Course syllabus


TEK141 Construction Contract Relationships: Course PM 2023

(Preliminary programme)

Screenshot 2023-10-12 at 14.47.18.png


MSc Course TEK141, 7.5 he credits

 Welcome to TEK141!


Examiner and teacher: Martine Buser associate professor, ACE,


Anna Almroth and Annakarin Skogsberg, lawyers, MAQS

Anna Kadefors, Professor, KTH,

Daniella Troje, PhD, Post doc, KTH,

Dimosthenis Kifokeris, Assistant professor, ACE,

Kim Jacobsen, PhD, consultant

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

Stefan Gottlieb, Senior Researcher, Department of the Built Environment, Aalborg University, Copenhagen,

Course purpose


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 
  • supervisions

Lectures primary purpose is to provide an overview of the relevant theories and concepts within the topic, in conjunction with the course literature. The lectures themselves are not sufficient for acquiring theoretical knowledge, and students are expected to take significant responsibility for reading the literature.

Supervision is offered at two occasions and should be scheduled by groups with their respective supervisors. Guidance for the project is only provided during the sessions. It is advisable to come well-prepared to these sessions.




Course day


Type of session


Formal aspects of contracts



Tuesday 31/10   09.00-11.45  SB-H6




Lecture 1

·       Introduction to the course

·       What is a contract





Wednesday 1/11   09.00-11.45  SB-H3




Lecture 2

·       Procurement routes/ strategies:

·       Contract, payment principles and tendering




Thursday 2/11  10.00-11.45  HC3 !!



·                               Workshop 1

·                               -       The contract content



Thursday 2/11   13.15-17.00 SB-M500 Mandatory




·       Literature seminar

·       Presentation of the group assignment




Tuesday 7/11   09.00-11.45 SB-H7




Lecture 3

·       Legal framework

Anna A. and Annakarin S.


Tuesday 7/11   13.15-16.00  SB-H2




Lecture 4

·       Contract economy transaction costs



Wednesday 8/11   09.00-11.45 SB-H3




Lecture 5

·       Collaboration and trust



Contracts in practice



Friday 10/11   09.00-11.45 SB-H6




 Lecture 6

·       Public -private procurements




Tuesday 14/11   09.00-11.45 HC3!! Mandatory




Test on the vocabulary and principles, mandatory in class!

Lecture 7

·       Managing the construction and sub-contractors’ relationships






Friday 17/11.  09.00-11.45 SB-H6  Mandatory




Workshop 2

·       Forms of contract



Tuesday 21/11 to be organized with your supervisor




·       Supervision 1





Thursday 23/11   09.00-11.45 SB-H6




Lecture 8

·       Closing the contract

·       Handling of Change requests

·       Handling of Non conformances



New developments on contracts



Tuesday 28/11 13.15-16.00 SB-H1



                                 Lecture 9

·                                Sustainable procurement



Friday 01/12   09.00-11.45 SB-H5 am;



                                Lecture 10

·                               ICT and BIM contract



Friday 01/12  13.15-16.00  SB-H8 pm Mandatory



                                Workshop 3

·                               ICT and BIM contract



Tuesday /Wednesday 5-7/12 organized with your supervisor




Supervision 2






Thursday 7/12 09.00-11.45  SB-H2     




Lecture 11

·       Claim and disputes

·       QA





Tuesday 12/12 08.45-12.00  in SB-L200    13.00-16.15 in  SB-R245    Mandatory




  • Class divided in 3 groups
  • Presentation 1 session in the morning
  • 2 session in the afternoon
  • 30 minutes per group




18 Bis 

Wednesday 13/12 08.45-12.00 SB-L285




  • Class divided in 3 groups
  • Presentation 3 session in the morning
  • 30 minutes per group




Glögg !






January 12 2024

Deadline to upload group and individual assignments



The course is composed of 18 sessions:

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

Course literature

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

Changes made since the last occasion

As the number of students is higher this year, we will have to divide the  class into three groups for the presentation.

Assignments et examination for TEK 141 Construction contract relationship

The grading of TEK 141 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 seminar and workshops can affect the final grading.

Online test mandatory event Thursday 17/11

A multiple choice questionnaire, with a few open questions. The test is taken in class and you can have access to the material, but the time is limited! The purpose of the test is to secure that students have learnt the vocabulary and main concepts related to contracts

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: 12 January, 2024. 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 will choose their topic. 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 10 different academic references should be used.

Use the ATA or 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) 12 December.

Please be on time for the presentation since the schedule is tight.

Opposition (compulsory): Before the presentation (formal deadline 17.00 on 08 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. The teacher will provide a list of peer groups.

Paper: Groups should upload their finished assignment paper on Canvas not later than 12 January 2023. The paper is checked for plagiarism in Urkund. The file should be named Group_X project_assignment.

The paper must follow the Paper Template TEK141 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 online test 20%
  • the individual feedback on the course lectures 30%
  • completed project assignment, including paper and oral presentation 50%
  • attended the mandatory seminars and 80% of the sessions

To successfully complete the course, you are required to pass the online test, participate in the mandatory sessions, and have an attendance rate of at least 80% of the sessions.

Grades Individual grades will be used according to the scale; U (Fail), 3 (Pass), 4, and 5. 

The following grade criteria are used to determine how well the student demonstrates these abilities and meets the course learning objectives. A higher grade level assumes abilities at lower levels.

5 (Excellent) The student demonstrates the ability to critically reflect from a holistic perspective on the various theoretical perspectives included in the course, as well as transfer and apply insights in new meaningful contexts.

4 (Very Good) The student demonstrates the ability to understand and use concepts to explain how the various dimensions of the course relate to each other, are interconnected, and become meaningful from a higher and coherent subject perspective.

3 (Pass) The student demonstrates the ability to address the content, tasks, and problem complexes of the course from several different, well-developed but mainly independent perspectives.

U (Fail) The student's knowledge, abilities, and skills in the course area show deficiencies in whole or in substantial part.



Course summary:

Date Details Due