What Is in the Contract?

A successful automatic parking system (APS)—and the document that made it happen
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Timing, Approvals, and Getting Started

The supplier should start the design and execution of the project on the date specified in the letter of acceptance or on the date mutually agreed. The maximum duration for commencement of the system should be within 30 days of the date of the letter of acceptance, unless otherwise mutually agreed later.


The APS supplier, in cooperation with the owner/consultant, should provide all of the required drawings and system specifications under the scope of work. However, the owner/consultant should incorporate supplier drawings and system specifications into the owner’s design documents at no cost to the supplier.


Provisions need to be in place in case the approvals for the project are delayed. Any delays in getting the approval due to delays from the statutory authorities should entitle the supplier to an extension of time for completion, as well as reimbursement of any additional cost actually expended by the supplier.

Visas for International Travel

Because the equipment for an APS may be shipped across international borders, it makes sense for the building owner or contractor to obtain the necessary permissions. The owner or consultant should obtain site work permits, visas, or other documents required by authorities, if needed, for the supplier and its staff to install the APS.

Setting Plan and Site Conditions

Before the supplier takes over the site and begins the installation, the owner or consultant should mark site boundaries, gridlines, and levels in accordance with the plans.

Storage of Supplier Equipment

An APS involves a tremendous amount of equipment to be delivered and stored on-site. This is unlike a conventional parking system that involves mainly poured concrete for various floors and ramps. In case the owner/contractor is not ready to accept delivery of the equipment on the date indicated in the contract for any reason, another delivery spot needs to be specified. Otherwise, the supplier may store the materials at an arranged warehouse at the owner’s risk and cost. The owner should reimburse the supplier for additional costs due to extra handling, transfer and warehousing, and extra insurance costs.

Adverse Physical Conditions and Artificial Obstructions

The owner or consultant needs to alert the supplier in writing of any physical obstructions or physical conditions on the site, other than climatic conditions, that will impede the delivery and installation of the equipment. Otherwise, the supplier will be entitled to an extension of time and compensation.

Safety Precautions

The contract should spell out who is responsible for safety precautions. Here is the recommended breakdown. The supplier should:

  • Comply with all applicable safety regulations.
  • Take care for the safety of their persons entitled to be on the site.

The owner’s appointed general contractor or others should:

  • Keep the site and APS equipment and installation area clear of unnecessary obstruction.
  • Provide fencing, lighting, guarding, and watching of the APS until completion and taking over.
  • Provide any temporary elements (including roadways, footways, guards, and fences) that may be necessary because of the execution of the system for the use and protection of the public as well as the owners and occupiers of adjacent land.

Force Majeure

Provisions need to be spelled out for force majeure. According to Merriam-Webster, force majeure means “an event that could not be reasonably anticipated or controlled.” It translates literally from French as “superior force.”

Force majeure should be spelled out explicitly and may include:

  • War, hostilities (whether war be declared or not), invasion, act of foreign enemies
  • Rebellion, terrorism, revolution, insurrection, military or usurped power, or civil war
  • Riot, commotion, disorder, strike, or lockout by persons other than the contractor’s personnel and other employees of the contractor and subcontractors
  • Munitions of war, explosive materials, ionizing radiation, or contamination by radioactivity, except as may be attributable to the contractor’s use of such munitions, explosives, radiation, or radioactivity
  • Natural catastrophes such as earthquake, hurricane, typhoon, volcanic activity, or flooding
  • Such events with consequential delays, like delays in shipment on sea, delays in custom houses/clearances, delays in permitting or approval procedures, etc.
  • Acts of government

If the supplier is prevented from performing any of its obligations under the contract by force majeure, the supplier should be entitled to an extension of time for any such delay, if completion is or will be delayed, and if the event or circumstance is of the kind described above, payment of any such additional cost incurred to supplier.

Optional Termination, Payment, and Release

Every project needs an optional “out.” If the execution of substantially all of the APS in progress is prevented for a continuous period of a certain number of days (84 days in the case study presented here) by reason of force majeure of which notice has been given, then either party could give to the other party a notice of termination of the contract.

Quality Assurance

The supplier should demonstrate compliance with the requirements of the contract and in accordance with the procedures required by the statutory authorities. The owner or consultant should be entitled to audit any aspect of the quality assurance system. Details of all procedures and compliance documents should be submitted to the owner or consultant for information before each execution stage is started by the supplier.

Contract Sum and Payments

The owner should pay the supplier, in consideration of the construction, commissioning, completion of the system, and the remedying of any defects, the contract sum as set forth in the contract documents.


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Originally published in Architectural Record
Originally published in July 2021