Hierarchy of Contract Sub-documents: Which One is the Most Important?

Actually, all of these sub-documents are to be taken as mutually explanatory of one another but in the event of any conflict or inconsistency between the documents forming the contract, we need a hierarchy of contract sub-documents.

In my opinion, there are 2 principles in order to arrange this priority of documents:

1. The specific documents should have priority over the general documents

Example, we can see this in FIDIC where particular conditions of contract has been given a priority over general conditions of contract

2. The employer’s documents should have priority over the contractor’s documents

Almost all of the sub-documents listed in this table are the employer’s documents, while the contractor’s documents are usually formed as other documents (which is given as the last priority in all standard form of contracts)

 

Table 2. Hierarchy of Contract Sub-documents

Contract Documents

PWD

PAM

CIDB

FIDIC

Articles of Agreement

2

1

1

Letter of Award/Letter of Acceptance

1

2

2

Conditions of Contract

3

3

5

Particular Conditions of Contract

 

4

Addenda

4

 

Drawings

3

4

5

7

Specifications

5

6

6

Bill of Quantities

4

5

7

 

Schedule of Works

7

8

Form of Tender

1

Letter of Acceptance of Tender

2

3

Treasury’s Instruction

6

Instruction to Tenderers

 

5

Conditions of Tendering

 

5

Preliminaries

 

5

Preambles

 

5

Other documents incorporated

7

6

8

8

 

But again, in my opinion, if the contract which has already been agreed and signed by both parties mentions a different hierarchy of contract sub-documents, then we should accept it as a valid contract although it is a bespoke contract, does not follow the standard form of contract commonly used.

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