A construction contract keeps everyone involved in a project playing by the same set of rules. It is the contract administrator’s job to make sure the game runs smoothly by administering the contract details. Here we’ll look at the contract administrator’s obligations and powers in administering JCT Intermediate Contracts.
2016 saw the creation of the latest version of the JCT Intermediate Contract, 5 years after its predecessor was released. Within the scope of these contracts, the contract administrator has several duties and powers.
It is the contract administrator’s duty to:
- issue instructions regarding departure, error or omission in contract bills (clause 2.13.1)
- issue instructions regarding and any error in description or quantity (clause 2.13.1)
- issue instructions regarding any omission or inconsistency in or between contract documents, contract administrator instructions and drawings (clause 2.13.1)
- issue certificates (e.g. interim certificate, certificate of practical completion, final certificate) to the employer, copied to the contractor, unless provided otherwise in the contract (clause 1.9)
- issue instructions regarding provisional sums (clause 3.13)
- verify vouchers for day work, if delivered by the contractor no later than the end of the week following the week in which the work was carried out.
The contract administrator has the power to:
- instruct the contractor to take out an indemnity insurance policy to compensate the employer for claims in the event of collapse, subsidence, heave, vibration, weakening or removal of supports or lowering of groundwater as the result of the works (clause 6.5.1)
- issue instructions empowered by the contract that the contractor must comply with immediately, unless these instructions are in conflict with a clause 5.12 variation (clause 3.8) — note that the contract administrator must specify the empowering clause when requested to do so by the contractor
- issue written notice to the contractor requiring compliance with an instruction, giving the contractor 7 days to comply, with failure to comply allowing the employer to engage others to do the work and to deduct an appropriate cost from the contract sum (clause 3.9)
- gain access to the works and work being prepared at all reasonable times, so long as this is in line with reasonable restrictions to protect proprietary rights (clause 3.1)
- issue instructions requiring a variation so long as the variation does not interfere with the validity of the contract (clause 3.11)
- sanction a variation by the contractor subject to the contractor’s right of objection (clause 5.12)
- issue instructions requiring postponement of work (clause 3.12)
- issue instructions requiring opening up or testing, such that the cost is added to the contract sum, unless the work is not in accordance with the contract (clause 3.16.1)
- issue instructions requiring the removal of work not in accordance with the contract (clause 3.16.1)
- issue instructions, as reasonably needed, if the work is not carried out in a proper manner (clause 3.16.2)
- instruct the exclusion of a person from the work site, so long as the request is not unreasonable or without sufficient grounds.
Certain powers will be subject to some variation depending on the particulars of a given contract. However, the powers and duties outlined above by and large hold true for most JCT Intermediate Contracts.