Construction Risk

Subject LAWS70149 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 7 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

September, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start 17-Aug-2016
Teaching Period 14-Sep-2016 to 20-Sep-2016
Assessment Period End 14-Dec-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 14-Dec-2015
Census Date 14-Sep-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 04-Nov-2016

This subject has a quota of 30 students. Please refer to the Melbourne Law Masters website for further information about the management of subject quotas and waitlists.

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 24-26 hours
Total Time Commitment:

136-150 hours

The pre-teaching period commences four weeks before the subject commencement date. From this time, students are expected to access and review the Reading Guide that will be available from the LMS subject page and the subject materials provided by the subject coordinator, which will be available from Melbourne Law School. Refer to the Reading Guide for confirmation of which resources need to be read and what other preparation is required before the teaching period commences.

Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge:

Applicants without legal qualifications should note that subjects are offered in the discipline of law at an advanced graduate level. While every effort will be made to meet the needs of students trained in other fields, concessions will not be made in the general level of instruction or assessment. Most subjects assume the knowledge usually acquired in a degree in law (LLB, JD or equivalent). Applicants should note that admission to some subjects in the Melbourne Law Masters will be dependent upon the individual applicant’s educational background and professional experience.

Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

The Melbourne Law Masters welcomes applications from students with disabilities. The inherent academic requirements for study in the Melbourne Law Masters are:

  • The ability to attend a minimum of 75% of classes and actively engage in the analysis and critique of complex materials and debate;
  • The ability to read, analyse and comprehend complex written legal materials and complex interdisciplinary materials;
  • The ability to clearly and independently communicate in writing a knowledge and application of legal principles and interdisciplinary materials and to critically evaluate these;
  • The ability to clearly and independently communicate orally a knowledge and application of legal principles and interdisciplinary materials and critically evaluate these;
  • The ability to work independently and as a part of a group;
  • The ability to present orally and in writing legal analysis to a professional standard.

Students who feel their disability will inhibit them from meeting these inherent academic requirements are encouraged to contact Student Equity and Disability Support.


Mr Tony Horan



Mr Tony Horan (Coordinator)
Mr Peter Wood

Phone: +61 3 8344 6190

Subject Overview:

Risk and insurance are at the heart of all construction projects, yet their role and detailed provisions are often misunderstood, leading to significant losses and disputation. The already-sophisticated contracting landscape has, in recent years, been made significantly more complicated by the introduction of proportionate liability reforms. This subject will examine these issues with particular emphasis on how risk can be managed to minimise losses.

The lecturers are expert navigators in relation to these complex issues. They have leading-edge expertise in advising on risk, security for performance and insurance in the construction context.

Principal topics include:

  • Identifying risk in a construction project and how various industry participants (including principals, contractors, designers, professional advisers, insurers, security providers, and statutory and government authorities) may bear responsibility
  • Philosophies and commercial drivers affecting risk allocation in construction contracts and consultancy agreements, and how these are reflected in standard forms
  • Security for performance mechanisms, including cash retentions, unconditional undertakings, parent guarantees, insurance bonds, adjudication bonds and other instruments
  • Insurance products available to the construction industry (including public liability, works insurance, professional indemnity workers’ compensation and domestic building insurance) and the law relating to them, including regulation by legislation, common law principles and treatment under standard-form construction contracts and consultancy agreements
  • Proportionate liability regimes (including Part IVAA of the Wrongs Act 1958 (Vic)) and their impact on contract risk allocation.
Learning Outcomes:

A student who has successfully completed this subject will:

  • Have an advanced and integrated understanding of the role and function of risk and insurance in relation to construction projects
  • Have enhanced their expert and specialised cognitive and technical skills required to analyse and advise upon risk and insurance issues in the construction industry
  • Be familiar with, be able to critically reflect on, and be confident in working across, the interaction between the technical, commercial and legal aspects of construction risk allocation and insurance
  • Be able to demonstrate the research and communication skills required to independently investigate, examine and analyse existing and emerging legal issues relating to construction risk and insurance.
  • Take-home examination (5,000-6,000 words as specified in the subject reading guide) (100%) (11 - 14 November)
  • 10,000 word research paper (100%) (14 December) on a topic approved by the subject coordinator

A minimum of 75% attendance is a hurdle requirement.

Prescribed Texts:

Specialist printed materials will be made available free of charge from the Melbourne Law School prior to the pre-teaching period.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Links to further information:
Related Course(s): Graduate Diploma in Construction Law
Graduate Diploma in Environmental Law
Graduate Diploma in Legal Studies
Master of Commercial Law
Master of Construction Law
Master of Environmental Law
Master of Laws
Master of Public and International Law
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Tailored Specialisation

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