Priority of Documents

Standard construction contracts have a clause that defines how to resolve conflicts in the documents and includes language that sets the priorities.  The order of priority is generally all the same in all CCDC documents with the exception of CCDC 18 (Civil Work).

In the standard CCDC 2 contract for example, the order of priority of the contract documents is established in GC 1.1 Contract Documents. Paragraph 1.1.7 states: 
1.1.7 If there is a conflict within the Contract Documents:

1.    the order of priority of documents, from highest to lowest, shall be − the Agreement between the Owner and the Contractor,− the Definitions,
    − Supplementary Conditions,
    − the General Conditions,
    − Division 1 of the Specifications,
    − technical Specifications,
    − material and finishing schedules
    − the Drawings .

2. Drawings of larger scale shall govern over those of smaller scale of the same date.

3.dimensions shown on Drawings shall govern over dimensions scaled from Drawings.

4. later dated documents shall govern over earlier documents of the same type. 

Notice that Supplementary Conditions are higher on the list and take priority over General Conditions.Often the only supplementary document issued is titled "Supplementary Conditions" with changes to the Articles of the Agreement and Definitions included in it. If changes to the Articles or Definitions are issued as Supplementary Conditions, they only have the priority of Supplementary Conditions even if the intent was for them to have a higher priority.

In order for changes or additions to the Articles or Definitions to maintain the priority established in paragraph 1.1.7 they should be issued as Amendments to Articles or Amendments to  Definitions rather than lumped in with the Supplementary Conditions.

The document issued would be titled Amendments and Supplementary Conditions with changes segregated into the proper categories to maintain priority:

Amendments to Articles  (or Articles of the Agreement)

- list changes to Articles

Amendments to Definitions

- list changes to Definitions

Supplementary Conditions

- list changes to General Conditions