Documents in construction disputes

The following Construction practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Documents in construction disputes
  • The role of documentary evidence
  • Pre-contract documents and statements
  • Draft contractual documents, correspondence and negotiations
  • Other documents
  • Contract documents and documents issued during the project
  • Contract documents
  • Notices, contractual correspondence and instructions
  • Other communications between the parties
  • Internal records/documents held by the parties
  • More...

Documents in construction disputes

The role of documentary evidence

In any civil dispute, contemporary evidence will be at the foundation of a party’s case. Documents will, in most cases, provide the principal and most reliable form of such evidence. The position is no different in relation to construction disputes.

The volumes and types of documents that may be available in relation to construction disputes may be large and varied. Construction contracts themselves can be substantial, and typically contain prescriptive regimes for the issue of notices, certificates and other information throughout the project lifecycle. Beyond the contract, the complexity and duration of projects, the involvement of multiple parties, and the regulatory requirements to which construction works are subject, all contribute to the production of documents and correspondence. If properly maintained and used, this documentation will be valuable when disputes arise. While parties will often rely upon expert and factual witness evidence, such evidence will generally not substitute contemporaneous documentary records. First, construction disputes often involve matters of technical and factual complexity, which may not be appropriate for witness of fact evidence. Second, the duration of projects may be such that the same personnel have not been continuously involved, or that individuals’ recollections of events may not be precise. Witness of fact evidence may, therefore, explain or put documentary evidence into context, or offer evidence where there are no relevant

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