Construction Contract Administration: Navigating the Building Process

Construction contract administration is one of the most valuable and potentially one of the most time consuming aspects of an architect’s service during the building process. Following planning and construction document submission to the chosen contractor, the architect should remain involved to help oversee the construction, making sure the design intent is followed, appropriate materials are used, and site visits are conducted.

While the general contractor is responsible for building in accordance with the construction documents and specifications, the architect is responsible for seeing that the contractor’s approach and schedule are appropriate and implemented according to the contract.

It’s important for the owner to understand that the architect will likely spend a considerable amount of time working with all involved in the project after the design process is complete. The architect will recommend and attend an appropriate number of visits to the building site during construction, and this time will be reflected in the fee for architectural services. The architect will complete progress reports based on the site inspection and progress analysis as well as job meeting minutes, will be shared with all parties involved throughout construction.

As builders will tell you, challenges almost always arise during the building process. These challenges can include scheduling issues, identifying capable subcontractors, or unforeseen site conditions. It’s important that the owner, general contractor, and architect effectively collaborate in an effort to anticipate and manage issues swiftly, to stay on schedule, and avoid change orders. Sometimes misinterpretation of the design intent, the use of cheaper, unspecified materials, or faulty construction methodology may occur and go unnoticed initially, resulting in change orders or delays due to building code violations. This can be especially common when the owner is unfamiliar with proper building procedures.

When the project is approaching completion, the contractor will provide a punch list of items that needs to be addressed before the job is finished. The punch list usually consists of touch-ups items like cabinets, paint, or hardware and appliance installation.The architect inspects the list of items, and final payment to the contractor is submitted following adequate completion of the punch list.

Time is our most valuable resource, and delays in the building process can result in wasted hours that should have been spent generating business for the owner. Unfortunately, sometimes owners and construction professionals fail to see the value in architectural or construction contract administration services until they’re involved with an unsuccessful building project that wastes time and money for the owner. A seasoned architect can provide clients with invaluable expertise of construction contract administration, which, depending on the size and complexity of a project and the owner’s degree of experience with construction, can consume a significant amount of time. To help ensure that a project goes smoothly, it is recommended that the owner select an experienced architect and contractors who have a proven track record of a collaborative approach on projects similar to theirs. Feel free to contact our office or leave a comment below if you have any questions regarding a building project.