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Bespoke forms of contract

The term ‘bespoke’ refers to something that is made for a particular purpose. A bespoke construction contract is a non-standard form of contract that’s drafted in order to suit a particular project or the intentions of the contracted parties.

All construction contracts were once bespoke documents that were drafted for each project. The first standard form of contract for a construction project was issued by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). Since then, there have been many attempts to create the perfect contract.

Advantages of the bespoke contract

Let’s look at some reasons for deciding to use a bespoke contract:

  • Bespoke contracts are often used on smaller projects as they are less expensive to buy and use than SFoCs.

  • Because of their flexible nature, bespoke contracts are also commonly used for technical, complicated and complex projects – large or small – whereas SFoCs are generally used for simple, more straightforward projects.

  • In view of its dynamic or amendable character, standard contracts are commonly used in international or bilateral construction projects to resolve issues bordering on account of laws, customs, and conventions of a country.

  • It’s not compulsory to use SFoC; instead, bespoke contracts have become common practice in the construction industry for procuring contractors, consultants or architects.

Your task

Do you think the use of bespoke contracts is on the rise?

Share your view with other learners in the comments section and support your argument with three specific examples of construction projects in your practice, region or country that have used tailor-made contract agreements.

Further reading

If you’d like to learn more about the different types of construction contracts, you may wish to read ‘A Guide to Construction Contracts’ (Bowmans 2016).

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This article is from the free online course:

Contract Management and Procurement: An Introduction

Coventry University