Construction Contract Administration

 View Only

Community HTML

A crane

Quick Links

Who we are

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.

     

How to connect

- Join to get occasional emails with new content and resources.
- Post on the discussion board to ask questions and share ideas.
- Read a CCA white paper - or contribute your own!
- Attend an upcoming event such as webinars and conferences.
- Provide feedback on what you'd like to see from your CCA community at cca@aia.org.

  • 1.  Using online Document Control software: whose system should we use?

    Posted 12-08-2023 12:43 PM

    The use of online Document Control (DC) applications to tackle the massive amount of information associated with the CA phase of a project has been a common practice for many years.  This, however, has taken place in a variety of forms, each with its pros and cons.  This post intends to survey the most popular of these formats and query the members of the community on their preferences and the reasons for them.

    In principle, any one or more of the three parties (Owner, A/E, Builder) associated with a construction contract may own the DC app.    

    Owner owns the DC app: Many large institutions with large construction programs prefer this option in order to keep all their projects in a single, permanent location.

    • Pros: Owner pays for the use of the app.
    • Cons: A/E does not have control of the data, however, Owner is likely to enforce "fair use" rules from all parties, contributing to a somewhat equitable record.  Owner can cut the A/E off in case of a dispute, however, this is rare (Note: some DC apps vow to now allow this).  The A/E cannot conduct enterprise-wide performance analysis (data mining) because the data is scattered across projects and clients.

    Builder owns the DC app:  This is the most common situation.  The builder requires that everybody (owner, A/E, subcontractors, etc.) operate and fill-in information on their app.

    • Pros: Builder pays for the use of the app.  Cost is passed on to the Owner, either in the price of the contract, or as part of the General Conditions.
    • Cons: A/E does not have control of the data, which can lead to disputes about the integrity of same (e.g.: dates of closure of RFI's).  The A/E cannot conduct enterprise-wide performance analysis (data mining) because the data is scattered across projects and clients.

    A/E owns the DC app: This is quite uncommon across the profession, but more popular with larger firms

    • Pros: A/E owns the data, and can make sure that it is accurate. A/E can conduct enterprise-wide performance analysis (data mining) to asses areas of concern and anticipate problems.  A/E can use the power of the app to standardize documents produced by the firm, providing consistency in content and appearance.  The DC apps tend to have capabilities beyond CA (e.g.: BIM and drawing management) that can be helpful to the project team since the very beginning of the project. 
    • Cons: Cost is substantial, but it can be passed on to the Owner as a reimbursable, just as the Builder does.  

    When the Owner owns the system, both builders and A/E's acquiesce to its use.  The builder would typically NOT relinquish the use of its own DC app, since the rest of the projects in the firm are in that system, so they end up double-logging the information (first in the Owner's system and then in their own system).  If the A/E has its own DC app in house, the A/E ends up double logging as well, with the consequential cost (these costs should be considered when preparing the A/E fee, and passed on to the Owner, just like the Builder does).

    How do we resolve the conflicting agendas here?  Do you find yourself arguing with the builder about the data in the system, to which you do not have control?  If you end up in a dispute, and you don't have quick access to your own data, how would you argue in your own behalf?  Has the builder or Owner cut you off from accessing the data?  Would you want to know, at an enterprise level, who in your firm or your subs have submittals and RFI's that are due today?  Do you create your CA documents (CPR's, Bulletins, ASI's, CCD's, Meeting Minutes, Field Visit Reports, Punch Lists, etc.) in a separate document creation software (Word?) and post them to the app, or do you use the app to create these documents?  If you use Word, do you find that the appearance of the documents is not consistent across your firm?  If you use your own DC app, have you been successful in passing its cost to the Owner, just as the Builder does?  If  you have an in-house enterprise-wide DC app, do you use it to monitor performance and drive improvement?

    Please post your answers, we are all interested in seeing how this important aspect of the CA phase of our projects are being handled.



    ------------------------------
    Gustavo Lima AIA, MRAIC, CCCA, DBIA, LEED AP
    Gustavo A. Lima Architecture, PC
    Buffalo, NY
    ------------------------------
    Join us at AIA24 for CCA-related sessions! June 5 through 8, Washington, DC. Click here to learn more.


  • 2.  RE: Using online Document Control software: whose system should we use?

    Posted 12-10-2023 02:04 AM

    In my experience, documentation control varies from project to project.  My office works in various market sectors.  Some considerations are the project delivery method, the client, and the budget. If the project is design-build, then we often just rely on the contractor's DC system. If the client is a large organization, then they usually have their own DC system and require all documents to flow through that system. If the budget is tight, then we often rely on other's DC systems.  However, I have found it is good practice to double log for our own record keeping and tracking purposes.



    ------------------------------
    Tyler Schaffer AIA
    LMN Architects
    Mukilteo WA
    ------------------------------

    Join us at AIA24 for CCA-related sessions! June 5 through 8, Washington, DC. Click here to learn more.


  • 3.  RE: Using online Document Control software: whose system should we use?

    Posted 12-11-2023 05:49 PM

    Gustavo,

    Excellent article and well-considered. As a small firm, it is most common that the contractor hosts the app which is typically Procore. We have no issues with using their app; however, we also perform the following:

    • Maintain our own copies of all documentation on our server in our Project files.
    • Download, edit, and mark-up documents using our own software (typically Bluebeam for pdfs), and then upload reviewed documents to the DC software. We also lock or flatten all PDF documents prior to uploading.
    • Never send editable documents (although we understand there is software available to unlock any document). This is the reason we maintain our own "official" copy.
    • Require the Contractor to add our review language to the pull-down menus as, for submittals, we prefer the term "reviewed" over the term "approved."

     

    The one thing that I do not like is that there typically is no back channel for private distribution of documents between our office and our consultants.  I do not want our consultant to post responses to RFIs, submittal reviews, or other matters prior to our having reviewed same. Therefore, we handle communications with our consultants via email, outside of the DC software. Our consultants are permitted to review and download documents directly from the DC software.

     

    Kindest regards,

    Mark

     

    Mark I. Baum, Architect, AIA

    1493040264519_PastedImage

     




    Join us at AIA24 for CCA-related sessions! June 5 through 8, Washington, DC. Click here to learn more.


  • 4.  RE: Using online Document Control software: whose system should we use?

    Posted 01-02-2024 05:34 PM

    As mentioned by others DC varies from Project to project - client to client. We often use the GC's DC software and keep copies of all the correspondence, especially if one day we don't have the access to the files (RFIs, meeting mins etc) and we are "cut-off". Our issue is that many times the DC uses different terminology eg. approved vs no exception taken and we try to identify that and provide our "key" to that "baked-in app response". We have used our CA files (MS Word) and uploaded to the DC platform. I agree with Mark in that there's often no control where consultants are involved. Many times (especially if the consultant is under the Prime contract / Architect) we would want to review the response to get proper alignment and thus we handle communications with our consultants via email, outside of the DC software. If consultants are directly contracted w/ Owner or GC that doesn't matter then.



    ------------------------------
    Janene Christopher AIA
    Steinberg Hart
    San Diego CA
    ------------------------------

    Join us at AIA24 for CCA-related sessions! June 5 through 8, Washington, DC. Click here to learn more.