Document Type



Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


Architecture engineering, Construction engineering

Publication Details

Dublin Institute of Technology, 2016.


A contract is an agreement which is capable of being enforced at law and whose essential characteristic is that of a bargain. Contract law focuses predominantly on commercial transactions and in the construction context these range from simple every-day transactions such as purchasing a box of nails to procuring multi-million euro building facilities. In Ireland construction clients typically engage designers and quantity surveyors to formulate designs and they subsequently contract with building contractors to construct the designs. The contractors, in turn, typically outsource much of the work to subcontractors and order materials from numerous suppliers. All of these activities involve contractual relationships and each of the participants is linked to others within the supply chain by means of a contract.

The legal principles underpinning Irish building contracts derive for the most part from the general law of contract. Statute law may, however, regulate certain aspects of the contract. For example, Irish building contracts have recently been regulated by the Construction Contracts Act (2013). This study outlines the basic principles of contract law as they apply to Irish building contracts and provides a context for the further exploration of the principles of contract law. The study is primarily addressed to students undertaking the initial stages of quantity surveying and construction management related programmes in Ireland.