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A Construction Contractor's Contract Checklist

A checklist with some key commercial contracting issues identified can be one valuable tool in the process of understanding and evaluating the commercial risk in a customer’s proposed construction contract.

by Kit Werremeyer
President, Southernstar Consultants, LLC

It’s been said that a checklist creates laziness on the part of the user. Fill out the checklist and if the results look okay for whatever the checklist analyzes, proceed and don’t do any further analysis.

Performing a thorough analysis of the commercial risks associated with a construction contract for a project requires some skill and the ability to understand and evaluate the proposed commercial terms and conditions in order to best protect the assets of the company. Each construction project will always have a different mix of commercial risks associated with the project contract’s commercial terms and conditions.

There is no such thing as a standard construction project. There is also no such thing as standard commercial terms and conditions for a construction project. As such, it is difficult to develop an all-encompassing and comprehensive checklist that would be appropriate for each and every construction project and set of commercial terms and conditions.

Having a thorough knowledge of the typical risks associated with commercial terms and conditions and having the ability to independently understand and analyze these risks for each contract is the best way to lower your commercial risk.

Having said all that, a checklist is simply one tool to use in the contract analysis process. If it is used with some circumspection, it will at least highlight some of the most common or typical commercial risks associated with a construction contract. As long as a checklist is used in conjunction with independent evaluation and analysis of the commercial terms by the reviewer, then the risk review process can be performed more efficiently.

One final point: use your own knowledge and skill—or the knowledge and skills of others—to thoroughly understand and evaluate the risks associated with each of the construction contract’s commercial terms and conditions.  After you sign the contract, it’s too late to change those risky commercial oversights!

Here’s a checklist of 11 important and commonly encountered contracting issues, along with 54 clarifying notes, to consider using as part of a comprehensive contract evaluation and analysis process:


Need assistance with training, negotiating or setting standards or policy for construction contract commercial terms and conditions?  We can improve your ability to negotiate better commercial terms that will help protect the assets of your company!  Contact Southernstar Consultants, LLC at 813-653-3090 or

Copyright © Kit Werremeyer November, 2004, Revised February 2008. Revised February 2009, Revised June 2011.  Revised January 2014.

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