This article represents a continuation of our previous discussion, where we explored the role of the Contract Administrator (CA) during the construction stage of a project. We invite you to read the previous articles in this mini-series:
- Contract Administration 101: The Basics
- Contract Administration 101: Starting a Project
- Contract Administration 101: Overseeing Construction
In this article, we’re turning our attention to the final phase of a project – completion. We’ll be looking in detail at the key tasks of a Contract Administrator (CA) during this time. This phase has unique challenges, and it’s down to the CA to handle these effectively to reach a successful project conclusion.
A CA’s key duties include certifying works have been completed in accordance with the contract, overseeing the release of retention money and formally concluding the contract. We will dig deep into these areas, giving you a thorough understanding of the CA’s crucial role at project completion. We’ll go into detail about these responsibilities, highlighting how important a Contract Administrator is to this critical phase of any project.
Preparing for Completion
As the construction project draws closer to the finish line, the role of the Contract Administrator (CA) shifts towards the preparation for project completion. A key responsibility at this stage includes informing the client about the impending completion process. The CA must ensure that they are apprised of what to expect during this final phase and its set of actions, providing clear and concise communication.
Additionally, the CA is tasked with coordinating the testing and commissioning required to verify that the project meets the stipulated standards and specifications. This may involve working closely with the contractor to address any outstanding works that are yet to be completed. One vital tool in this process is the creation of snagging lists or a defect schedule. This comprehensive list details any work that does not conform to the contract, providing an essential reference for rectification works. In essence, the preparation for project completion requires a meticulous approach, ensuring all aspects of the project align with the contractual requirements.
The certification of completion is a pivotal part of the contract administrator’s role. It involves a thorough understanding of the requirements for practical completion, which typically includes ensuring the project adheres to the defined specifications, verifying that the build is essentially complete, and confirming that health and safety file information has been received. The contract administrator is responsible for overseeing the release of part of the contractual retention, signifying a shift from construction to the rectification period.
The issuance of the Certificate of Practical Completion marks a significant milestone in the project’s lifecycle. This certificate formally asserts the completion of the contract works, barring any minor defects that can be rectified during the snagging period. It also signifies the beginning of the defect liability period, during which the contractor is liable to rectify any defects that become apparent. Hence, this phase requires meticulous attention to detail and keen foresight to ensure a seamless transition to the next phase.
Upon practical completion, the contract administrator is responsible for advising the client on their post-completion obligations. This can include guiding maintenance, warranty periods and any further instructions that may be necessary. Regarding financial obligations, the contract administrator is responsible for certifying any remaining payments to the contractor. Such payments are typically made at two-month intervals, ensuring that all agreed work has been duly compensated.
The contract administrator also takes on a crucial role in managing the finalisation of the project, ensuring that all loose ends are tied up and that there’s minimal disruption to the client or the project. This involves overseeing any final amendments or adjustments and addressing any issues that may have arisen during the project. It’s the contract administrator’s duty to ensure that the completion of the project is as smooth and seamless as possible.
The final account in contract administration signifies the concluding stage of the financial agreement. It involves a thorough, systematic collation of records to determine the final contract sum. This accounting process includes valuing any variations and loss and expense incurred during the project. It requires thorough attention to detail to ensure no discrepancies exist in the final financial report.
Also, the contract administrator is responsible for checking and scrutinising any claims submitted by the contractor. These claims will be incorporated into the final account if they are within the contract’s scope and are legitimate. Once all these steps are completed, the contract administrator will issue the final certificate, marking the completion of the financial aspects of the project. The precision and accuracy in managing the final account are vital as it ensures fair compensation for the contractor and satisfaction for the client.
End of Rectification Period
As the construction project draws to a close, the Contract Administrator’s role pivots towards the rectification period, which is a predetermined period post-completion during which the contractor makes good any defects identified. The CA is tasked with arranging final inspections within this period to value any outstanding works and necessary rectifications. The Contract Administrator plays a vital role in managing the release of retention payments, ensuring they align with the contractor’s completion of any remaining works or corrections. It is crucial that this process is managed carefully, as it serves as the final validation of the contractor’s work and paves the way for the successful closeout of the project.
The process of project closeout is an integral part of the contract administrator’s role, marking the official conclusion of the project. One of the main responsibilities here involves the archiving of all project-related documents. This includes every piece of paperwork produced throughout the construction process, from tender documents to final completion certificates.
The contract administrator also ensures that the client receives accurate as-built drawings and manuals, providing a comprehensive record of the completed construction. This documentation will be a valuable reference for future maintenance or modification works. Furthermore, the contract administrator must confirm that defects have been made good, ensuring all work was completed to the required standard. The final phase in the project closeout is the official handover of these documents to the client – a significant milestone indicating that the project has been successfully completed and is now officially under the client’s ownership.
In summary, the Contract Administrator plays a pivotal role in completing and closing a construction project. Their responsibilities span from ensuring the thorough execution of tasks, handling specific administrative duties, and finalising project documentation. These duties collectively ensure a smooth transition from the construction phase to the handover of the finished project.
The success of the project’s conclusion heavily relies on the CA’s capacity for thorough organisation, strategic planning, and effective communication. These attributes not only streamline the process but also ensure that the collective expectations of all parties involved are met, thereby marking the end of a successful project operation under the JCT Standard Building Contract. The meticulous attention to these aspects demonstrates the quintessential role of a Contract Administrator in the final stages of a construction project.