Higher Education

Legal Aspects of Architecture, Engineering and the Construction Process, 9th Edition

  • Justin Sweet University of California, Berkeley (Emeritus)
  • Marc M. Schneier
  • ISBN-10: 1111578710  |  ISBN-13: 9781111578718
  • 1088 Pages
  • Previous Editions: 2009, 2005, 2000
  • © 2013 | Published
  • College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $197.75
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The primary focus of this text is to provide a bridge for students between the academic world and the real world. This bridge is built through an understanding of what is law, how law is created, how law affects almost every activity of human conduct, and how legal institutions operate. Intended mainly for architectural and engineering students, but increasingly for those in business schools and law schools, this text features a clear, concise, and jargon-free presentation. It probes beneath the surface of legal rules and uncovers why these rules developed as they did, outlines arguments for and against these rules, and examines how they work in practice. Updated with the most recent developments in the legal aspects of architectural, engineering, and the construction processes, this text is also a valuable reference for practitioners and has been cited in over twenty-five court decisions.

Features and Benefits

  • Provides the legal backdrop against which engineers and architects must perform professional services.
  • Describes the alternatives for performing design professional services and methods of formalizing the agreed upon services.
  • Concentrates on new provisions in the standard documents published by the AIA and EJCDC (included in the Appendixes).
  • Many illustrations of how the legal rules operate are provided through summaries of actual cases and the reproduction of some cases.
  • Compensation issues are addressed, whether for design professionals (highlighting the distinction between basic and additional services) or for construction companies, including unlicensed contractors.
  • Understandable text that highlights recurring issues such as extras, allocation of responsibility during construction among the major actors, resolution of disputes and termination.
  • Familiarizes students with industry practices, dispute avoidance practices, and alternative dispute resolution.
  • Addresses alternative project delivery methods: construction management, design/build, lean project delivery, project alliance, program management, project alliance and building information modeling.
  • The book covers the "stigma" effect of defective construction, green or sustainability design and construction, "new home warranty" and the "right to cure" laws.
  • Includes instructions for non-legal students and non-lawyers on how to properly cite case decisions.

Table of Contents

1. Sources Of Law: Varied And Dynamic.
2. The American Judicial System: A Forum For Dispute Resolution.
3. Forms Of Business Association: Organizing To Accomplish Objectives.
4. Agency And Employment.
5. Contracts: From Formation To Breach.
6. Torts: Legal Relations Not Arising From Contract.
7. Restrictions On Ownership: Land Use Controls And Environmental Law.
8. Introduction To The Construction Process: Focus On The Prime Contractor And Regulatory Framework.
9. Licensing Of The Design Professional And Contractor.
10. The Design Professional – Client Relationship.
11. Design Professional Liability.
12. Defenses To Claims Of Design Professional Liability.
13. Intellectual Property: Ideas, Copyrights, Patents And Trade Secrets.
14. Project Delivery Variations.
15. Public Contracts.
16. Performance Disputes Overview: Claims And Defenses To Liability For The Owner And Prime Contractor.
17. Construction Contracts And Rules Of Contract Interpretation.
18. Changes: Complex Construction Centerpiece.
19. Payment: Money Flow As Lifeline.
20. Subsurface Problems: Predictable Uncertainty.
21. Time: Project Scheduling And Delay Claims.
22. Dispute Remedies: Damages.
23. The Subcontracting Process: An "Achilles Heel".
24. Terminating A Construction Contract: Sometimes Necessary But Always Costly.
25. Risk Management: Indemnity And Insurance.
26. Risk Management: Surety Bonds Backstopping Contractors.
27. Dispute Resolution Outside Of Litigation: Contractual Claims Process, Arbitration And Other Dispute Resolution Methods.

What's New

  • Chapters are now grouped into parts according to major themes to easier facilitate student's understanding of book organization.
  • Each chapter now starts with an overview section to amplify understanding of the chapter's purpose.
  • Much of the material has been reorganized, streamlined, and/or updated.
  • New topics include the employer-employee relationship; the dual employer doctrine; and independent contractors. In addition, discussion of workers' compensation is moved to this chapter.
  • Expanded discussion of: acceptance by communication; E-sign; and regulation of contracts entered into by homeowners.
  • Updated discussion of tort history and greatly expanded discussion of the independent contractor rule and the economic loss doctrine.
  • Includes two new topics within the Environmental law discussion: the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act.
  • New discussion of "green" or sustainable design.
  • New materials on alternatives to competitive bidding.

Efficacy and Outcomes


"One should start by saying that this book has attained the status as the "gold standard" of books on construction law. It is, perhaps, the most widely used college text on the subject and is one of the most widely used reference works for construction industry professionals…. The book should be a highly valued part of every construction professional's library."

— Robert A. Rubin, Esq, P.E., F.ASCE

"This book's annotated cases are its strongest feature. They are excellent and provide outstanding explanations of the case, the participants, the court and the evidence. They are outstanding."

— Charles Glagola, University of Florida


All supplements have been updated in coordination with the main title. Select the main title's "About" tab, then select "What's New" for updates specific to title's edition.

For more information about these supplements, or to obtain them, contact your Learning Consultant.

Instructor Supplements

Instructor Solutions Manual  (ISBN-10: 1111578729 | ISBN-13: 9781111578725)

Provides complete, worked-out solutions to all the problems in the text. Also includes analysis of the legal cases presented in the text.

Meet the Author

Author Bio

Justin Sweet

Justin Sweet is the John H. Boalt Professor of Law, Emeritus at the University of California at Berkeley. Born and raised in Wisconsin, he attended the University of Wisconsin, where he received a B.A., phi beta kappa, in literature in 1951 and an LL.B. in 1953. He was note editor for the "Law Review" and Order of the Coif. After serving on the staff of the attorney general of Wisconsin, he was in the Judge-Advocate General's Corps and later practiced in Milwaukee. He joined the Boalt faculty in 1958, where he taught Contracts, Construction Law, and Insurance until the early 1990s. Sweet was a visiting professor at the University of Rome (as a Fulbright Lecturer), Hebrew University, University of Leuven in Belgium, Osgoode Hall in Canada, Tel-Aviv University, and the University of Fribourg. He has written articles in many legal journals, many of which were collected in Sweet, Anthology of Construction Law Writings by the American Bar Association in 2010. He also wrote Sweet on Construction Law for the American Bar Association in 1997. Beginning in 2010, he has been writing on historic cases in each issue of the Journal of Legal Affairs & Dispute Resolution in Engineering and Construction. He was the co-founder and director of the International Construction Conference. It met in Fribourg, Switzerland, Berkeley, California and Washington D.C.

Marc M. Schneier

For nearly thirty years, Marc M. Schneier has been the Editor of Construction Litigation Reporter, a national reporter analyzing legal developments in the construction industry, which is published by Thomson Reuters/West. He was an Adjunct Professor of Construction Law at the University of San Francisco School of Law, has published numerous articles in various legal journals, and provides consulting services. His first book was CONSTRUCTION ACCIDENT LAW: A COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE TO LEGAL LIABILITY AND INSURANCE CLAIMS, published by the American Bar Association in 1999. His most recent book is LEGAL ASPECTS OF ARCHITECTURE, ENGINEERING AND THE CONSTRUCTION PROCESS, 8th edition, co-authored by Justin Sweet and published in 2009 by Cengage Learning. Marc earned his B.A. in Philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley in 1978. He earned his J.D. from the University of California, Davis (King Hall) in 1981 and was awarded the Bureau of National Affairs Award for academic performance. He practiced law in San Francisco prior to being hired as Editor of Construction Litigation Reporter.