Casual Legal: Standard form contracts

By Jenna Chamberlain
Reynolds Mirth Richards Farmer LLP
Alberta Municipalities Casual Legal Service Provider

There are many standard form construction contracts available, such as those created by the Canadian Construction Documents Committee (“CCDC”).

CCDC contracts

These contracts are commonly used in the construction industry and cover a wide variety of circumstances, including: 

  • CCDC 2: Stipulated Price Contract 
  • CCDC 3: Cost Plus Contract 
  • CCDC 4: Unit Price Contract 
  • CCDC 5A/5B: Construction Management Contracts 
  • CCDC 14: Design-Build Stipulated Price Contract 
  • CCDC 17: Stipulated Price Contract for Trade Contractors
  • CCDC 31: Service Contract between Owner and Consultant

The costs & benefits of standard form contracts

Standard form contracts are more economical than contracts drafted from scratch. They have been developed over time to cover a wide variety of circumstances, which makes them a good choice for many projects. There has also been more judicial consideration of standard terms and greater certainty and understanding in the interpretation of these terms.

However, there are also downsides to using standard form contracts. Every project and circumstance is unique. No contract perfectly suits every scenario.

The following steps should be taken before entering into any standard form contract:

  1. Know and understand the terms. It is important to know exactly which terms are in the contract and what they mean in relation to your specific project. The same contract could apply differently to different circumstances. Read the terms of the contract through the lens of your current project.  
  2. Consider amendments. Even standard form contracts can be altered through supplemental conditions. Supplemental conditions can remove, add, or amend terms in the standard form contract, as long as the parties agree to these changes. 
  3. Keep track of obligations and rights. There are many protections and obligations built into standard form contracts, typically for the benefit of both parties. For example, notice requirements and dispute clauses are included to assist the parties if issues arise. However, these terms can only assist if you know, understand, and utilize these protections. 
  4. Be up to date. Although standard form contracts are revised periodically, the law may have changed since the last update. It is important to ensure the contract you are using complies with the current relevant law which will apply to your project. 

If you are planning to enter into a standard form contract, we recommend you speak with a lawyer to ensure it is the right fit.

To access Alberta Municipalities Casual Legal Helpline, Alberta Municipalities members can call toll-free to 1-800-661-7673 or send an casuallegal [at] (email) to reach the municipal legal experts at Reynolds Mirth Richards and Farmer LLP. For more information on the Casual Legal Service, please call 310-MUNI (6864) or send an riskcontrol [at] (email) to speak to Alberta Municipalities Risk Management staff. Any Regular or Associate member of Alberta Municipalities can access the Casual Legal Service.

DISCLAIMER: This article is meant to provide information only and is not intended to provide legal advice. You should seek the advice of legal counsel to address your specific set of circumstances. Although every effort has been made to provide current and accurate information, changes to the law may cause the information in this article to be outdated.