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Paper w78-2010-26:
Semantic Detection of Risks and Conflicts in Construction Contracts

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Engy Serag, Hesham Osman, Moustafa Ghanem

Semantic Detection of Risks and Conflicts in Construction Contracts

Abstract: Various problems facing construction contract administrators can be linked back to lack of understanding, misinterpretation and conflicts among contract clauses. Lack of adequate time to analyze contracts during the biding stage results in contractors entering into contracts without sufficient analysis of contractual risks. Advances in the fields of semantic information extraction, text mining and natural language processing create opportunities for developing semi-automated systems for detection of risks and conflicts in construction contracts. This paper presents a framework for semi-automated detection of risks and conflicts in FIDIC contracts. The system is comprised of four main components: 1) A Contract Ontology acts as the core knowledge repository of the system. The ontology contains a formalized representation of FIDIC general conditions and relevant stipulations from legal code, 2) Text mining/NLP module provides semi-automatic parsing tools for supplementary conditions of construction contracts and provide concept / relationship matching in tandem with the ontology, 3) Problematic Clause Database contains examples of high-risk and ambiguous clauses from previous projects and, 4) Logic Reasoners undertake the detection of high risk and conflicting clauses will take place. The paper presents examples of potential ambiguity and conflicts in construction contracts and showcases how the system can be used to semi-automated the detection process.

Keywords: Contract Management, Semantic Systems, Ontologies, Text Mining

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