Contract Administration and Observation

This is the construction stage of the project. The building is built under a written contract between the Principal (you) and the Contractor (a.k.a. the Main Contractor or Builder). Most standard building contracts include provisions for the contract to be administered by an architect. Some contracts allow for administration by the owner or an independent agent.

Under normal circumstances we would only take part in a project where we will be engaged to administer the contract and observe the construction. Having been responsible for the design and documentation, we have an intimate understanding of what is required from the Contractor, and are therefore in the best position to protect your interests by maintaining quality and enforcing time and cost requirements using our skills and professional judgement. The construction process is usually complex and most clients do not have the experience or the time to administer contracts on their own behalf.

As architects we have three quite distinct roles during contract administration. They are:

  1. to act as your professional advisor
  2. to act as your agent
  3. to administer the contract

In the first two of these roles the architect is entitled to promote your interests. In the third, the architect must act absolutely impartially between you and the Contractor.

During construction it is the Contractor’s ultimate responsibility to ensure that the work is completed in accordance with the contract documents. We visit the site at regular intervals to provide a second level of observation on your behalf.

This stage can contain the following work by the architect:

  • Prepare contract documents for signing by the Principal and the Contractor.
  • Notify selected contractor and unsuccessful tenderers.
  • Provide periodic site visits to observe progress and compliance with the contract documents.
  • Convene project coordination and/or site meetings.
  • Review and monitor Contractor’s programme.
  • Review and annotate suppliers’ shop drawings.
  • Review samples and prototypes.
  • Liaise with and coordinate other consultants.
  • Provide additional information or clarification to the Contractor to enable them to carry out the building.
  • Provide you with guidance on Contractor’s recommendations.
  • Issue variations and all instructions to contractual parties.
  • Maintain records on costs including all variations.
  • Provide notices of changes in contract time.
  • Certify validity of payment and variation claims by the Contractor.
  • Facilitate compliance with the Construction Contracts Act 2002.
  • Carry out Practical Completion inspection and issue notice.
  • Notify faults during Defects Liability Period.
  • Issue Defects Liability Period Certificate (project completion) and authorise release of retentions.