Last edited 08 Nov 2020


An instruction is a request, order or command from one party to another. Typically, the person issuing the instruction requests a course of action or a sequence of events to be implemented by the party that has received the instruction. Instructions usually have to obeyed or implemented.

In construction, consultants, clients and contractors issue instructions continually to ensure buildings are completed as specified, on time and to budget. The most obvious example is the ‘architect’s instruction’ (AI) or 'contract administrator’s instruction’. This is an instruction in written form, usually to the contractor which may be given:

The contractor must comply with the instruction within certain limitations, but has the right to ‘reasonably object’.

For more information see: Architect's instruction.

If an instruction is given verbally, it should subsequently be confirmed in writing. See Confirmation of verbal instruction (CVI) for more information.

Instructions may also be given by mediators, conciliators, adjudicators, arbitrators, the courts, clients, contractors (to subcontractors and other suppliers) and so on.

The word 'instruction' may also be used to refer to training.

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