Course syllabus


TEK140 TEK140 Construction contract relationships lp2 HT20 (7.5 hp)

Course is offered by the department of Technology Management and Economics


TEK140 Construction Contract Relationships: Course PM

(Preliminary programme)

MSc Course TEK140, 7.5 he credits




Examiner and teacher : Martine Buser associate professor, Construction Management CM,

Course assistant and teacher: Linda Sandström, PhD student, CM,



Anna Kadefors, Professor, KTH,

Christian Koch, Professor CM,

Daniella Troje, PhD, Service Management & Logistics, TME,

Erik Jansson, Legal counsel, Skanska,

Mats Karlsson, Trafikverket, Professor of the practice at the division of structural engineering,

Stefan Gottlieb, guest researcher CM,



The contract is probably the most fundamental institution of private law. A contract is a legally binding agreement between two or more parties that defines the conditions surrounding the exchange of goods and services. Construction projects are carried out in collaboration between several firms and other organizations. Because of interdependencies and needs for information exchange between the parties, managing the inter-organizational relationships requires attention to both risks and responsibilities as defined in the formal contract, and also to softer relational and ethical issues. The aim of this course is to provide students with the knowledge to understand the role of contracts in project work in the construction industry. The course will moreover provide students with knowledge on formal as well as informal bases of social order in construction - whether contractually defined or not. Finally, course will introduce the students to issues related to procurement and legislation as these interact with contract and influence the successful management of contractual relationships in construction.


Learning outcomes (after completion of the course the student should be able to)


  • Understand what a contract is in different theoretical perspectives
  • Understand basic principles of general contract law
  • Identify and describe aspects of public regulations, including principles for sustainable procurement


  • Describe and analyze differences between legal systems, traditions and phases
  • Apply knowledge on contract law in an analysis of cases
  • Analyze and compare formal and informal basis of relationships in construction
  • Analyze activities to support trust, cooperation and innovation in project relationships


  • Evaluate contractual and procurement arrangements suitable for a specific project
  • Define, formulate and solve contractual issues through process-based pedagogy
  • Critically reflect on the role of contracts in construction (project) relationships


  • Organization of the construction industry: types of firms and roles.
  • The nature of contracts.
  • Principles of construction law, standard contracts and their roles.
  • Formal and informal bases of social order.
  • Regulation and quasi-regulation.
  • Transactional and relational contracting.
  • Transaction costs.
  • Procurement principles, including award criteria, risk allocation in contracts, public procurement, EU directives, sustainability.
  • Partnerships, partnering and collaboration: types, systems, second-order contracts, trust and communication.


The course includes the following learning activities:

  • lectures, including guest speakers from industry and academia
  • literature seminars
  • workshops
  • group assignment
  • individual assignment
  • oral presentations


The literature will be provided during the course 10-15 main articles.
Course literature also includes handouts from lectures (including slides).
Selected readings for the group assignment.

Examination including compulsory elements

  • Written examination
  • Written and oral presentation of group assignment
  • Individual assignment




Type of session


Formal aspects of contracts



Tuesday 3/11   09.00-11.45




Lecture 1

·       Introduction to the course

·       What is a contract







Wednesday 4/11   09.00-11.45




Lecture 2

·       Procurement routes/ strategies:

·       Contract, payment principles and tendering



Thursday 5/11   09.00-11.45




Lecture 3

·       Legal framework law, standard




Thursday 5/11   13.15-17.00




Literature seminar

Presentation of the group assignment




Wednesday 11/11   09.00-11.45




Lecture  4

·       Contract economy transaction costs






Thursday 12/11   09.00-11.45




Contract workshop (1)


Contracts in practice



Friday 13/11   09.00-11.45




 Lecture 5

·       Public -private procurements




Thursday  19/11   09.00-11.45




Test on the vocabulary and principles

Contract forms workshop (2)





Friday 20/11.  09.00-11.45




Lecture 6

·       Managing the construction and sub-contractors’ relationships




Thursday 26/11   09.00-11.45




Lecture 7

·       Closing the contract

·       Handling of Change requests

·       Handling of Non conformances




Thursday 26/11    13.15- 16.00




 Supervision 1






Tuesday 01/12   09.00-11.45




Lecture 8

·       Claim and disputes

·       Risk assessment





Thursday 03/12   09.00-11.45




Lecture 9

·       Collaboration and trust



Tuesday 08/12   09.00-11.45 -13.15-16.00




Workshop role play on contract conflict (3)

Two sessions with half of the class 




New developments on contracts


Wednesday 9/12 09.00-12.45




Lecture 10

·       Sustainable procurement




Thursday 10/12




Supervision 2






Tuesday 15/12 09.00-10.45




Lecture 11

·       Today and tomorrow challenges 





Wednesday 16/12  the whole day
















January 2021

Deadline to upload group and individual assignments



The course is composed of 19 sessions all taking place online:

