Adaptation of Standard Contract Documents in Chinese Construction

(FIDIC, AIA, EJCDC, Consensus Docs)



By Shanshan Li

SKEMA Business School

Paris, France



Since China has been devoted to realizing the modernization completely before 2025, it occurs evermore that many construction projects are carried through without standards. Construction contracts as the first guarantee to ensure the success ongoing of the project, therefore have the duty to be formed properly. As China develops slowly in the Contract Law, the contracts we use today don’t match to the current constructions anymore. To make the contracts applied appropriately, this paper will develop which standard contracts such as Fédération Internationale Des Ingénieurs Conseils (FIDIC), American Institute of Architects (AIA) is better to be adapted to make up the defects in the Chinese construction contracts by adopting Dominance method and the Additive Weighting Technique to analyze. Based on the result, it’s suggested to adopt the FIDIC contracts as it has large advantages in most of the aspects of which Chinese contracts is shorting. This paper may help to make improvements to the Chinese construction contracts and create an orderly environment for Chinese construction industry.

Key words: Chinese Construction, Construction Contracts, Adaptation of Contract, Characteristic of Contracts, Pros of Contracts, Cons of Contracts, Comparative Analysis


China nowadays being second-largest economy plans, is at a rapid speed of development, so is the construction industry. In the recent 5 years, China has built several enormous buildings such as Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, the longest cross-sea bridge in the world; Danyang-Kunshan Grande Bridge, the longest worldwide bridge; and Beipanjiang Large Bridge which is the highest bridge all over the world. These are all thrilling achievements in the construction field.

With the ongoing of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, China has set her new direction which is to keep open to these international companies in order to realize the globalization. However, she is faced with many difficulties among which the Chinese standards varying from the popular international standards is a significant problem to deal with. Concerning the construction industry, the standard of contract that China has adopted limits Chinse construction companies’ scope of business.

It is urgently needed to make some reformation to the construction contract to get more suitable to the international criterion. There are mainly four types of contracts widely adopted to the field of construction which are: Fédération Internationale Des Ingénieurs Conseils (FIDIC), American Institute of Architects (AIA), Consensus Docs Construction Contracts (Consensus Docs) and The Engineers Joint Contract Documents Committee (EJCDC). These four types of construction contracts focus on different aspects resulting in their different characteristics. In another words, though used worldwide, some defaults still exist in these four popular construction standard contracts. Therefore, the objective of this paper is to discuss how to adopt these four popular standard contracts to the Chinese construction contracts by analyzing the issues as followed:

  • What are the characteristics of construction contract management in China?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of the standard construction contracts (FIDIC, AIA, EJCDC and Consensus Docs)?
  • Which is the best mode for Chinese construction contracts?


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Editor’s note: Student papers are authored by graduate or undergraduate students based on coursework at accredited universities or training programs.  This paper was prepared as a deliverable for the course “International Contract Management” facilitated by Dr Paul D. Giammalvo of PT Mitratata Citragraha, Jakarta, Indonesia as an Adjunct Professor under contract to SKEMA Business School for the program Master of Science in Project and Programme Management and Business Development.  http://www.skema.edu/programmes/masters-of-science. For more information on this global program (Lille and Paris in France; Belo Horizonte in Brazil), contact Dr Paul Gardiner, Global Programme Director [email protected].

About the Author

Shanshan Li

SKEMA Business School
Paris, France


Shanshan Li
is a student in SKEMA Business School (Paris), with major in Project Management and Business Development (PPMBD). She graduated from Wuhan University of Technology, and holds a bachelor degree of engineering in engineering management. In 2016, she started her study in France and had one year’s study in ECOLE SPECIALE des TRAVAUX PUBLIC (ESTP). In June 2017, she had her internship as a incidents analyst in the Xiaohepengpeng Technology Ltd., Company. In September 2017, she started to study in SKEMA. She lives in Paris, France now, and can be contacted at [email protected]