Our professional input doesn’t stop when the building work starts, in fact this is arguably when we would be most needed. Problems on construction sites are almost inevitable. We take a hands-on approach to architectural support, and we put ourselves on-site to provide expert input throughout the development process.
Whether you choose to manage the on site supervision yourself, or appoint us to manage it on your behalf, a construction contract is essential. We will help you choose the right contract for your project and if appointed deal with all of the administrative duties.
Contract administration duties will include:
- Preparation and/or collation of tender documents and contract documents.
- Issuing instructions to the contractor.
- Issuing certificates under the building contract – for example payment certificates, practical or partial completion certificates and the final certificate.
- Valuing the works and agreeing the final amount (where there is no quantity surveyor).
- Dealing with contractors’ applications for extensions of time and extra payment.
- Inspecting the works at stages during the construction and preparing defects lists at practical completion and at the end of the defects rectification period. This is not a duty to supervise the works unless the contract administrator is expressly appointed for this role and is aware of their additional responsibilities and duties. (See section on site supervision below.)
When issuing payment certificates, there are two key strands to the contract administrator’s role:
- They must take reasonable steps to ensure that the work which is to be the subject of the certificate has been properly carried out in compliance with the building contract. What is “reasonable” will depend upon the size, nature and complexity of the project.
- They must take reasonable steps to ensure that the work is properly valued i.e. that claims for payment are reasonable and justified by the work done at the time, both in terms of quality and amount.
When issuing a final certificate, particular caution should be exercised. There is a danger that, in the absence of wording to the contrary, a Court will normally view a final certificate as conclusive evidence as to the quality of workmanship and materials. As such, if a contractor is in possession of a final certificate, it may be difficult for the client to get any redress from the contractor if defects arise after the certificate has been issued. In these circumstances the client would inevitably seek to claim solely against the consultant who issued the certificate. The wording of the building contract should always be checked to guard against this outcome. (Our contract administration forms provide for such eventualities).