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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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Site Visit Check Lists

  • 1.  Site Visit Check Lists

    Posted 05-17-2024 06:54 PM

    Over the past few years, I have gathered different tricks, trips, and tools to make construction site visits increasingly effective.  However, I still find myself forgetting to look at "that one thing" or something of a similar nature. Between the increased mentoring and education contractors seem to be requiring (might just be the projects I am on) and the ever looming site visit fatigue, there are things I find myself going back for.

    How is everyone dealing with this and have people created check-lists that have aided their process or it it more of "per site visit" basis? 

    Stay safe out on the job site!

    Shaili Patel AIA
    Colby Company Engineering
    Rochester NH

  • 2.  RE: Site Visit Check Lists

    Posted 05-20-2024 08:01 AM

    I have had similar experience in forgetting or not thinking about something in particular to look at when on site. I like the idea of a checklist, even though you can't capture everything. Certainly, it changes as the project progresses. It could be about focusing on the higher risk items, or things where you commonly have seen an issue. I am interested to hear what others do.

    Sharon Day AIA
    GWWO Architects
    Baltimore MD

  • 3.  RE: Site Visit Check Lists

    Posted 05-21-2024 05:28 PM

    The checklists are tough because you'll never cover everything you need. The suggested photographs are a great idea both for the current review and historic record.

    My view is that with some experience, "you know it when you see it." The way that your office details things tends to be repetitive through standard details, so you get used to seeing and knowing what most things should look like, and as you are looking at the work in progress, you'll soon be able to get the feel that when something isn't installed per the usual details, something looks wrong to you and then you stop and look and figure out what the problem is.

    Next, we tend to see the same sort of workmanship problems and errors repeated across jobs and you learn to look for certain things by experience.

    Last, there will be special situations- finishes, connections, meeting points, etc.- that you know you have to check. I usually take a screen shot of these "must look at" situations ahead of time, print it out (I'm old fashioned) and mark some notes in red as a reminder to look at and check certain things.

    So, more experience doing CA and working for a firm, your checklist becomes a series of mental images- you'll look at something and it will seem right, and you move on, but if something is wrong, your spidey-sense will make you stop, look twice, and you'll soon be spotting the problems easily. 

    Arlen Solochek, FAIA
    Arlen Solochek FAIA, Consulting Architect
    Phoenix, AZ

  • 4.  RE: Site Visit Check Lists

    Posted 30 days ago

    The gut instinct is a great tool, just one that is hard to quantify. 

    Workmanship and quality control within the past 5-7 years have seemed to diminish adding extra efforts on the A/E. I'm also finding that the failure in quality control and lack of workmanship is leading to much more in-depth punchlists, more frequent site visits, and an overall more "hand holding" on site. I'm curious if you and others have run into this and how it has been handled. 

    Shaili Patel AIA
    Colby Company Engineering
    Rochester NH

  • 5.  RE: Site Visit Check Lists

    Posted 29 days ago
    Hi Arlen,
    The critical thing here is your comment "with some experience".  How do you acquire that experience, and in the meantime, how do you get your work done?   Check Lists are a good way of getting started.  Each junior person approaching a CA project ought to modify the Check List to fit the specifics of the project, an act that by itself will already provide the CA with invaluable insight into the project he/she is about to review.

    But you've got to start from somewhere, especially when your "experience" is still in the making.

    Best regards,

    Gustavo Lima, AIA, MRAIC, DBIA, CCCA, LEED AP

    m: 716-909-1709

           A NYS Certified MBE



  • 6.  RE: Site Visit Check Lists

    Posted 29 days ago

    How to get the experience? It's a commitment from the firm. Architecture still is an apprenticeship profession since our architecture schools teach very little of what's really needed for 85% of the graduates to function in the profession. Like everything else we do in the profession, it's training, repetition, learning from others.  There's no osmosis of knowledge in architecture. 

    I think that the worst thing an office can do is put someone relatively inexperienced in the field doing CA. Field work is the last chance to review the work in progress, generally make sure it's in conformance with the Contract Documents, catch and correct problems. 

    My view is that doing CA work is a training exercise- junior staff should accompany more experienced staff in doing CA work to learn, to find out what to look for, to learn how to communicate with the contractor, etc. It's an added cost and commitment from the firm.

    That same junior staff should be working on all of the CA phase work- RFI's, ASI's, change orders, pay applications, submittal review, claims and conflict reviews, etc. In addition, I really like that newer people who are interested in doing CA also be working on the construction documents, developing the details and specifications for the project that they'll later be looking at in the field.  This helps make the connection between what's on the computer screen and what's being constructed. 

