• Abatement

    A reduction or lessening of something. Often used in the context of environmental factors such as a requirement of an environmental authority to reduce noise or other emissions. Also used in the context of leases where there is provision to reduce the rent in the event that part or all of the premises become unusable. It can also be used in relation to reducing a price or value if works have not been carried out to correct specifications, are incomplete, or have not been carried out at all.

  • ABIC

    The Australian Building Industry Contracts (ABIC) are a suite of building Contracts jointly published by Master Builders Australia Ltd and the Australian Institute of Architects. They are intended for use in building projects where the Contract is administered by an Architect.

  • ABIC BW-2008 (Basic Works Contract)

    Previously used for basic building works, usually small commercial projects up to $50 000, or single trade projects with a low level of complexity. This form is no longer published and has been withdrawn form sale and use. See ABIC BW-2018.

  • Acceleration

    An increase in the rate of progress of a Contractor above that initially contemplated by the Contract or a construction program forming part of the Contract. The Contract may allow for the Superintendent to direct an acceleration to bring the Date for Practical Completion forward (stand alone or as an alternative to an extension of time and in each case the Contractor would usually receive Acceleration Costs). A Contractor may also decide to accelerate works in order to meet the Date for Practical Completion at its own cost.

  • Acceleration Costs

    Additional costs incurred by the Contractor arising from Acceleration. For example, the additional labour or overtime for labour incurred as a result of Acceleration. These costs may or may not be recoverable depending on the basis of the Acceleration and the terms of the Contract.

  • Acceptable Quality

    A requirement that something be of acceptable quality is one of the guarantees provided under the Australian Consumer Law and applies to the supply of goods to a consumer from 1 January 2011. Goods will be considered to be a supply to a consumer if: • the amount payable for the goods is $40,000 or less; or • the goods are of a kind ordinarily acquired for personal, domestic or household use or consumption; or • in the case of vehicles or trailers, the vehicle or trailer is acquired primarily for use in the transport of goods on public roads. The goods are of acceptable quality if they are: • fit for all the purposes for which goods of that kind are commonly supplied; • acceptable in appearance and finish; • free from defects; • safe; and • durable, as a reasonable consumer fully acquainted with the state and condition of the goods (including any hidden defects of the goods), would regard as acceptable. Relevant to this test are: • the nature and price of the goods; • any statements made about the goods on any packaging or labels; • any representations made by the supplier about the goods; and • any other relevant circumstances relating to the supply of the goods.

  • Access

    Entitlement of a party to enter the site of the Work under the Contract. Rights of access can be exclusive or non-exclusive.  Distinct from possession of, or control over, the site. The Contractor may be given access to the site to deliver materials or to carry out survey work, or following Practical Completion to rectify Defects. The Principal and Superintendent may need access while the Contractor has possession for the inspection or testing of work carried out by the Contractor or others. (Also referred to as Possession)

  • Accreditation

    Generally, the authorisation (usually statutory) of a person or body to undertake some specified activity or role. In the building and construction industry, accreditation or a certificate of accreditation (such as that issued by the Australian Building Codes Board) provides evidence that materials, methods of construction and designs comply with the Building Code of Australia.

  • Aconex

    A cloud based project information and process management software system used for exchanging notices and documents on construction projects.

  • Adjoining Land

    Land on either side of a common boundary.

  • Adjoining Owner

    The owner of any adjoining or neighbouring land to the construction site. Typically the counterparty to an access deed.

  • Adjudication

    Generally, a process whereby a court of law, tribunal or other independent person determines the respective rights and liabilities of the parties to a dispute. In the building and construction industry adjudication is the relevant dispute resolution process for disputes under the security of payment legislation. It can also be the dispute resolution process agreed between the parties under the terms of the Contract.

  • Adjudicator

    An independent person appointed to determine the rights and liabilities of the parties to a dispute by imposing a binding judgment. In relation to an application for adjudication of a payment claim under the security of payment legislation, the adjudicator is the person appointed to determine the application.

  • Administration

    A company is under administration from the time an administrator is appointed to investigate the solvency of a company. Administration ends when the creditors or court are either satisfied that it should end or determine that the company should be wound up. The process can either be voluntary or initiated by the court.

  • Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT)

    A Commonwealth tribunal established by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal Act 1975 (Cth) to provide a right of review of decisions made by Commonwealth administrative authorities and officials. The AAT reviews decisions on merits and generally has power to confirm, vary or substitute a new decision, or require the original decision maker to reconsider its determination. The procedures of the AAT are usually less formal than those of a court.

  • Administrative Completion

    A stage of completion in some building contracts at which the builder is required to hand over administrative documents such as as-built drawings, subcontractor warranties and operating manuals.  Usually occurs after practical completion.

  • Advance Business Interruption Insurance (ABI)

    Income insurance arranged prior to the commencement of the insured’s business. It is intended to protect against delayed start of revenue generation caused by loss or damage affecting the project during the construction period. Loss of revenue and profits may otherwise be regarded as a part of Consequential Loss and may not be recoverable under the Contract. 'Business interruption' or 'business income' insurance protects a business' income stream, as distinct from its property (such as plant, buildings and inventory). If the business is temporarily forced to stop or reduce operations due to an insurable event, the insurance cover keeps the business solvent until it can resume normal trading, by paying ongoing expenses (which may include maintenance of profits).

  • Advance Payment

    Payment by a Principal to a Contractor which is made in advance of the progress of the Works. A Contract may provide for advance payment where there are large mobilisation or tooling costs, or long lead time procurement required of the Contractor.

  • Advance Payment Bond

    A bond issued to the Principal by a Financier at the request of a Contractor to secure any Advance Payment made by the Principal. Also known as a 'pre-payment bond'.

  • Adverse Possession

    Dispossessing the true owner of land of their title by acts inconsistent with the owner's intended use (such as fencing the land and paying the rates). An adverse possessor may become the registered proprietor of the dispossessed land in circumstances where the true owner fails to assert his or her claim to the land after a certain period.

  • Affidavit

    A written statement of a person that supports a legal position or is used in place of oral testimony in legal proceedings. An affidavit may be sworn (if made on oath on the bible) or affirmed (in any other case). A person who swears or affirms an affidavit is known as a deponent. There are various procedural rules governing how an affidavit should be set out before it is filed in legal proceedings.

  • Agent

    An agent is the representative of a Principal where it acts within the actual or apparent scope of his or her authority and will bind the Principal by its action. An agent does not act independently and must prefer the Principal's interests to its own. An agent's authority may be limited (such as in the case of a real estate agent) to finding business but not creating legal relations.

  • Agreed Damages

    These clauses quantify (or 'liquidate') damages payable in the event of a party breaching the Contract. Enforcement of agreed damages clauses turns on whether the clause is a Liquidated Damages clause or Penalty. Briefly, the test is to examine whether the clause constitutes a genuine pre-estimate of the losses suffered as a result of the breach.

  • Agreement for Lease (AFL)

    An agreement to enter into a Lease at a future time constituting an equitable interest in land as distinct from a legal interest which can be registered under the Torrens Title system. As it is not possible to create a legal lease over premises which do not presently exist a developer may enter into an agreement for lease for a building to be constructed or which is under construction.

  • Airspace

    The column of air extending vertically above the surface of land and buildings on a property and within its boundaries. An intrusion into airspace may raise an action in trespass or nuisance but the success of that action will depend on the extent to which the intrusion interferes with the ordinary use and enjoyment of the land.

  • All Reasonable Endeavours

    Case law in Australia has concluded that the term 'all reasonable endeavours' imposes a standard that lies somewhere between using Reasonable Endeavours and Best Endeavours.

  • Alliancing

    A method of project implementation in which two or more participants (usually the owner, the constructor and the lead design consultant) agree to work cooperatively by freely sharing resources, risks and knowledge during the course of the project. The object of an alliance is to achieve the project's goals more efficiently and effectively. Some of the characteristics which are said to distinguish alliancing from more traditional contracting are: collective performance obligations of owner and non-owner participants; open book reimbursement of non-owners costs; joint, unanimous decision making by an 'alliance board'; commitment to resolution of issues without resort to litigation; sharing of risk between participants.

  • Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)

    Dispute resolution processes which attempt to avoid the perceived disadvantages of the traditional adversarial approach of the courts. They commonly include Mediation, Conciliation, Neutral Evaluation and Expert Determination. Generally, they involve the appointment of a neutral third party to assist the parties resolve a dispute within a more informal and conciliatory framework. ADR processes are often confidential and may have cost and time benefits to participants as the strict procedural requirements relating to pleadings, discovery of documents and preparation of evidence are often dispensed with.

  • Alternative Tender

    An Alternative Tender is a tender: (a) which does not comply in every respect with the requirements of the tender documents, including the conditions of tender; or (b) contains provisions not required or not allowed by the tender documents.

  • Ambiguity

    Uncertainty or doubt in the meaning of the parties' language in a Contract or documents forming part of a Contract. The Contract may provide that the meaning is resolved by the Superintendent under the Contract or by an order of precedence in the Contract.

  • Amortisation

    The process of allocating or reducing the value of something over a period of time in a similar fashion to depreciation. Payments under a loan contract generally represent both an interest payment and a repayment of the principal amount. The reduction of the principal amount is said to be the amortisation of the loan.

  • Anchor Tenant

    A key Tenant, which generally attracts other parties to enter into Leases in the same or neighbouring area. For example, a large supermarket chain taking a lease in a shopping centre may be an anchor tenant because the supermarket's tenancy would induce other retailers to also take up Leases in the centre.

  • Anticipatory Breach

    A Default under a Contract because it is apparent that a party will not be able to perform its obligations under the Contract. For example, an anticipatory breach may occur at a time when it becomes clear that a Builder cannot achieve Practical Completion by the Date for Practical Completion.

  • Approval

    An approval includes a consent, licence, permit, authorisation, lodgement, filing, agreement, certificate, permission, direction, authority, approval or exemption. Approval may be provided under the Contract by a party to the Contract or a third party such as the Superintendent or an Authority, or Consent Authority.

  • Arbitration

    An alternative dispute resolution process, usually agreed to by the parties by way of an arbitration clause in a Contract, for resolving a dispute in a private tribunal. In comparison to litigation, the parties have some control over the arbitration process such as the choice of arbitrator. Arbitration is a more informal private proceeding which is not reported and made available in the public domain. Arbitrations may be subject to the uniform arbitration legislation of each state. Arbitral determinations may be enforced through local and international courts.

  • Arbitration Agreement

    An agreement between parties to resolve present or future legal disputes, whether contractual or otherwise, by Arbitration. The agreement defines the process of Arbitration, the appointment of an Arbitrator and the rights of the parties.

  • Arbitrator

    A person who is appointed to resolve a dispute in an Arbitration. The arbitrator may be appointed as an expert in the area of dispute. An arbitrator effectively takes on a similar role of judge in court proceedings, and must make an arbitration 'award' which is binding on the parties. In more complex arbitration, a number of arbitrators may be appointed, usually not more than three. Arbitrators may have duties and obligations under the uniform arbitration legislation of each state.

  • Architect

    A suitably qualified person normally engaged by a Principal (the architect's client) to provide design and documentation services. An architect may also be engaged as an agent for a Principal during the course of a Contract to act in the capacity of Superintendent.

  • Architectural Design Brief (ADB)

    A written document specifying relevant design information for a project. It may be formulated by the Principal or by a principal's consultant (typically the Architect) in conjunction with the Principal. The ADB is frequently used as the statement of the Principal's requirements for a Design and Construct Contract.

  • ARI (average recurrent value)

    A term commonly used in in the context of a flood event. particularly for transport infrastructure, such as rail.  For example, a 1:100 ARI would mean that the flood event is a one in one hundred years flood event.

  • Arm’s Length

    A transaction where the parties act and are advised independently and are not able to exert personal influence over the other. Each party is able to reach its best position in the circumstances.

  • Artefact

    Generally, a man made object, often used in the context of archaeological relics. A construction contract may address the consequences (regarding time and cost) in the event that a Contractor discovers an artefact while carrying out works.

