This is Part 2 of a three-part series. We dive into Contract Administration.
In Part 1 of our series on Construction Management (also known as Construction Project Management), you discovered that Construction Management software does not typically facilitate Contract Administration functions. Construction Management software may offer a snippet of features related to Contract Administration. However, most are insufficient for executing Contract Administration activities, such as Change Management/Change Control, in full. Ideally, the software should easily and reliably notify, track, and manage construction project documentation, communication records, and stakeholder activities to ensure contract compliance.
Equipped with this newfound knowledge, you refine your search specifically to Contract Administration software. One that optimizes and automates the document workflow and tracking processes. However, different Contract Administration software seem to offer a different subset of features. How do you decide on a Contract Administration software that best meets your organization or project needs? Read more to find out! To better understand the benefits of Contract Administration software tools, such as Onware, let’s zoom within Construction Management and focus on Contract Administration.
Who is this guide for?
- Contract Administrators
- Prime consultants
- Project managers
- Construction Managers
- People new to Contract Administration
- People interested in software and technology
What is Contract Administration (CA)?
Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) defines Contract Administration as professional services “to determine that the work [for a construction project] is in general conformity with the contract documents that cannot be removed and avoided by contract”. In other words, Contract Administration involves collaboration, coordination, and communication with all project stakeholders to ensure contractual obligations are met. However, projects are not always completed as planne; therefore, monitoring the project’s progress and remediating discrepancies with viable alternatives is a key part of CA.
What phase(s) of a construction project involve CA?
In Part 1, the phases of a construction project: planning, design, construction, and operations/close out. Customarily, CA is initiated in the construction phase and ends in the operations/close out stage. However, it is quite common for documents such as Request For Information (RFIs) s or Shop Drawings/Submittals, to be issued prior to construction officially commencing. As a result, the role of Contract Administration may be initiated earlier in the project’s lifecycle.
Contract Administration is most significant during the construction phase, when most adjustments, observations, and on-site work occurs, resulting in documentation, approvals, and reviews. At close out, a compilation of all relevant documentation (e.g., O & M manuals, drawings, electrical layout, etc.) serves as reference material for the building’s successful operation.
Who executes Contract Administration?
Typically identified as the Contract Administrator or Prime Consultant to the project, the stakeholder responsible for Contract Administration is defined by the awarded construction contract. In most cases, the role of Contract Administrator is awarded to an Architect and/or an Architectural firm responsible for the project’s design phase to maintain continuity of engagement throughout the entire construction process.
The execution of the project’s CA activities is typically delegated to either a single individual or a team from the Architectural firm with oversight from the individual(s) assigned to the Contract Administrator role.
- Preparing documentation for stakeholders such as:
- Supplemental Instructions
- Change Management/Change Control documents (Proposed/Contemplated Change Notices, Change Directives, and Change Orders)
- Site/Field Reviews
- Reviewing Shop Drawings and Request for Information submissions
- Evaluating proposed substitutions, submitted pricing, and Progress Claims
- Tracking work progress as per project schedules
- Collaborating with other stakeholders, such as Owners, Contractors, and Consultants, to meet project goals
- Representing and advising the Owner
- Interpreting contract documents or resolving problems
- Meeting with Consultants, Contractors, or the Owner regarding the progress of construction
Why is Contract Administration important?
Incorporating the professional service of CA into a construction project offers various advantages, as outlined by RAIC:
- Establishes stakeholders’ authority and scope based on their role in construction contracts
- Ensures all contractual obligations are completed for the project’s success
- Creates and manages project documentation, such as communication records and project history
- Communicates technical interpretation and information to the Contractor
- Conducts site/field reviews for quality assurance
- Advises the Owner on the project’s progress
Software platforms specific to Contract Administration, such as Onware, have been developed to support Contract Administrators and their teams to efficiently, effectively, and accurately manage their role and responsibilities defined in the construction project.
How does Contract Administration software aid construction projects?
Having an “electronic system is a godsend with time saved”
Michael PaquetteProject Manager, Atikokan Hospital
All construction project stakeholders benefit when contract administration software is designed and developed with 6 fundamental principles.
1. An organized centralized system with all project data in one system
With all data stored in one central database, users can access data within their project, across multiple projects or over the entire organization within their authority. Moreover, storing data on one system eliminates the need for a user to access multiple software systems or electronic filing structures to retrieve data.
2. Cloud environment with web-based collaboration
Utilizing a web-based software allows collaboration across all project stakeholders with no applications to install or IT involvement required. Project data is accessible from any internet enabled device, such as a table, desktop, laptop or smartphone, using your favorite internet browser.
3. Automated processes
Automation improves efficiencies and accuracy for all users eliminating the need for users to remember and complete additional tasks manually. Therefore, more automations a Contract Administration software incorporates, the more time stakeholders have available for other tasks.
4. Standardized processes
Consistency allows delegation of task execution to a wider audience and trusting the software will perform as expected for every person, every time on every project. Further, a Contract Administration software that incorporate organizational and project compliance standards reduces risk and liability for all stakeholders.
Robust security provisions are essential for all software platforms, including Contract Administration software. Project data must be secure and managed by a reliable authorization system, coupled with provisions to enforce what users can see and the actions and activities able to be performed.
6. Flexible and customizable
Lastly, Contract Administration software should be adaptable to handle projects of any contract type, industry, size and/or other unique project requirements. The entire project team benefits when a Contract Administration software leverages built-in and/or standalone integrations with construction industry standard tools.
Takeaway: Contract Administration software improves visibility, efficiency, and accountability.
Contract Administration software is an essential tool for managing construction project documentation efficiently, allowing Contract Administrators to work anywhere, handle multiple projects at once and delegate tasks to teams on-site and in the office.
Finally, in Part 3 of this series, we will illustrate why Onware is the Contract Administration tool of choice for construction projects of all sizes and sectors across Canada.
Interested in how Onware can improve your organization’s Contract Administration? Connect with us.
Call and speak to one of our Contract Administration software experts. We will answer any questions you may have about our construction Contract Administration software.
With over 15 years of experience in developing software for the construction industry, Onware provides powerful reporting to create, manage, and distribute construction project documents.
Specifically designed for AECO (Architectural, Engineering, Construction, and Operations) stakeholders, Onware’s cloud based, collaborative Contract Administration software ensures your project’s Contract Administration runs smoothly for any construction project. Read our webpage for more information.
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