Canada: Dawn Of The ‘Super Contract’

Reducing the number of standard construction contracts

Over the years, the Canadian Construction Documents Committee (CCDC) has developed and kept current a series of standard construction contracts for use across the country. Among the many such contracts standardized by CCDC, seven govern the relations between owners and prime contractors.

Those seven can be divided into three categories:

  • general contract (i.e. CCDC 2, CCDC 3, CCDC 4, and CCDC 18);
  • design-build contract (i.e. CCDC 14); and
  • construction management contract (i.e. CCDC 5A and CCDC 5B).

General contract

In the general contract category, the owner entrusts the prime contractor with overall performance of the work, and the latter sub-contracts directly with any trade contractors whose services may be required (i.e. Canadian Construction Association [CCA] 1, Stipulated Price Subcontract).

Those four CCDC contracts essentially differ in the way the prime contractor is remunerated. That is either:

  • with a single, pre-determined fixed price or lump sum (CCDC 2, Stipulated Price Contract, and CCDC 18, Civil Works Contract);
  • on a cost-plus basis (CCDC 3, Cost-plus Basis); or
  • on the basis of a pre-determined fixed amount for each unit of work performed (CCDC 4, Unit Price Contract).


For CCDC 14, Design-Build Stipulated Price Contract, in addition to the overall performance of the work, the owner entrusts the prime contractor with its design. If necessary, the contractor engages one or more consultants to perform the required design services (CCDC 15, Design Services Contract between Design-Builder and Consultant) and enters into sub-contracts with any trade contractors whose services may be required (CCA 1).

Construction management

In this scenario, the owner engages a construction manager to provide advisory, administration, and oversight services (e.g. pre-construction, construction, and post-construction phases). In the case of CCDA 5A, Construction Management Contract for Services, the owner contracts directly with the trade contractors for the performance of the work (CCDC 17, Stipulated Price Contract for Trade Contractors on Construction Management Projects).

In the case of contract CCDA 5B, Construction Management Contract for Services and Construction, the construction manager is responsible for performing the work and subcontracting with any trade contractors whose services may be required (CCA 1).

Sorting out confusion

Supplemented by agreements between the prime contractor and subcontractors (CCA 1 for contracts CCDC 2, 3, 4, 14 [construction phase], 18, and 5B), between the prime contractor and the consultant (CCDC 15 for CCDC 14 [design phase]), and between the owner and the trade contractor (CCDC 17 for CCDC 5A), together with their respective user guides, this plethora of standard contracts poses a significant document-management challenge for both the parties and their legal counsel.

How can we facilitate the selection of the most appropriate standard contract, avoid situations where the client insists on using a less appropriate one1 and concentrate our conservation, training, and updating efforts on a reduced number of documents? The solution may be reliance on 'super contracts.'

Super contracts

The authors believe contracts CCDC 5A and 5B already have potential for 'super contracts' because they are suited to a great many situations covered by contracts CCDC 2, 3, 4, and 18. For example:

  1. They provide (on their own or on a combined basis) for all modes of remuneration.2
  2. They can be concluded before, during, or after the design phase,3 according to the project's progress and the range of pre-construction, construction, and post-construction services included à la carte in Schedule A1.4
  3. They allow the parties to choose their degree of risk exposure, depending on whether or not the prime contractor assumes responsibility for the work (CCDC 5A5 versus CCDC 5B,6 commonly called an 'at-risk construction management contract').
  4. In the case of CCDC 5B, the title of 'construction manager' is not at odds with that of 'contractor,' since the former is not acting as agent of the owner.

Since the CCDC 5 contracts are not currently suited to the design-build scenario, the next revision could be, via a schedule providing for a design services option. The advantages would be manifold, including:

  • reducing the large amount of paperwork;
  • increasing the ability to concentrate development and training efforts by focusing on these contracts; and
  • minimizing the risk and expense associated with identifying and properly understanding the appropriate contract.

Further, the concept of super contracts would resolve the question of pre-construction services often offered in practice by the prime contractor, but not covered as comprehensively as under CCDC 5B (which covers details that may prove useful to the parties in the event of abandonment of the project or abrupt termination of the contract by the owner).

Additionally, it offers the parties additional options not found in contracts CCDC 2, 3, 4, and 18, such as:

  • combination of modes of remuneration;
  • conversion of a cost-plus contract into a fixed price or lump sum contract; and
  • a range of à la carte and refundable cost services.

While reducing the number of standard contracts between owners and prime contractors would be a step in the right direction, the authors feel the remainder should be significantly trimmed down, as they are often intimidating to owners and trade contractors due to the sheer number of provisions they contain.

This article first appeared on the Construction Canada website.


1. Such is the case with contract CCDC 3, which is often preferred over CCDC 5B.

2. See Section A-5, Schedule A-1, Schedule A-2, Schedule B, and, in the case of 5-B, the Lump Sum Schedule.

3. Contracts CCDC 2 and CCDC 18 are ill-suited to projects in the design phase. As for CCDC 3, it is more suitable but the range of pre-construction services and related fees is not as comprehensive as under CCDC 5B.

4. All that is required is to adequately flesh out the agreement—particularly sections A-3 and Schedule A-1—in accordance with the project's progress.

5. It is less risky for the contractor as the latter does not directly assume responsibility for performing the work, which is assumed directly by the trade contractors who have contracted with the owner (CCDC 17).

6. This is because the contractor directly assumes the responsibility for the performance of the work vis-à-vis the owner.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Langlois lawyers, LLP
Miller Thomson LLP
In association with
Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Langlois lawyers, LLP
Miller Thomson LLP
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions