Who is a CCCA?
As a member of the design team, the construction contract administrator is responsible for administering the construction contract for the A/E. This involves processing, and in some cases generating, the documents used during construction, such as change orders, construction observation/evaluation reports, supplemental instructions or field orders, change proposals, and payment applications. The construction contract administrator also reviews and processes requests for interpretation, shop drawings, submittals, and substitution requests.
Construction contract administration usually begins when the owner-contractor agreement is executed and concludes when final payment is accepted by the contractor. Sometimes, construction contract administration services begin during the procurement stage of a project and may extend to the expiration of contractor warranties. The actual start and completion times of construction contract administration services vary depending on the specific requirements of the contracts between the A/E and the owner and between the contractor and the owner. The start and completion milestones of construction, as identified by the AIA and EJCDC documents, will identify the duration of construction contract administration that is beginning with execution of the owner-contractor agreement and ending with acceptance of final payment by the contractor.
There is no single educational program designed to train a professional construction contract administrator. Any formal educational background must be supplemented with additional education gained through work experience before one can become a fully qualified construction contract administrator.
Formal education backgrounds that would be suitable for construction contract administrators:
- College degree in architecture or engineering
- Vocational school education in architecture, engineering, or construction technology
- High school education supplemented by on-the-job training in architecture or engineering.
Following is a list of general traits considered to be most desirable for a construction contract administrator. These abilities should be acquired if they are not inherent in the individual:
- Be a team member and be able to effectively represent the interests of the owner, the A/E, and the A/E's consultants. In many ways, the construction contract administrator is an extension of a good design team.
- Be open-minded, fair, and responsive.
The effective construction contract administrator uses these character traits to develop the following areas of proficiency:
- Have good communications skills.
- Know the contents of the owner-A/E and the owner-contractor agreements.
- Know and understand the project forms to be used for the project, particularly the conditions of the contract and the underlying principles of contract law upon which they are based.
- Have a working knowledge of construction materials, construction trades, means and methods, and the relationships between subcontractors, suppliers, and manufacturers.
- Understand the codes and regulations that govern the project.
Construction contract administration services are usually provided as part of the A/E's basic services. The individual responsible for the construction contract administration may be the A/E or a member of the A/E&'s staff, or, in the case of large firms or large projects, construction contract administration may be provided by a full-time project representative. The term A/E is used when referring to a construction contract administrator because the service is most often provided by the A/E.
There are individuals who provide construction contract administration as a specialty service. They work as consultants to the A/E when construction contract administration is performed as part of the basic A/E services or as a consultant to the owner when the owner has assumed responsibility for some or all of the construction contract administration services. In some instances, construction contract administration responsibilities may be split between the A/E and a construction contract administration consultant. In either case, careful attention to the division of responsibilities and coordination between the A/E and the construction contract administration consultant is necessary.
When the owner is a large corporation, a developer, or a public agency, construction contract administration may be provided by the owner's staff, either to supplement or to replace the A/E. Because the A/E creates the contract documents, there should be a clear understanding of who will interpret those documents during construction and who is responsible for verifying conformance to the contract requirements. A/Es must understand their responsibilities under state licensing laws to ensure that they have not relinquished services that they cannot legally divest.
Construction contract administration services are sometimes provided by third parties. Lenders may have a contract administrator to ensure the lender's interests are being protected. The contract administrator's duties may consist of attesting to the quality of completed work and the quantity of work in place to substantiate monthly payment requests. A municipality may have a contract administrator on the site to document certain construction activities or ensure proper coordination with municipally owned infrastructure.
Regardless of the variation employed, the agreements among the parties to the contract acknowledge the various roles and identify their responsibilities. Construction contract administration is not the same as construction management. The construction manager is an added participant in the process, who may be employed by the owner for preconstruction services, construction services, or both. Construction contract administration, on the other hand, is usually an integral component of the basic services agreement between the A/E and the owner.
Construction contract administration and contractor project management involve those activities necessary to affect and determine the fulfillment of the contract requirements by the parties to the construction contract.
- Know the documents used in construction.
- Understand the role of each construction participant.
- Be sensitive to the expectations each participant has of the others.
- Communicate with each other.
- Understand the effect various project delivery methods have on construction contract. administration and contractor project management.
Should Effectively Provide:
- A system of documentation and monitoring of construction activities that assures the owner that the provisions of the construction contract are being reasonably fulfilled.
- Continuity of A/E involvement in submittal reviews, document interpretations, and construction evaluation.
- A structure for the contractor to organize contractor project management procedures and ensure a common understanding of the lines of communication among all participants.
The contract documents identify the procedures for communicating during construction, but unless the parties to the contract fully understand their roles, the communication process will not be totally effective. The A/E, owner, and contractor are responsible for understanding the various roles, as identified in the general conditions or modified by the supplementary conditions and for enforcing the communication protocol. The procedures utilized by the project participants during the construction stage vary depending on the project delivery method being utilized.