  • As-Built Drawings

    Drawings which depict the details of the completed construction 'as built' as opposed to 'as designed'. The drawings take into account changes to the design that may have occurred during the construction process. Most commonly requested for building services (plumbing, electrical, mechanical) and are generally used as the record of the physical construction works for the purpose of maintenance and future building work.

  • AS2124-1992

    Historic Australian Standards form of contract only contract widely used in government and the private sector and still used today.  See also AS4000 (which now supersedes AS2124).

  • AS2545-1993

    (Subcontract Companion of AS2124) A set of compatible Subcontract conditions involving site work on projects where AS2124-1992 (General Conditions of Contract) is in use as the Head Contract between the main Contractor and the Principal.

  • AS4000-1997

    (General Conditions of Contract) Traditional Construct only contract which constitutes a complete revision of AS2124-1992. The AS4000-1997 contract forms part of a series of contract documents issued by Standards Australia known as the 'AS4000 series' or the 'AS4000 suite of contracts'. It comprises General Conditions of Contract suitable for application in a wide variety of construction and building contracts including civil, mechanical, electrical and other types of engineering contracts.

  • AS4120-1994

    (Code of Tendering) Sets out ethics and obligations of Principals and Tenderers in tendering in the construction industry. The selection of consultants providing professional services is set out in a separate code. This code applies equally to Principals, their Agents, Contractors, Subcontractors and Suppliers and their associations and professional organisations.

  • AS4122-2000

    General Conditions for the engagement of Engineers, Architects and similar Consultants. It sets out the general obligations governing the relationship between these Consultants and their clients. This contract is no longer available for use. Superseded by AS4122-2010 (which includes a different risk profile).

  • AS4122-2010

    General conditions for the engagement of engineers, architects and similar consultants, replacing AS4122-2000.

  • AS4300-1995

    (General Conditions for Design and Construction (superseded by AS4902-2000)) Superseded by AS4902-2000, however, this form of Design and Construct Contract is still used on many projects.

  • AS4303-1995

    (General Conditions for Subcontract Design and Construct) Provides a set of compatible Subcontract conditions for Subcontracts where AS4300-1995 is used as the Head Contract between the main Contractor and the Principal.

  • AS4305-1996

    (Minor Works Contract Conditions) This contract is intended only for the construction of projects of a simple nature. It is a part of the suite of contracts based on AS2124-1992 general conditions of contract but is not intended as a short form of AS2124-1992.

  • AS4901-1998

    (Subcontract companion for AS4000) Intended to be used as Subcontract Conditions where AS4000–1997, General Conditions of Contract is the main Contract.

  • AS4902-2000

    (General Conditions of Design and Construction) General conditions of contract suitable for the design and construct procurement method. It provides for additional options related to the design and construct contract model, namely design development and construct, and design, novate and construct. It is part of the suite of contracts based on AS2124-1992 general conditions of contract.

  • AS4903-2000

    (Subcontract Conditions for Design and Construct) A set of General Conditions of a Subcontract suitable for the design and construct procurement method. It provides for flexible options of the design and construct contract model, namely design development and construct, and design, novate and construct. It is part of the suite of conditions of contract based on AS4000 -1997, General Conditions of Contract.

  • AS4905-2002

    (Minor Works Contract Conditions (Superintendent administered)) Form of contract to be used for Construct Only projects of a simple nature. It is not suitable for projects of a complex or long term nature, or where a Bill of Quantities has been prepared. Provides for administration by the Superintendent.

  • AS4906-2002

    (Minor Works contract conditions (Principal administered)) Form of contract to be used for Construct Only projects of a simple nature. It is not suitable for projects of a complex or long term nature or where a Bill of Quantities has been prepared. Provides for administration by the Principal.

  • AS4910-2002

    (General Conditions for supply of equipment with installation) An agreement for the supply of equipment, including building elements, which is purpose-built or manufactured and which includes installation.

  • AS4911-1998

    (General Conditions for Supply of Equipment without Installation) An agreement for the supply only of equipment, including building elements, which is purpose-built or manufactured. Used with AS2987 where installation is required.

