13 Dec What is Contract Administration? – ‘News on the Block’ Magazine, Dec 2013
What is Contract Administration?
Contract Administration is the term most often referred to when building surveyors are talking about major capital expenditure works such as external renovation projects or internal common parts refurbishments. Most property managers will be familiar with the term but there will be many RTM directors and freehold management company directors who are not and whom do not have a building, property or construction background.
The term “contract administration” is rarely mentioned when a client is considering appointing a surveyor yet it is the term that is defined in most forms of contract and in the majority of specifications produced for major works projects. The contract administrator does not have to be a building surveyor. The contract administrator could be an architect, a quantity surveyor, an engineer or indeed a lead consultant or client representative. For the purpose of this article we are considering the role of the contract administrator in the context of external renovation projects and internal common parts refurbishments. Therefore we can assume that 99 times of a 100 it will be a building surveyor who would perform the role of contract administrator.
At the same time that the role of the contract administrator is performed the building surveyor will also be performing the role of designer or specifier. The roles of designer / specifier and contract administrator are very different but are very often combined. For ease of reference this combined role is still usually described as “Contract Administration”. The role of the contract administrator is more procedural and administrative whereas the role of the designer is to ensure that the description of the works is technically accurate and properly specified in terms of scope and quality.
This combined Contract Administration role will generally include the following:
- Client Meeting(s)
- Contract advice
- Carry out pre-specification inspection(s)
- Preparation of detailed specification
- Selection of contractors for tendering
- Collation of tender documentation
- Tendering, tender analysis & making recommendations to client
- Placement of contract, preparing contract documents for execution
- Chairing meetings & carrying out inspections
- Provide progress reports
- Monitoring & administrating the works
- Monitoring contractor (against parameters of programme, cost & quality)
- Agree testing and defects rectification
- Contract certification (including variations, instructions, payments, time related certificates)
- Assessment of any claims, final accounting & sign off
- Inspection at end of defects period / rectification period
A highly skilled Contract Administrator can be the difference between project success and disappointment. The client at the outset must be convinced that the CA has the necessary skills, experience, expertise and resource to carry out the duties effectively and diligently and that the role of the CA is clearly defined. You will not go too far wrong by starting with the list above.