Construction Contract Administration

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The Construction Contract Administration Knowledge Community (CCA) has been established to help our members better understand the issues, actions and resultant impact of the decisions required in this often neglected part of Project Delivery. It is our goal to provide clear answers to issues of concern to the Institute’s membership and share case studies and best practices. We further hope to provide guidance and direction in developing guidelines for new and evolving approaches to Project Delivery as well as guidance in the continuing education of our emerging young professionals.


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  • 1.  CCA Phase Profitability Impacts

    Posted 04-30-2024 02:36 PM

    Issues that arise during the CCA phase can effect the overall profitability of a project. The CCA phase can be demanding on large, complex projects. To successfully deliver a project, a significant amount of time and effort may be necessary. Unfortunately, the budget can be tight during the CCA phase and it may be difficult to request extra fee from an owner being that the CCA phase is at the end of the project and the owner's budget is diminished.  Here is a list of some causes that affect project profitability during CCA:

    1. Fees not aligned to scope of work during contract negotiations.
      1. Underestimated fees for the CCA phase due to unclear or misunderstood scope.
      2. Optimistic work plan did not budget enough hours.
      3. Owner unwilling to compensate for adequate hours. Owner may not be convinced of the value architects provide during the CCA phase
      4. Onerous contractual terms/ client processes required more hours than anticipated
      5. Remaining fee is insufficient.  The bulk of fees were spent during the design phase and there isn't enough fee remaining to budget adequately for the CCA phase.
    2. Scope creep
      1. Client design changes require additional time and effort of architect
      2. Client demands architect manage more of the CCA process
    3. Onerous GC requests
      1. GC requests architect to coordinate work of subcontractors
      2. Excessive substitution requests. Each requires time for the architect to review and evaluate.
    4. Incomplete submittals
      1. Missing or uncoordinated shop drawings
      2. Unanswered questions from subcontractors to GC are directed to architect
    5. Inefficiency of GC
      1. Inexperienced GC project engineers. Architect may need to spend time assisting project engineers to maintain the pace of construction
      2. Turn over of GC's staff. The loss of project knowledge on the contractor's side could cause the architect to revisit already resolved issues
      3. Excessive/unwarranted RFI's. Inefficient use of architect's time spent on questions related to scope already clearly covered in the contract documents
      4. Incomplete work at Substantial competition. This can cause inefficiencies in punch list review.
    6. Schedule delays
      1. Bid phase extended due to issues in bid/award process.
      2. Construction schedule delay/extension. This can impact wage escalation and extend the architect's time on the project.
    7. AHJ inspection issues. Inspector may be overly demanding and interpret the code differently than anticipated.

    There are specific strategies to help mitigate some of these issues. However, having a discussion with the client and contractor early on to managing the expectations can help avoid some of these issues altogether.

    What are other challenges that architects face during CCA that can impact profitability?

    Tyler Schaffer AIA
    LMN Architects
    Mukilteo WA

  • 2.  RE: CCA Phase Profitability Impacts

    Posted 05-01-2024 08:43 PM
    Edited by Janene K. Christopher AIA 05-01-2024 08:42 PM

    If we have inefficiencies on our side; such as inexperienced staff, whereby that Arch. staff isn't familiar w/ the Contract (to understand what should be add services or what they should NOT be doing), the process etc... so that falls on us I suppose! Doing too many site visits (which may be in excess of the contract, but no one looked).  Under #2 - In Design/Build some Owners think we can re-design on their whim. This can also happen on DBB work as well. But you made a great list! Kudos!

    Janene Christopher
    Steinberg Hart
    San Diego CA

  • 3.  RE: CCA Phase Profitability Impacts

    Posted 05-02-2024 09:30 AM

    Tyler: Excellent post. Just one practice issue to add to your list: Adequate development and use of project specifications. If the specifications are well prepared and used by the Architect's CCA staff, they support the Architect in controlling excessive RFIs, inadequate submittals, and improper substitutions, all of which eat into the Architect's CA phase fee budget. Staff need to know the extent of their power in doing this - they must be well trained. It's important to start off on the right foot at the preconstruction conference by making it clear that all parties need to read and abide by the specifications. Follow this with emphasizing the contract document requirements during preinstallation conferences. But there must be adequate fee for coordinating documents and thorough CA practices, and that falls back on the partner in charge and the owner coming to the understanding of their importance.

    Philip Kabza AIA
    SpecGuy Specifications Consultants
    Mount Dora FL

  • 4.  RE: CCA Phase Profitability Impacts

    Posted 05-20-2024 07:26 AM

    This is a great list, Tyler. Janene and Philip also touched on important points - Arch. staff need to be equipped with the knowledge and tools to be effective and efficient.

    Other challenges, some similar to what was mentioned - 1) Items submitted as an RFI that should be a submittal or substitution request (creates duplication), 2) Reviewing submittals that are not required (this goes back to knowing and enforcing the specification requirements), 3) Attending unnecessary and inefficient meetings, 4) Architect not having good organization or workflow (keeping accurate logs, filing, making it easy to quickly find things and know what tasks are open and when they are due), 5) Architects (and consultants) who don't fully answer the question or complete the task, 5) Consultants who are not timely or thorough. 6) Missed coordination by the design team (it usually takes more effort in CCA to resolve than during design).

    Sharon Day AIA
    GWWO Architects
    Baltimore MD

  • 5.  RE: CCA Phase Profitability Impacts

    Posted 05-21-2024 06:40 PM

    Sharon, let's tack on to your #6 "Inadequate time, fee assigned, and effort in final QC and coordination of all drawings and specifications including consultants."

    Donald Koppy
    Mead & Hunt