Construction Document Organization

Volume 4, Chapter 2



Construction Document Organization Table.

The construction documents serve as a means of obtaining bids from contractors and are used by contractors to obtain price quotes from subcontractors. The construction documents define the quantities and qualities of, and relationships among, all materials required to construct a project; they establish the contractual obligations for the University and the contractor, and they define the roles of the construction team members (see 1.4).

Since the construction documents become part of the legal construction contract, it is extremely important to produce complete and accurate documents. When the construction documents are complete, they are subject to regulatory code and legal reviews. Upon completion of reviews and approvals, the construction documents are used to solicit bids in accordance with the procedures described in FM5.

Within the three types of standard University construction documents – the Long Form, the Brief Form, and the Mini Form – individual construction documents are carefully formatted and organized in several ways. Unless specified otherwise, the information in this chapter refers to Long Form construction documents. Approved construction document models for each type are located in Part II. 

Additional background material on construction documents and construction contracts may be found in the following publications:

  • The Construction Specifications Institute (Alexandria, VA), Manual of Practice.
  • The American Institute of Architects (Washington, D.C.), Architect's Handbook of Professional Practice.
  • Various publications of The Associated General Contractors of America (Washington, D.C.).



- Manual of Practice, Construction Specifications Institute, Alexandria, VA.

- "Uniform Location of Subject Matter and Information in Construction Documents," Engineers' Joint Contract Documents Committee, Document 1910-16, (published and issued jointly by the American Institute of Architects and the Construction Specifications Institute).

The Construction Specifications Institute's Manual of Practice states in part:

Each [contract] requirement should be stated only one time and in the most logical location. Information in one document should not be repeated in any of the other documents. Each document has a specific purpose and should be used precisely for that purpose. This simplifies the retrieval of information and substantially reduces the possibility of conflicts and discrepancies. Everyone involved with a project benefits from this standardized approach to the placement of information within the construction documents.

The University's standard construction documents have been drafted to meet the above requirements. To the extent feasible, each subject addressed in the construction documents has been stated in only one location, in accordance with the Engineers' Joint Contract Documents Committee's recommendations.

Most construction documents contain articles, paragraphs, and subparagraphs. Each article title is numbered sequentially. Each article is subdivided into numbered paragraphs, e.g., 3.2, which means "Article 3, Paragraph 2." Each paragraph, in turn, is subdivided into numbered subparagraphs, which have no titles. Subparagraphs are referenced by number, e.g., 3.2.2, which means "Article 3, Paragraph 2, Subparagraph 2." The numbering system continues in this manner with each new level of subparagraph.

(Back to top)


The following University construction documents are considered "core" documents and are not to be changed by the Facility:
  • Instructions to Bidders
  • General Conditions

These documents have been carefully prepared to coordinate and conform with the other construction documents. Additions to or modifications of the Instructions to Bidders and the General Conditions are made by adding articles to or modifying articles in, respectively, the Supplementary Instructions to Bidders or the Supplementary Conditions (see 6.1.2). Such additions or modifications require review and approval by Office of the President and Office of the General Counsel before the documents are issued to bidders.

The remaining construction documents are considered "non-core" documents and require completion by the Facility or the contractor. Completion may consist of filling in blanks, adding standard text, adding new text, or preparing the complete document (see 4).

(Back to top)


Contract Documents are the Advertisement For Bids, Instructions To Bidders, Supplementary Instructions to Bidders, Bid Form, this Agreement, General Conditions, Supplementary Conditions, Affirmative Action Program, Exhibits, Specifications, List of Drawings, Drawings, Addenda, Notice to Proceed, Change Orders, Notice of Completion (1), Notice of Completion (2), Notice of Completion (3),and all other documents identified in this Agreement of which together form the contract between University and contractor for the work (the "contract"). The contract constitutes the complete agreement between University and contractor and supersedes any previous agreements or understandings.

(Back to top)

Change # 12-005-D (Revised May 22, 2012)

<< Back to Table of Contents Next chapter >>