Condition precedents can be found throughout a construction contract although the main focus tends to be within claims for extension of time, variations and payment. Condition precedents can impose strict conditions.

Whilst it is good practice to contain the words ‘It is a conditions precedent that…. ‘ if you wish to create a condition precedent, it is not required. If a clause requires something to be done before another action can be commenced, then this can create a condition precedent. The words forming a condition precedent can also be buried within the wording of a clause – another reason why a contract should be carefully reviewed.

Look out for terms such as ‘provided always that’, ‘by then’ or ‘do this’ or a term which requires you to do something before the next action can occur. It is imperative that all condition precedents are identified within the contract as noncompliance can have serious consequences.

As always read your contracts carefully before signing, identify all condition precedents and put strategies in place to ensure full compliance. If you’re unsure, there’s no harm in asking for clarification – never sign a contract that you don’t understand.