Contract Administration is a term you may or may not be familiar with. Sometimes referred to as Project Management, although the roles might appear similar there are some differences (we will discuss this later in this article)
Within the fields of Architecture & Construction a successful Contract Administrator will assume overall control and responsibility for driving the project forward.
A Contract Administrator on a construction project will use their skill and expertise to deliver the best result to the client (to use a cliché) ON TIME & ON BUDGET!
On a residential project, say a kitchen extension, they will be involved from start to finish.
They will not only design the project but also take care of:
A Contract Administrators role wont officially begin until there is a contract in place.
It is possible for someone to design the project and someone else to act a Contract Administrator, however, it makes sense, for obvious reasons that the same person act as designer and Contract Administrator.
A good Contract Administrator will ask questions to detect assumptions and resolve conflicts, sometimes before they arise.
One of the greatest advantages of hiring a Contract Administrator is that it reduces your risk as the client, a risk that may threaten the success of the project and rob you of the joy and excitement that investing in a project should bring.
The role involves managing the contract between the employer (The Client) and building contractor. Although employed by the client, the Contract Administrator ensures that the contract is fair, So, the Builder carries out his duties as per the contract and the Client pays the builder on time!
Risk usually rises from uncertainty, Contract administration can significantly reduce uncertainty from a construction project by implementing tried and tested processes at each step, for example at the pre-construction stage a thoroughly prepared document will be produced that details every element and item of the project, this leaves nothing to chance, hence reducing the risk of being lured in by an unrealistically low quote/price only to be hit later on with a large bill for ‘Extras’ that were not on the drawings.
This happens every stage of the project, risk reduction is checked and measured throughout the lifetime of the building project.
Although the role of Contract Administrator has traditionally been filled by the Architect there are several professional who can fill this role, such as:
The role of the Contract Administrator will be determined by the type of contract used (There are many).
At Architects Atelier Ltd we are mainly involved in residential projects and use RIBA Domestic Project Agreement 2010 (2012 revision): Architect
There is sometimes confusion regarding these roles, so what is the difference between a Project Manager & Contract Administrator?
Well, the clue is kind of in the names, a project manager is more deeply involved, perhaps on a day to day basis, from the project inception through to completion. Often employed full time in this role.
Rarely is this a service that is required in residential building projects.
A Contract Administrators role will officially begin when there is a contract in place, which may not necessarily be at the beginning of a ProJet, there may have been considerable design work done up to this point.
A Contract Administrator, as mentioned earlier can be someone different from the designer of the building project.
They will carry out site inspections at intervals required for the specific project (Normally weekly)
This service is particularly suited to residential building projects.
At Architects Atelier Ltd we spend many months working with you, developing your design and generally getting to know the finer points of your project inside out.
It makes sense to carry this over to the construction phase where we will be on hand to explain our design to the contractor’
We ultimately are working for our client’s satisfaction and want you to have the best experience possible during your building project, the chances are that you will only be doing this once and will be ploughing your hard-earned cash into this, so its critical that you make it as painless as possible and get it right.
We want to work with happy clients and don’t want you to have to fend for
Here is what we do:
The cost of Contract administration is very modest when compared to the cost of the construction, yet in some respects this element Is more important.
It can be the cost of not having a Contract Administrator that is greater. What do we mean?
Well, in our experience the cost emotionally and financially can be devastating, a price in £, s cannot be put on the emotional turmoil & stress you go through when things go badly wrong during a construction project, it can consume you.
The risk financially is much greater without a Contract administrator, for example there will be no list of works document that details every item and element of a project, there will be no experienced eye to ensure that the contractor is using the right materials, you will find that things run better with site supervision.
We want to tell you this, no to frighten you, but to make you aware of the risk of not having this and realising there is something that you can do about this.
In our experience, the cost of hiring us for this stage pays for itself in terms of the value, expertise and risk reduction by means of us to you not to mention the money you can save by having a very specific costing schedule and a contract.
Given that it’s your home and probably your single biggest asset, we have really started to emphasise the need for this service.
You will be then free to enjoy your new space!
Contract Administration Guidance Notes (see link below)
If you have questions about Contract administration or need advice about your project, take advantage of our FREE 20 minute ‘Ask the Expert’ call, click here to book your call.