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204P Contract Documents and Construction Law

Class Syllabus


Learning Objectives
Class Organization and Grading
Grading Policies
Textbook Information
Reading Ahead


Introduction -- $405 for Members, $490 for Non-Members
Book Not Included

This course focuses on understanding the relationship between contract documents and the construction process.  We will explore contractual relationships, legal roles and responsibilities, and contract types.  Legal issues will be studied including regulatory issues, liens, bonds, insurance, and how standardized forms are used.  General conditions clauses that affect levels of decision making authority, project close-out and the superintendents role as agent of the contractor will be studied.  We will study legal issues that often result in construction disputes including differing site conditions, time and schedule impacts, change orders and changed conditions.  We will also study contract dispute resolution including negotiations, alternative dispute resolutions, and litigation of disputes.

Each class is 10 weeks and on average a student can expect to spend 3-5 hours per class.


Learning objectives:

By the end of this class you should:

  • Understand the importance of contract documents and construction law as they pertain to on site construction supervisors.

  • Be able to understand and use common legal terms.

  • Understand the different forms of formal dispute resolution including litigation, arbitration and mediation.

  • Understand the roles of partnering in avoiding construction conflicts by communicating and building trust between contractual partied. 

  • Be able to differentiate between various contractual relationships by understanding the roles and responsibilities of contractual parties.  

  • Understand the different types of construction contracts and how the construction supervisors role may be affected by them.

  • Be able to determine the levels of decision making authority and relationships as defined by the general conditions.

  • Learn how to recognize, develop and manage a documentation system

  • Understand the effects of changes as they are encountered and develop methods to react to potential conflicts resulting from changes.

  • Know how to recognize differing site conditions and understand the importance of handling changed conditions effectively.

  • Know how to handle schedule impacts, delays, accelerations, suspensions and disruption of time related work activities.

  • Be able to resolve conflicts and issues through negotiation.


Class Organization and Grading

The following table lists the learning modules, the maximum value in points a student can receive within each module, and the time in which the modules must be finished.  Each week you will have online class discussions (15 points) and a quiz (10 points). 


Point Value

By End of Week

0. Student Orientation


Before start

1. Introduction to Contract Documents and Construction Law



2. Creating a Positive Environment Through Partnering



3. Contractual Relationships



4. Contract Forms and Documents



5. Managing General Conditions



6. Good Documentations Practices



7. Changes



8. Differing Site Conditions



9. Time Impacts



10.Resolving Issues Through Negotiations



Total Points



It is important that the student keep up with the class and not fall behind.   Course modules will be made available to students on Sunday of each week.  Class work must be completed before the following Monday.  Students will not be able to work ahead of the class although reading assignments will be made available in advance.   


Grading Policies

Graded assignments will consist of one quiz for each module and participation in at least two class discussions.  Students should provide at least 3 contributions to the class discussions each week to gain the maximum points.  Students learn more and learn better when they discuss the topic at hand.  For that reason, I consider the regular weekly discussions to be even more important than the weekly quizzes.

Grades will be posted on a weekly basis.  You will have full access to your grade sheet so you will be able to keep track of how you are doing at all times.

Your overall grade in the course will be determined by the total number of points you have accumulated on quizzes and assignments.   The grading scale is as follows:

  • A  225 to 250 points

  • B  200 to 224 points

  • C  175 to 199 points

  • D 140 to 174 points

  • Anything less will be considered an F or an unauthorized withdrawal from the course.

You will be given more information about the grading and other course matters in the Orientation Module.


The Textbook

The textbook for this class is Unit 4, Contract Documents and Construction Law (S), 6th Edition

Textbook ordering information can be found at this link.

The cost of each textbook is approximately $156 plus shipping and handling.  If you order a used book be sure you are getting the correct edition. All 200 series textbooks are available on Amazon in a Kindle edition for $50.

Allow at least 5 working days between ordering the book and receiving it by the least expensive shipping.  Foreign students should allow at least 2 to 3 weeks for delivery. You can have your book delivered more quickly by paying more for the shipping.


Reading Ahead

This table details the reading assignments for the entire course.  This will give you opportunity to read ahead and get a jump on upcoming modules.


Reading Assignment
0. Student Orientation None
1. Introduction to Contract Documents and Construction Law Read Unit 1
2. Creating a Positive Environment Through Partnering Read Unit 2,
3.Contractual Relationships Read Unit 3
4. Contract Forms and Documents Read Unit 4
5.Managing General Conditions Read Unit 5
6.Good Documentations Practices Read Unit 6
7. Changes Read Unit 7
8. Differing Site Conditions Read Unit 8
9. Time Impacts Read Unit 9
10. Resolving Issues Through Negotiations Read Unit 10

WITHDRAWAL POLICY: You may withdraw from a course by sending an email to  Non-attendance or notifying the instructor does not constitute officially dropping or withdrawing from a course. Students who stop attending courses without officially dropping will receive a grade of U (unauthorized withdrawal) in the class. Refunds are not automatic. NO refunds are due unless the course is officially dropped within stated guidelines in the refund schedule. Please type your name in the text box agreeing to the withdrawal policy.


Refund Schedule

a. Withdrawal postmarked at least one working day before the first day of class – total fee less a $20 handling fee.

b. Refund requests postmarked on or after the first day and no later than two weeks after the first day of class will be refunded 65% of the fee, after which time there is no refund.







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