation, partnering, mediation, project neutral, arbitration and litigation
  • Discussion of available strategies during and after construction is complete
  • Controlling costs whilst in the process of resolving disputes


Sami M. Fereig, P.Eng., Ph.D., M.A.Sc., LL.M., F.ASCE, F.PMI-COS

Prof. Sami M. Fereig, P.Eng., Ph.D., M.A.Sc., LL.M., F.ASCE, F.PMI-COS, PMP has over fifty years of experience in civil engineering, construction contract management, and dispute and claim resolution. He is actively involved in delivering workshops for the public and private sectors across Canada.

Michael MacKay, B.A., LL.B.

Michael MacKay, BA, LLB

Michael MacKay practiced law in Toronto for over 21 years, the last 19 almost exclusively in the field of construction law, and the last 14 at his own firm. He was a member of the Ontario Bar Association’s Construction Law Section’s Executive Committee from 1993 to 2009, and for most of that time co-edited its newsletter “Nuts & Bolts”. He is a frequent contributor to the Construction Law Letter. For over 20 years, he has travelled all across Canada to talk on construction law topics – including a complete construction law course for EPIC.


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Fee & Credits

$1995 + taxes

  • 2.1 Continuing Education Units (CEUs)
  • 21 Professional Development Hours (PDHs)
  • ECAA Annual Professional Development Points

Canada Job Grant
The cost of this course could be covered by Canada Job Grant.

Your company may be eligible for funding! LEARN MORE
On-Site Training
This course can be customized and delivered to your group of staff at your facility, saving time and money.
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