The nature of the elements of the building contract for contracting in gross in mid 19th century England
Amhoff, Tilo (2011) The nature of the elements of the building contract for contracting in gross in mid 19th century England In: First Annual Conference of the Netzwerk Architekturwissenschaft, 08-09 Apr 2011, Helmholtz-Centre for Cultural Techniques at Humboldt-University to Berlin. (Unpublished)
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This paper was based on my former MA research into contractual documents and building specifications. I was interested in the architects response to the introduction of contracting in gross and competitive tendering in mid 19th century England, particularly in the conditions this form of contracting set for the production of architecture and building, and in the things that needed to be produced in order to build. One of the consequences of contracting in gross was the requirement to set out the whole project in advance. In contrast to building by measure, in which the cost of the building were calculated by measure after its completion, contracting in gross wanted to guarantee a fixed prices for the whole undertaking in advance; allowing the client to control the expenditure of construction, the contractor to make a profit, and requiring the trades to compete for work. This setting out in advance was done by a variety of building documents, from legal obligations, to building specifications, and working drawings. These documents described and defined the building prior to its realization. They were, to varying extents, used for bills of quantity, instructions to workmen but also served as legal documents. What I am interested in were the methods of describing and defining the building in advance in legal writing in the contractual documents, in the role of these documents in the building process, and in the formation and transformation of the social relations of the people involved in the process of architecture and building production.
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