• Damages

    Compensation awarded by a court to a party for loss suffered as the result of a breach of contract or negligence. The four main types of damages are general, special, liquidated and exemplary. Other categories of damages include aggravated and nominal damages.

  • Date for Commencement

    The date on which something will or does commence. Also known as Commencement Date.

  • Date for Practical Completion

    The date set in a construction contract by which a Contractor is obliged to bring the Works to Practical Completion. This date is adjustable under the contract (by Extensions of Time for example), however, if a Sunset Date is specified, the Date for Practical Completion cannot usually be adjusted beyond the Sunset Date.

  • Date of Acceptance of Tender

    The date which appears in the notice of writing of acceptance of the tender.

  • Date of Practical Completion

    The date on which Practical Completion is actually achieved (usually as certified by the Superintendent or an Independent Certifier).

  • Daywork

    A method of payment to a Contractor which is based on the Contractor's cost of labour and materials plus an agreed percentage for overheads and profit.

  • DCOM Contract

    A contract for the design, construction, operation and maintenance of a facility.  Also referred to as a DBOM contract (design, build, operate and maintain).

  • Debenture Trust Deed

    A deed that sets out the rules of a trust established for an issue or offer of debentures. Under the deed, the trustee holds specified rights in trust for the benefit of debenture holders.

  • Deed of Novation

    An agreement by the incoming, outgoing and continuing parties to a Contract to discharge the Contract and enter a new one on the same terms. The new (incoming) party is substituted for another (outgoing) party to the Contract with the continuing parties.

  • Deemed to Satisfy Compliant

    Materials, components, design factors, and construction methods and other items set out in the National Construction Code (NCC) which are prescribed as being complaint with the performance requirements of the NCC.

  • Defamation

    The publication of information about (or attributes of) a person, including a company (except in New South Wales), that damages that person's reputation in the eyes of the ordinary person. Every state and territory of Australia has its own defamation laws. The aim of a court action for defamation is to restore the reputation of the defamed person and may result in damages awarded to that person. In some cases the law provides a defence to the publication of defamatory material.

  • Default

    A failure to perform a required act or obligation, or the performance of a dishonest or wrongful act or omission. Under a Contract, specified defaults may entitle the other party to terminate the Contract.

  • Defect

    Where the Works do not achieve the standard required by the Contract (which may be based on drawings, specifications, performance standards and industry practice).  Defects may be defects in workmanship or a defect arising as a result of later damage to the Works.

  • Defects Liability Period

    A period of time under a construction contract commencing at Practical Completion during which any defects that arise are to be rectified by the Contractor at the Contractor's cost (except defects caused by the Principal or parties it is responsible for). The duration is nominated under each Contract, and is typically 12 months, but can range between 6 and 24 months.

  • Defence

    A Defendant's formal answer to a Plaintiff's claim. Where there is a Cross-Claim, a defence to Cross-Claim should be filed in court or tribunal and served on the opposite party.

  • Delay and Disruption Costs

    Extra costs incurred by the Contractor as a result of interruption or reduced efficiency in performing the Works, which are recoverable if permitted by the Contract or at common law. These costs may include such things as the hire of plant or unproductive labour. Also known as Prolongation Costs.

  • Delegated Legislation

    Delegated legislation (also known as subordinate legislation, statutory rules, legislative instruments, statutory instruments, or subsidiary legislation) includes regulations, ordinances, by-laws, schemes, rules and orders-in-council. This legislation is not made by Parliament. It is made by a person or body authorised by an Act of Parliament and, if validly made, is as effective as laws passed by Parliament. Much of the law applicable to the construction industry is in delegated legislation, such as the Building Code of Australia, health and safety regulations and local government requirements.

  • Delivery Partner Model

    A project delivery method that is a hybrid of alliance and managing contractor and construction management models designed to deliver diverse major project works while providing a high level of governance and control. This model is used on public infrastructure projects and combines private sector leadership, capability and drive to deliver project outcomes with a risk allocation more closely aligned with alliances.

  • Deposited Plan

    A plan (in approved form) that is registered at the relevant land titles office and given a unique number. A deposited plan shows a parcel or subdivision of land, its orientation, approximate dimensions, Easements and other affectations on the land. Before it is registered, a deposited plan must be certified by a registered surveyor, executed by all parties with an interest in the land and approved by the local council. Certificates of Title will generally refer to deposited plans to illustrate the land the subject of the certificate.

  • Design

    A visual representation, in the form of drawings and specifications, of an object to be constructed.

  • Design and Construct (D&C)

    A Contract between a Contractor and a Principal for both design and construction of a project. Usually the Principal supplies partially complete design brief to the Contractor, who then completes the Design and documentation, secures all the necessary Approvals, and constructs the project as per drawings and specifications. In theory, the Principal is relieved of all obligations other than acceptance of design recommendations and payment of the work done. Also known as a package deal, package contract or Design and build contract.

  • Design Construct & Finance Contract (DC&F)

    This is a contract between a Contractor and a Principal for the design, construction and financing of a project. The Principal will usually supply an elementary brief to the Contractor, who then completes the design and documentation, secures all the necessary Approvals, constructs the project as per drawings and specifications and arranges finance for constructing the project. Under a DC&F, the Principal only has to pay the Contractor on completion of the project.