    Arlen Solochek, FAIA
    Arlen Solochek FAIA, Consulting Architect
    Phoenix, AZ

  • 7.  RE: Site Visit Check Lists

    Posted 05-20-2024 05:30 PM

    By methodically photographing everything, I can usually check my shots for "forgot to look ats". A cooperative Contractor can also follow-up with photos. Checklists of what I want to see & verify also help. When travelling, staying overnight allows for a review of my first day in the evening, to see what I need to look at (again) the next day.

    Robert Drake AIA, CSI CCS CCCA
    STV Inc.
    Forest Hills NY

  • 8.  RE: Site Visit Check Lists

    Posted 30 days ago

    Thanks, Robert, 

    I agree with photographing and having the time before and after to analyze what was done to ensure additional time is used efficiently. I also have found luck in doing narrated video recordings, however, when the job site does not allow for photography, it's back to the sketchbook. This is where the struggle seems to be, as carrying around a 8 volume set is not practice. 

    Your notion of methodically photographing reminded us of this resources: Using Photography to Evaluate Site Work

    It's a lovely white paper regarding the use of photography to evaluate site conditions and work. Hope this is useful for others as well. 

    Shaili Patel AIA
    Colby Company Engineering
    Rochester NH

  • 9.  RE: Site Visit Check Lists

    Posted 29 days ago

    I have attended a few conferences in the past 4 years and one of the consistent themes is there is a newer, greener work force. I have heard stories from medical centers of critical shutdowns that were scheduled months in advance only to find that the team that shows up the day of has never done a shut down like this before and may not even have the tools required to do the job.

    So how does that affect us?

    It means more is being asked of all of us to help compensate. In some cases, like exterior envelope detailing for example, this can lead to potential add-services where we spend more time on site helping the subcontractors understand not only the detailing, but the sequence of installation.

    I have always felt that no matter how many times I walk a site I will always find something new. However, I am reminded that our job is not to catch and document every mistake or defect. Our primary reasons for walking the site are:

    1. To get a sense of the level of completion to facilitate application for payment reviews.
    2. To document any stored materials, again for application for payment reviews.
    3. Review the in-progress construction for conformance with the Contract Documents

    I agree with Arlen, that once you get a sense of how your office details things, deviations will start to stand out in the field as "off" or "wrong". And every project is an opportunity to learn. I tell our emerging staff that every time you walk a project you learn something. I recommend they keep their PPE in their car and to walk every project they can.

    I don't have a checklist of items to review while on site, but through experience I do have an ever-growing list of things I look for.

    Remember that we are not required to perform an exhaustive review of the on-site conditions. If your projects require it, it may be time to talk to the owner about enhanced CA services.

    Hope this helps,


    James Woody AIA
    Perkins + Will
    Palmyra VA

  • 10.  RE: Site Visit Check Lists

    Posted 18 days ago

    The green workforce in construction is definitely an issue and you don't know 'until you know' how bad it will be on each project. We have tried to start billing CA hourly for this reason. One of the current projects I'm working on has had multiple submittals submitted in the wrong spec section, lumped with other trades or buried in compiled submittals. And then we got the plumbing fixtures.. one sink per submittal at a time. Even if you take the time to explain your photos and details and walk through site issues with the junior folks in your own office, training the GC can be very time (and cost) consuming. 

    But as to the first question.. photos photos photos. Of course I have gotten better at spotting things over time and just from knowing the drawings and being involved in spec writing and detailing, but no matter how much time I spend in the space I try and walk and systematically take a photo every few feet because I always catch things later at my desk that I didn't notice in person. Usually I'm talking to the site super, answering 10 questions, thinking about how to resolve some conflict and trying to remember where that one fire alarm device was in elevation. Once I sit down and go through photos I always see more stuff because I can slow down and zoom in. Its also why I'm partial to photos and not video. I can never stop the videos right where I want them in time and get a clear image. 

    Jessica Saravia AIA
    DMAC Architecture
    Evanston IL

  • 11.  RE: Site Visit Check Lists

    Posted 17 days ago

    Jessica Saravia is correct about billing CA on an hourly basis.  From job to job, you never know how much time you will spend during CA.  If you think you know, you will do one of two things, over charge your client, or financially destroy your business.


    Jessica is also correct about photos, photos, photos when you are on the job site.  On the job site your attention is focused in 360 degrees, and countless distractions that cause you to miss some critical elements.  Sitting down with photos, on your computer, allows you to concentrate on one area at a time.  You will be amazed at how many unexpected elements will pop up that are incorrect or appear to be not as designed.  You can then return to the site and verify if necessary before you right your report.




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