Construction contracts typically include several components. Key business terms are found in the agreement form, which are then modified by the general and supplementary conditions and the drawings and specifications. In addition, key contract-related information is sometimes included in bidding documents, such as instructions to bidders and bid forms.
For years, there was no generally accepted approach to locating contract information. The publishers of standard construction contracts—the Engineers Joint Contract Documents Committee (EJCDC) and The American Institute of Architects (AIA)—have worked with the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) to establish standard approaches to the structure and organization of construction contract documents for the benefit and guidance of the drafters and users of the documents. EJCDC and AIA issued the first Uniform Location of Subject Matter (ULSM) in 1977. The ULSM provides a comprehensive list of the subjects covered in typical construction documents, and for each topic covered, the ULSM indicates the bidding or contract document in which the principal or primary statement should be located, as well as where any supplemental statement may appear.
The ULSM is useful to construction contract drafters (owners, construction managers, attorneys, architects, engineers, and contractors) not only for determining the recommended location of a subject, but also as a checklist of key topics to be addressed.