Why Use CCDC Contracts?

  • March 16, 2023
  • Clive N. Thurston, president, Thurston Consulting Services Inc., former president of the Ontario General Contractors Association

During my time working in the construction industry, which goes back to the 80s, the discussion over the value of using Canadian Construction Documents Committee (CCDC) contracts has been a repeating theme -- one that continues to provide fodder for those wishing to increase their own business by professing to write their own and better contract forms.

Those who know my history know that I am not shy when it comes to commenting on the work of the CCDC committee and its constituent partners, working to try and make it better, even if that has meant challenging the status quo.

Recently, I read a social media post by a prominent lawyer who expressed his dislike of CCDC contracts and preferred that his clients use him to procure their own contract.

In my opinion, having standardized contracts produced by the experts who comprise the CCDC committee, is a benefit to the industry. The committee’s work is vetted by numerous stakeholder organizations across the country, including owners, and this makes for a far more equitable contract than one produced for and by one segment of the construction process.

There is no disagreement that the documents are not perfect. They are reached through a consensus process by a lot of hard-working volunteer professionals. They work, sometimes for years, to develop a product that can be used nationally.

That in itself creates the potential for some weaknesses, and while there are gaps in the documents, the truth is that they provide a solid and understood foundation upon which buyers and suppliers of design and construction services can build a workable and successful contract to deliver their projects.