  • 11 lectures
  • 3 workshops
  • 1 literature seminar
  • 2 supervision sessions
  • 1-day presentation
  • 1 online exam

Mandatory events

  • Literature seminar 5/11 between 13.15-16.00
  • Contract workshop 12/11 between 9.00-11.45
  • Exams 19/11 between 09.00-10.00
  • Contract forms workshop 19/11 10.00-11.45
  • Conflict negotiation workshop 8/12 we have 2 sessions on site half the class, 09.00 11.45 and 13.15-16.00/digital version available
  • Paper presentation 16/12 09.00-16.00

Assignments and examination for TEK 140 Construction contract relationship

The grading of TEK 140 is composed of three elements

  1. Online exams on vocabulary and concept 20 % of the total grade
  2. Individual assignment a summary of 5 lectures 30% of the total grade
  3. Written assignment and presentation in group 50% of the total grade

Active participation in seminars and workshops can affect the final grading.

Online exams mandatory event Thursday 19/11

A multiple choice questionnaire, with a few open questions

Individual assignment

The individual assignment consists of summaries of 5 out of the 11 lectures of the course.

  • Summary of around 600-800 words per lecture.
  • 3 parts, of approximately the same length.
    1. A recap of the key concepts and theories presented during the session
    2. A description of 1-2 issues that made you react during the class and why
    3. Key issue/message that you will take with you from the lecture and why.

All 5 lecture summaries should be compiled into one document

This assignment is graded 5, 4, 3 or fail and constitutes 30 % of the final grade

Hand-in: 13 January, 2021. Word file. With each summary starting on a new page and title and date of lecture clearly stated.

Call the file TEK140+lectures+your name, remember your name on the document and upload on Canvas.

Project assignment

Project assignment process

The project assignment builds on a literature study and an interview study. The assignment is carried out in groups of 4-5 students. The group will be formed by the teachers and announced at the project assignment introduction on, when the teams also start the topic selection process. Selection of topic needs to be done no later than 15.00 on 13 November. A list of topics will be presented on Canvas in relation to the project assignment introduction. The purpose of the literature study is to provide a deeper theoretical understanding of a topic related to the course. In this assignment, you will search for literature sources on a specific topic. These can be books, articles and web pages. Thus, you will train skills in searching for information  and writing academic texts with formally correct references.

A minimum of 8 different academic references should be used.

Use the Harvard model for references (see ACE120).

The purpose of the interview study is that students should develop a deeper understanding of practitioners’ perspectives on contracts and relationships in construction projects. The group is responsible for finding 1-3 interviewees and organizing the interviews. The interviews will have two parts. One with general interview questions that concern the interviewees’ perceptions, preferences and experiences of various procurement routes and contracts (traditional, design-build, partnering, management, etc.), and one part that focuses on the topic chosen for the project assignment.

For the first part a general guideline will be provided on Canvas and adapted by  each group to fit the interviewees’ organizational belonging. The second part of the interviews each group will develop depending on chosen topic.


The group will be assigned a supervisor after the selection of topic. Each supervisor will make separate arrangements for her/his groups. Two supervision sessions are organised. Dates for each session are recommended in the schedule above, but arrangements are made with each individual supervisor and can be held outside of these dates if better suited for the groups and supervisor. General questions and advice, for example concerning topic choice, will be handled in connection with lectures and/or by email.

Compulsory presentation and opposition

Oral presentation (compulsory). Online 16 December. Please be on time for the presentation since the schedule is tight.

Opposition (compulsory): Before the presentation (deadline 23.55 on 14 December) you submit a first draft of your assignment paper on Canvas to make it available for opponents and teachers. You will oppose on two other works, as main opponent and as second opponent. As opponent group you provide oral feedback and written comments (1-2 pages) to these two other groups. Bring a printed copy of your comments to the presentation/opposition session. The teachers will provide a list of peer groups.

Paper: Groups should upload their finished assignment paper on Canvas not later than 23.55 on 13 January. The paper is checked for plagiarism in Urkund. The file should be named Group_X_project_assignment.

The paper must follow the Paper Template TEK140 provided on Canvas.

The text should be within the range of 3000-4000 words excl. reference list.

The assignment is graded 5, 4, 3 or fail and constitutes 50 % of the final grade

Requirements and grading

Examination requirements are:

  • a written exam 20%
  • completed project assignment, including paper and oral presentation 30%
  • the individual feedback on the course lectures 50%

You must pass the written exam and have assisted to the mandatory sessions in order to pass the course.


Course summary:

Date Details Due