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Section 1 Construction Process

Section 2 Pre-Contract Process

Section 3 Construction Period

Section 4 Post Contract              


Description: This unit introduces the construction process and provides an understanding of the elements of work involved in constructing a building and the process and procedures which must be completed.

Author: Gates MacBain Associates

Section 1  Construction Process

The process of construction consists of a number of procedures or phases which are completed in order to assess the potential for a project and its viability, prepare the design of the project and the documentation required, prepare award and carry out  the contract. These can be split into: 
  • Pre-contract
  • Construction
  • Post-contract.

Section 2  Pre-Contract Process

Aims and Objectives

At the end of this section you should: 
  • Have an understanding of the process involved with the decisions and processes involved with commissioning of having a building constructed.
  • Be able to list and explain the processes involved prior to construction commencing.

We saw previously the main processes involved with the construction of a building 

The RIBA Plan of Work provides: guidance on the stages of design and construction for the type of building project which employs a Bill of Quantities The RIBA Plan of Work reduces the possibility of errors and/or abortive design work by ensuring that all parties involved check and agree the project status at various stages throughout the design and building process. The outline can be found on the websites below.  Before you visit them play the presentation on the pre-contract procedures. Once you have done that you can fill in the details about the process by reading the books listed.



  • Ashworth, A (2006) Contractual Procedures in the Construction Industry, Harlow, Pearson
  • Hackett, M Robinson,I & Statham, G, Eds, The Aqua Group Guide to Procurement, Tendering & Contract Administration, Oxford: Blackwell

Self-Assessment Task

  • List the main processes that have to be carried out under the RIBA Plan of Work and the responsibilities involving the members of the design team.

Section 3  Construction Period

Aims and Objectives

At the end of this section you should be able to: 
  • State the tasks that the contractor is responsible for during the construction process.

Once a contractor is appointed the process of construction begins, starting with the planning.  To understand this process watch the presentation the Construction Period and read the relevant parts in the books listed below; don’t worry too much about the methods of programming as you will be looking at that in another module.


  • Cooke, B & Williams, P (2004) Construction Planning, Programming & Control, Oxford: Blackwell
  • Foster, G (1999) Building organisation & procedures, Harlow: Longman

Self-Assessment Task

  • Briefly describe the main factors for which the contractor is responsible during the construction period.

Section 4  Post Contract

Aims and Objectives

At the end of this section you should be able to: 
  • Itemise and describe the activities that are carried out after the certificate of practical completion has been issued.

The Post Contract period involves ensuring that all aspects relating to the construction are finalized and that the contractor has met all their obligations to ensure that the client has a building which meets all contractual. 

This period begins on the issue of the certificate of practical completion and although the client will take possession of the building at this stage and become responsible for insuring and maintaining the building, the contractor retains a number of responsibilities. You should ensure that you understand these. The main Post Contract factors relate to: 

Defects Liability Period 
  • Usually 6 to 9 months but could be up to 12 months.
  • Any faults in construction which are the responsibility of the contractor are remedied.
  • Any action can be taken by the client for breach of contract for either 6 or 12 years depending on how the contract was executed (under hand or as a deed)

Settlement of account 
  • The Q.S. prepares the final account.
  • When all defects are remedied Architect issues certificate for final payment.
  • The client pays the contractor the contract balance outstanding, including remainder of retention monies.

In order to ensure you understand these processes you should consult ‘Procurement Tendering & Contract Administration’ and ‘Contractual Procedures in the Construction Industry’   


  • Hackett, M Robinson, I & Statham, G, Eds, The Aqua Group Guide to Procurement, Tendering & Contract Administration, Oxford: Blackwell
  • Ashworth, A (2006) Contractual Procedures in the Construction Industry, Harlow: Pearson

Self-Assessment Task

  • List and summarise the main actions that are taken by the Architect and the Contractor after the issue of the certificate of practical completion.

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