  • Design Documents

    The drawings, specifications and other information, samples, models, patterns and the like required for a project and necessary for the construction of the Works.

  • Design, Construct & Commission Contract

    A contract between a Contractor and a Principal for the design, construction and commissioning of a project. Usually the Principal supplies an elementary brief to the Contractor, who then completes the design and documentation, secures all the necessary Approvals, constructs the project as per drawings and specifications and commissions the project. In commissioning the project the Contractor ensures the completed work is operational through testing and checking the performance of all systems and equipment and confirms compliance with specified requirements.

  • Design, Construct & Maintain (DCM) Contract

    A variation on the Design and Construct method in which the Contractor also takes on responsibility for maintenance of the asset once constructed. This has the benefit for the Principal that the Contractor must take operation and maintenance into account in its design and construction given its incentive to manage the whole of life cost.


  • Digital Engineering

    A collaborative digital process that involves bringing together all of the information about a built asset into a single digital location, to improve project delivery and develop cost-effective, innovative and value-adding assets. It can be used at all stages of project delivery, including feasibility assessments, front end engineering and design, construction and operations.  One common example of Digital Engineering is Building Information Modelling (BIM).

  • Direct Deed

    An arrangement directly between a Principal and a third party (such as a bank or key Subcontractor).

  • Direct Loss

    Loss arising naturally, according to the usual course of things, from the breach of contract itself, and is therefore foreseeable and recoverable. (Contrast with Consequential Loss).

  • Direction

    Includes an agreement, approval, authorisation, certificate, decision, demand, determination, explanation, instruction, notice, order, permission, rejection, request or requirement (AS4300-1995).

  • Directions Hearing

    A pre-trial procedure to regulate the conduct of legal proceedings. Directions for the filing of pleadings, Discovery and other interlocutory or procedural matters are made at these hearings.

  • Disclaimer

    A clause which seeks to limit the application of some of the terms of the Contract, or is otherwise a denial or renouncement of a party's right or liability under a Contract. For example, a party may wish to make clear that it 'does not give any representation or warranty as to the completeness, accuracy or relevance of any information'. Such disclaimers will not, however, be effective if it can be proved as a question of fact that representations were made.

  • Discovery

    A pre-trial procedure where the parties to a dispute exchange a list of documents in their possession, custody or power which are relevant to the issues in the proceedings, and inspect those documents. The method of Discovery varies across jurisdictions.

  • Dispute Adjudication Board (DAB)

    A committee, established by the Principal and the Contractor, where matters of dispute under the Contract are referred for adjudication.  Determinations of the committee as to the nature of the dispute are binding on all parties and the committee is typically comprised of three independent members chosen by the parties. This Dispute Board is used in FIDIC contracts as the first step in the dispute resolution procedure. Also referred to as Dispute Avoidance Board (DAB).

  • Dispute Resolution

    All processes that are used to resolve disputes, whether within or outside court proceedings. (See also Alternative Dispute Resolution.)

  • Dispute Review Board (Dispute Resolution Board) (DRB)

    Some contracts establish a DRB which consists of independent technical experts jointly selected by the parties. When a dispute is not resolved by negotiation, it is formally referred to the board, which is required to present a recommendation concerning that dispute within a short period of time. That recommendation is usually non-binding. Alternatively, recommendations of the board may be binding up to a pre-agreed monetary amount. DRBs aim to achieve speedy resolution of disputes and to avoid the cost of the engagement of consultants and lawyers, as well as availing the parties to focus on project delivery. Also referred to as Dispute Avoidance Boards.

  • Domestic Arbitration

    Where Arbitration is between Australian parties. This is regulated and sanctioned by legislation known as the Uniform Commercial Arbitration Acts in each state. (See also Arbitration and International Arbitration).

  • Domestic Building Contract

    A Contract to carry out or manage domestic building work. Governed by legislation in some states such as NSW, Victoria, Queensland.

  • Drawdown

    The use of or drawing on the sum of money available to a borrower under a credit agreement or loan facility.

  • Drawings

    The documentation used to convey the design or technical details for construction purposes. Drawings may be part of the Contract Documents (such as architectural and service drawings) or for coordination between trades (such as Shop Drawings).

  • Drone

    An unmanned aircraft system piloted using software or remote control.  In the construction context, drones can be used to capture aerial photography, data and mapping information relevant to surveys, inspections, monitoring activities on site and security surveillance.

  • Dry Hire

    The hire of equipment without operating personnel. (Contrast with Wet Hire).

  • Due Diligence

    The investigation of a transaction and related documents for the purposes of ensuring that all legal procedures are complied with.

  • Duress

    Pressuring or persuading someone to do something, or refrain from doing something. In the contractual context, duress means applying illegitimate pressure to obtain a contractual promise, payment, service or other benefit.

  • Duty of Care

    A duty of care involves an obligation on the person who owes the duty to take reasonable steps to ensure that particular events occur or do not occur. A duty of care by a Defendant to a Plaintiff must be present in order to establish a claim for negligence. A breach of a duty of care can give rise to legal remedies.

  • Duty of Fairness

    This is one of the principles of tendering that operate to limit the discretion of the Principal in awarding a Contract, which ensures the fairness and transparency of the tendering process. However, the application of this duty can be modified by Exclusion Clauses (or 'privilege' clauses) by Principals in tendering documents.