  • AS4911-2003

    (General Conditions of Contract for the Supply of Equipment without Installation) Contract for the supply of equipment, including building elements, which is purpose-built or manufactured. If installation is required, General Conditions of Contract for supply of equipment with installation (AS4910-2002), should be used. It is part of the suite of contracts based on AS4000 –1997, General Conditions of Contract.

  • AS4916-2002

    (General Conditions for Construction Management) A contract for projects that require a Construction Manager to perform services to manage the carrying out of work through to completion. It is part of the suite of contracts based on AS4000-1997.

  • AS4919-2003

    (General Conditions of Contract for the provision of Asset Maintenance and Services (Superintendent's Version)) General Conditions of Contract for the provision of Asset Maintenance and Services to be used where services are generally performed on the premises of the Principal and the Contract is administered through a Superintendent. It is part of the suite of conditions of contract based on AS 4000 -1997 General Conditions of Contract.

  • AS4920-2003

    (General Conditions of Contract for the provision of Asset Maintenance and Services (Principal's Version)) General Conditions of Contract for the provision of Asset Maintenance and Services to be used where services are generally performed on the premises of the Principal and should be used where the Principal uses a Principal’s representative to administer the contract and a Superintendent is not engaged. It is part of the suite of conditions of contract based on AS4000 -1997 General Conditions of Contract.

  • ASIC

    The Australian Securities and Investments Commission.

  • Assessment Criteria

    The Principal analyses and selects its preferred tenderer using criteria such as price, experience, technical skills and resources. The assessment criteria will vary considerably for different tender processes.

  • Assignment

    The transfer of a contractual right or benefit from one party to a Contract to a third party. At common law, this may be done without the consent of the other party that provides the right or benefit. Only the benefit of a Contract may be assigned, not the burden (as distinct from novation, in which both benefits and burdens may be transferred). (Contrast with Novation)

  • Attachment Order

    A court order for the automatic deduction of monies from a person's income or payments to pay off an outstanding debt owed to another party. The money owed may be for work carried out or materials supplied by the unpaid person. (See for example Contractors Debts Act 1997 No 110 (NSW) section 14).

  • Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB)

    A joint initiative of the Commonwealth, State and Territory governments in conjunction with the building industry established by an inter-government agreement on 1 March 1994. The initiative seeks to develop and manage a uniform approach to technical building requirements under the Building Code of Australia, develop a simplified and efficient building regulatory system, and enable the building industry to adopt new and innovative construction technologies and practices.

  • Australian Constructors Association (ACA)

    An association of Contractors whose members must operate in two or more Australian states and have an annual turnover in excess of $200 million to be members. The association represents the interests of these major contractors before government and other decision makers, enhances and promotes the status of Contractors and the construction industry, facilitates the exchange of information and encourages further research.

  • Australian Consumer Law (ACL)

    The ACL is a single, national law concerning consumer protection and fair trading. It applies as a law of the Commonwealth, with each State and Territory making the ACL a law of its jurisdiction. The ACL is a schedule to the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth), which is the new name of the Trade Practices Act 1974 (Cth). The ACCC and each State and Territory's consumer law agency administers the ACL.

  • Australian Industry Building Contracts (ABIC)

    A series of standardised contracts jointly published by Master Builders Australia and the Australian Institute of Architects. Their intended use is in construction projects where an Architect administers the Contract.

  • Authorised Nominating Authority (ANA)

    A person authorised under security of payment legislation to nominate persons to determine adjudication applications made in relation to a payment claim.

  • Authority

    A term which refers to any Federal, State or Local Government or any ministry, department, court, commission, board, agency, institution or similar entity of government.

  • Autonomous Vehicle

    Driverless vehicle, controlled by a computer rather than a human driver. (See also CAV)

  • Availability Guarantee

    A guarantee that a certain amount of equipment will be available to operate at any given time.  They are generally provided by a contractor in operation and maintenance (O&M) contracts for energy projects, where the O&M contractor guarantees that a specified amount of equipment will be available and capable of producing energy at the relevant times.  Liquidated damages may be charged for a failure to maintain availability.