LAWCOMM 451 - Construction Law

Credit points: 15 points
Offered: Semester Two
Contact hours: 3 hours per week
Course Coordinator: Stephen Price
Prerequisites: LAW 231, 241

Course description

Construction law is a specialised area of law concerned with construction and infrastructure projects. It draws from concepts and principles in contract and tort and is overlaid by a statutory and regulatory framework and its own jurisprudence and terminology (there are even construction contract dictionaries). This course is intended to give students an introduction to the field of construction law, then drill down into its unique jurisprudence and the legal issues that arise during the life-cycle of a construction or infrastructure project (and beyond).

Content outline

The course will be broken into three parts:

Foundational concepts

Foundational concepts underpinning construction law. In particular, we will focus on “the holy trinity” of time, cost, and quality/scope, the risk issues these present and how they are influenced by the common law and the statutory/regulatory framework. The latter includes aspects of the Construction Contracts Act 2002, Building Act 2004, Fair Trading Act 1986, Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 and Government Rules of Sourcing.

The project

With the foundational concepts of the first part of the course in mind, issues will be discussed in depth in the context of various stages of a construction/infrastructure project including:

  • Procurement (including procurement rules, the tender process and procurement models);
  • Construction (delay, variations, extensions of time, remedies);
  • Practical completion;
  • Defects liability; and
  • Dispute processes (including adjudication under the Construction Contracts Act 2002 and contractual processes).

Particular focus in this part of the course will be placed on common New Zealand standard form contracts (eg. NZS 3910:2013 and IPENZ CCCS 3rd edition).

Post-project claims and latent defects

In this part of the course, we will examine issues that arise after a project is complete including common claims under the contract, latent defects, and the development of negligence in the context of defective buildings.

Assessment

1500 word assignment (20%)

2 hour open-book exam (80%)

Open book means that you may, if you wish, bring into the exam and refer to any materials such as casebooks, textbooks and study notes.

Recommended text

No text is prescribed, however students will find the following texts helpful and reference will be made to these in the course (additional course materials will also be made available):

Nicholas Dennys and Robert Clay (eds) Hudson's Building and Engineering Contracts (13th ed, Sweet & Maxwell, London, 2015)

Stephen Furst and Vivian Ramsay (eds) Keating on Construction Contracts (10th ed, Sweet & Maxwell, London, 2016)

Tomas Kennedy-Grant and Michael Weatherall Construction Contracts and Dispute Resolution (Lexis Nexis, Wellington, 2016)