Defining claims in construction contracts and architects’ agreements

Written by Lyle Charles

Construction claims management processes recommends clearly defining a claim in a construction agreement. Defining a claim provides all parties who are part of the contract a clear idea of what qualifies as a claim in the instance a dispute occurs. There are many definitions of what constitutes a claim, but the most used definition exists in the American Institute of Architects’ A201 General Conditions of the Contract for Construction (Section 15.1.1, 2007 edition).  This definition is broad and will satisfy the needs of all parties concerned.

Defining a claim will save the construction firm a lot of unnecessary work and administration. The definition does not have to be included in the contract as most agreements will be short on space. Instead, the contract can refer to this definition and if a claim occurs the definition quoted.

However, this definition does not always work for every construction contract. Therefore, the legal team should draw up a contract which considers the parties in the contract, what they are exchanging, and how the courts interpret this definition.  After looking into these areas, if this definition is satisfactory, it is preferred for its versatility. If, however, the definition is not satisfactory, you could always amend the wording to suit your purpose.

Construction and turnaround services will assist in creating and updating your current construction agreements.


Lyle Charles offers construction consultant services for commercial construction projects across the United States.