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Construction Glossary >
Time-and-Materials Contract
Construction glossary

What is a Time and Materials Contract?

A Time and Materials Contract, often abbreviated as T&M, is a specific type of contract commonly used in the construction industry. It is a contractual format that indicates that the client will pay based on actual costs: the direct labor hours worked (time), the materials directly used in the final product, and a fixed add-on to cover overhead and profits. Unlike fixed-cost contracts, T&M agreements provide greater flexibility as the scope of work can change without having to negotiate a new contract. This type of contract is generally applied in projects where the full extent of the work cannot be determined at the outset. However, their major downside is the potential risk of cost overruns, which makes client oversight crucial.