The University of Southampton

CENV6157 Law and Contracts for Civil and Environmental Engineers

Module Overview

This module will provide a detailed understanding of the law of contracts and how the law applies to civil engineering and construction overall. In addition, health and safety and the tort of negligence will receive particular attention. The module will examine the contractual aspects of the ICE 5th, 6th and 7th forms of contract, the NEC and also make comparisons with JCT. The module will also consider substitute, additional and amended clauses, their legal interpretation and their impact on contract administration.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

The aim of this module is to provide students with a sufficient understanding of contract law to enable them to recognise the contractual obligations of the various parties to a construction contract. The module will benefit all students, regardless of whether they wish to work for consultants or contractors, who aspire to work in senior management positions. The module will give a good insight into the nuances of the law of contract and construction contracts in particular.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • How problems are addressed in a legal context
  • The province of principle
  • The significance of statutes and case law
  • The way in which the law of contract is implemented in the standard forms of contract.
  • How the contract will be administered during the execution of a project.
  • How the legal system works
  • The criteria which will lead to the adoption of a particular form of contract.
  • The law of contract.
  • The legal aspects of managing health and safety
  • The legal system and the conceptual structure of law
  • The meaning of the key clauses in the standard forms of contract.
  • The process of interpretation and rule making
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Interpret health and safety legislation
  • Critique and analyse unstructured information
  • Evaluate the legal impacts on a particular construction project
  • Interpret individual cases and make informed judgements based on evidence
  • Critique the suitability of alternative forms of contract.
  • Evaluate the contractual risks of the contractual arrangement.
  • Manage health and safety in a proactive way
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Use effective communication to demonstrate rigorous argument through written reports.
  • Manage the health and safety of yourself and others.
  • Synthesise and abstract knowledge from a range of sources and apply to a given situation.
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Use case law to analyse contractual relationships.
  • Apply critical and rigorous arguments to justify a particular contractual approach.


1. Classification and requirements of a contract 2. Acceptance 3. Consideration 4. Intention 5. Terms of the contract 6. Privity 7. Misrepresentation 8. Law of agency 9. Party walls etc Act 10. Duty of care and tort 11. Tort of negligence 12. Comparison of forms of contract 13. Employer’s representatives 14. Work information 15. Compatibility of contract documents 16. Employer’s design liability 16. Employer’s design liability 17. General obligations 18. Unforeseen conditions 19. Method related provisions 20. Contract programmes 21. Insurance 22. Extensions 23. Completion certificates 24. Valuations 25. Determination of the contract

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

The module delivery will be by lectures, case law and hypothetical scenarios.

Independent Study123
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

W.V.H. Rogers. Winfield and Jolowicz on Tort. 

Treitel G.M.. The Law of Contract. 



MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework assignment(s) 40%
Examination  (120 minutes) 60%


MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework assignment(s) 40%
Examination  (120 minutes) 60%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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