Construction Management Engineering

What is the Site Instruction in Construction?

Site Instruction in Construction

Understanding construction terminology is essential. Not only do construction managers need to be familiar with terms like site instruction in construction, but everyone in the construction industry, including but not limited to the general contractor, designers, and engineers, should be as well.

What is a Site Instruction in Construction?

A site instruction is a formal instruction issued by the consultant to a general contractor or general contractor to other contractors or subcontractors with instructions and directives. These instructions must be written and formalized because they go outside the scope of the original project or plan and hence require additional ‘instruction.’

Site instructions are outside the scope of the original contract and require additional instructions for crews to complete. General contractors delegate site instructions to subcontractors in order to expand the scope of work, purchase or test new material, or address defect issues and rework.

When Site Instruction in construction is issued/requested?

  • When making a change to what is in the approved shop drawing, the project head should issue site instructions.
  • If an error or challenge is found in the working drawing, the consultant must either issue a new drawing or issue site instruction on how to proceed.
  • When proposing a solution to an unforeseen problem or challenge on site that may affect time, procedure, or cost, the project head should issue site instructions.
  • A project head can issue a notice of delay in the form of a site instruction.
  • After an item of work has been satisfactorily completed, a site manager/contractor should get approval from consultants/regulatory agencies to proceed. The consultant/regulatory agency, for example, should provide an instruction to the contractor to proceed with concreting after checking the arrangement and placements of reinforcements and formwork.
  • When asked to do something with which he is not comfortable or familiar, a site manager/contractor should request written site instruction.
  • A site manager/contractor should request site instruction to proceed and use material or procedure that he has never used before.

Why do site instructions matter?

Site instructions in construction are essential for projects and companies in the industry.

Logistically, they are essential to the progress of projects. A contractor who is mostly responsible for the asset’s safe delivery must have a mechanism for pushing changes down the chain of command. If a subcontractor falls behind schedule or the client requests a change from the original plan, the contractor must have a formal method in place to ensure that other contractors and subcontractors are informed and compensated for this change – and that the new instruction is properly executed.

Because site instructions frequently fall outside the original scope of the contract, they aren’t always ‘covered’ by it.

The additional instruction, which includes guidelines on the nature and scope of additional work required, ensures that the work is covered under what is essentially a “supplemental” contract.

Contractors and subcontractors alike might fall into a grey area of work if site instructions aren’t or weren’t issued, where claims and disputes emerge due to the ambiguity of the work required, whose fault it is/was, and how many individuals need to be paid or compensated.

What needs to be in site instruction in construction?

Maintaining a tight and standardized site instruction format is essential for record keeping, disputes, and professionalism. The format of your site instruction may differ slightly from the example above based on the type of work you do and the type of instruction issued, but the bones of the site instruction will be basically the same.

You should include some basic logistical information in your site instructions that will act as evidence and organizational markers, such as:

  • A form number for that particular site instruction
  • The date of the instruction
  • The type of instruction (contractor, subcontractor etc.)

Aside from these obviously important details, your site instruction must include the necessary detail for your records as well as the site instruction receiver’s understanding of what is required of them. These additional details are as follows:

  • A description of the instruction that is not within the scope of the contract.
  • The reason for requesting work that is not within the scope of the contract.
  • Photos of the work area (defects, etc.) are essential for providing proof later on.
  • Name the relevant subcontractor or supplier to whom the site instruction has been issued.
  • Label and document the forecasted resources needed.
  • Final checklist questions on whether an official site instruction is warranted and required.
  • The engineer/foreman and senior project engineer sign off on the instruction’s actual issuing.

Creating and sharing site instructions in this format will help to streamline and solidify the approval process and the strength of your records.

Documentation is essential in the industry since all contractors and subcontractors rely on it at the end of the day.

What do you do after receiving site instruction?

Because site instructions in construction are formal documents, the site manager should take the following actions after receiving them:

  • Discuss and analyse the impact of the instruction on project delivery time, procedure, and cost with the project team.
  • If necessary, the contractor should send a formal response to the instructor regarding the impact of the instruction. It is worth noting that some instructions are very common in construction and do not require much thought from an experienced site manager.
  • The site manager should start to implement all approved corrections in accordance with the instructions.
  • After all of the corrections have been made, the consultant should be invited to check that the instruction was followed correctly, and then they will approve and let the contractor move on to the next item of work.


A site instruction is a formal instruction issued from the Client / Consultant / Head Contract to contractors working on a project. Architect instructions, client instructions, and site instructions are examples of instruction types. Site Instruction is issued as CVI (Confirmation of Verbal Instruction) / Variation Order (VO):

Design Change that has Architectural / Structural Implication.

  1. Construction violation when not complying with relevant Code of Practice
  2. Site Instruction for Quality Breach
  3. Site Instruction for Safety Breach

Each Site Instruction is to be evaluated for both cost & Time impact on the project.

In contract, Resident Engineer is the authorized person to issue SI/CVI/VO.

The engineer assigned in the contract document is authorized to issue Site Instruction

Also learn about RFI in Construction and RFQ in Construction