Employer’s Agent 101: Closing a project

Author: Bart Kolosowski
Published: November 23, 2023
Employer's Agent 101: Closing a project

Introduction

In this continuation of our series, we now focus on a critical stage in construction projects: completion. Following our previous discussions on the Employer’s Agent’s (EA) role during earlier stages under the JCT DB 2016 form of contract, we now delve into the EA’s responsibilities at the project’s final phase.

Previous in the series:

Employer’s Agent 101: The Basics

Employer’s Agent 101: Design Phase

Employer’s Agent 101: Starting a Project

Employer’s Agent 101: Overseeing Construction

This article aims to provide an in-depth look at the pivotal tasks performed by the Employer’s Agent as a project draws to a close. Unlike the traditional role of a Contract Administrator (CA), the EA in a design and build contract has specific duties crucial for ensuring a successful project conclusion under the JCT DB 2016 guidelines.

Among these key responsibilities are verifying that works have been completed according to the contractual agreements, managing the release of retained funds, and formally wrapping up the contract. This exploration will give you a comprehensive understanding of the EA’s vital role in the project’s completion phase, highlighting their importance in bringing any project to a successful and satisfactory conclusion..

 

Preparing for Completion

As a construction project nears its completion under the JCT DB 2016 form of contract, the role of the Employer’s Agent (EA) becomes increasingly focused on preparing for this final phase. A crucial aspect of this preparation is informing the client about the completion process. The EA must provide the client with clear and concise information on what to expect, including the necessary steps and actions during this concluding stage.

Another important responsibility of the EA is coordinating the testing and commissioning processes to ensure that the project meets all the agreed-upon standards and specifications. This often involves close collaboration with the contractor to address any remaining or incomplete works. An essential tool in this phase is the development of snagging lists or a defect schedule. These lists serve as a comprehensive record of any work that falls short of the contractual standards, marking them for necessary rectification.

Preparing for project completion demands the EA’s meticulous attention to detail, ensuring every aspect of the project adheres to the set contractual requirements. This stage is vital in ensuring that the finished project meets and exceeds the client’s expectations, paving the way for a successful and satisfactory project handover.

 

Post Completion

In the context of the JCT DB 2016 design and build contract, the Employer’s Agent (EA) assumes pivotal responsibilities upon practical completion of the project. Their role involves advising the client on post-completion obligations, including maintenance, warranty periods, and any additional instructions required for the project’s ongoing success.

One of the key financial responsibilities of the EA at this stage is certifying any remaining payments due to the contractor. These payments, usually made at regular intervals (often two months), are crucial to ensure that all agreed-upon work has been adequately compensated and that the contractor’s financial obligations are fulfilled per the contract terms.

Beyond financial aspects, the EA plays an essential role in the overall finalisation of the project. This includes overseeing any last-minute amendments, adjustments, and addressing any issues that may have arisen throughout the project’s lifecycle. The EA’s responsibility is to ensure that all loose ends are tied up, facilitating a smooth transition and minimizing any disruption to the client.

The EA’s expertise and diligent oversight during this phase are crucial to ensure a seamless and efficient project completion. Their role extends beyond mere administration; it encompasses comprehensive project management, ensuring that the project’s conclusion is as smooth and orderly as possible, thereby reflecting the professionalism and competence expected under the JCT DB 2016 contract.

 

Final Account

In the final account stage under the JCT DB 2016 design and build contract, the Employer’s Agent (EA) plays a key role in concluding the project’s financial matters. This process involves meticulously and systematically reviewing all financial records to determine the definitive contract sum. The EA must accurately value any variations, losses, and expenses incurred during the project, ensuring that the final financial statement is thorough and free from discrepancies.

Furthermore, the EA is responsible for examining any claims put forward by the contractor. These claims are carefully assessed and included in the final account, provided they fall within the contract’s scope and are justified. Upon completing these essential tasks, the EA issues the final certificate, marking the completion of the project’s financial transactions. This precise and accurate management of the final account is crucial, as it ensures that the contractor is fairly compensated and that the client is satisfied with the financial handling of the project.

 

End of Rectification Period

As the project nears completion, the EA focuses on the rectification period, a specified timeframe post-completion for rectifying any identified defects. During this period, the EA arranges final inspections to evaluate outstanding works and necessary rectifications. A key responsibility of the EA is to manage the release of retention payments, correlating them with the contractor’s completion of any remaining works or corrections. This phase is critical as it serves as the final assessment of the contractor’s work and ensures a smooth transition to the project’s closure.

 

Project Closeout

The project closeout is a significant phase in the EA’s responsibilities, marking the project’s official end. In this phase, the EA oversees the archiving of all project-related documentation, a crucial step that includes everything from tender documents to final completion certificates.

The EA also ensures the client receives accurate as-built drawings and manuals, providing a detailed record of the completed construction. This documentation is essential for any future maintenance or modification works. Additionally, the EA verifies that all defects have been rectified to the required standard. The final step in the project closeout is the official handover of these documents to the client. This significant milestone signifies the project’s successful completion and its official transfer to the client’s ownership.

 

Conclusion

In summing up, the role of the Employer’s Agent (EA) in the final stages of a construction project under the JCT DB 2016 design and build contract is both multifaceted and critical. From the meticulous management of the final account to overseeing the rectification period and ensuring a comprehensive project closeout, the EA’s responsibilities are pivotal to the project’s successful conclusion.

In the final account stage, the EA’s attention to detail and accuracy in financial matters ensures that all aspects of the project are fairly and thoroughly accounted for, leading to equitable compensation for the contractor and satisfaction for the client. During the rectification period, the EA’s management skills ensure that all outstanding works are completed to the required standards and any necessary corrections are made. This phase is crucial for affirming the quality of the contractor’s work and setting the stage for a smooth project closure.

Finally, the project closeout phase underlines the EA’s comprehensive approach to project management. The EA’s thorough archiving of project documents and providing detailed as-built drawings and manuals to the client are essential for future reference and maintenance. This phase signifies the completion of the physical construction work and the formal transfer of the project into the client’s hands, marking a successful end to the project.

The role of the EA in these closing stages indicates the significant responsibility they hold in ensuring that every aspect of the project is completed to the highest standards. The EA’s expertise and diligent management in these final phases are instrumental in bringing a construction project under the JCT DB 2016 contract to a successful and satisfactory conclusion.

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