CCA-KC 10 best practice tips for 2017


With thanks to Bill Schmalz, Susan Heersema, Sara Beardsley and Eric Pempus for their contributions.

1. Triage all RFIs and submittals from contractors. Set aside a few minutes each day to skim through each new RFI and submittal. Alert any secondary reviewers who are not included on the distribution list. Check if the submittals are required by the contract documents, and have been reviewed by the contractor, and appear, at a quick glance, to be complete. Make sure you understand what the RFIs are asking. Don't sit on a submittal or an RFI for a week or two before rejecting it for a glaring error.

2. Submittals and RFIs are not opportunities to design a bit more on the project. Redesign, if required or if desired by the owner, should be recognized as a change and published as a Proposal Request, not incorporated into a shop drawing with the hope that there will be no impact to cost or schedule or that no one will notice. Alert the contractor if changes are anticipated during the construction phase so that they can plan their work around them.

3. When writing about a deficiency found in the project, identify the location of the deficiency as clearly as possible. Take a photo specifically of the deficiency and list it in your field report. Don't turn the finding of one missing firestop or control joint into a scavenger hunt for the contractor to find.

4. Make sure the contractor includes the relevant subcontractors when you are reviewing mockups or participating in major shop drawing review meetings. This allows you to discuss issues, problems, and comments directly with subcontractors while the contractor is present. Knowledgeable subcontractors are usually eager to give insight and suggestions that benefit the project. But be careful: Do not talk with subcontractors if a contractor's representative is not present.

5. At the end of a site visit, talk with the contractor about items that you intend to add to the deficiency list in your Field Observation Report. You may learn that items you thought were deficiencies are just work in progress or temporary conditions. Talking with the contractor as soon as a potential problem is identified also helps the contractor correct or stop the deficient work as soon as possible.

6. Re-read your RFI responses (including consultant responses) before you return them to ensure that what you think you've said is what you actually written. An unclear RFI response is as bad for the project (and for you) as unclear RFIs. With the pressure to get RFIs responded to, and the need to provide coordinated responses from multiple consultants, miscommunications can be easily made, so take the time to check your words.

7. When making comments on a submittal, consider whether a resubmittal will be required. Ask for additional information or details only if you want the contractor to resubmit. Don't confuse the contractor by approving a submittal while asking for revisions.

8. Identify workmanship issues when you see them on site. Establish what is acceptable during mockup reviews; this will ultimately reduce the number of punch list items down the road. The contractor, as well as the subcontractor responsible for the mockup, should be present during your review to ensure your comments are understood and considered reasonable. Do not expect or ask for better workmanship or tighter tolerances than what is specified in the contract documents.

9. Don't ignore issues. If you let time pass after identifying a problem, you'll most likely end up with a more costly and time-consuming fix. Make the team aware of the problem as soon as possible and be proactive about developing a solution, especially if the contract documents may be the cause of the problem. Identify the individual responsible for resolving each open item during the construction meetings to avoid confusion as to who is expected to take the next step, and when resolution is expected.

10. Solicit advice and proposals from the contractor to help solve a field problem, rather than always trying to solve everything on your own. The contractor's field team has the perspective, skill and expertise to be a valuable resource in solving problems efficiently.

Want to print these tips? A downloadable version is available in the CCA library:

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1 comment




08-11-2017 18:04

Very fine recommendations. Every one is useful and cogently stated .  Paul Potts