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Contract Administration

What is Contract Administration?

24th Feb, 2018

Contract administration, is, the management of the contract between the employer, or client, and the building contractor.  A contract administrator or employer’s agent is required to manage, negotiate, support and execute the contract process.

Contract administration formally starts when the building contractor is hired to deliver the building project and associated works. The contract administration phase is all-inclusive and covers everything from:

  • Construction
  • Procurement
  • Subcontracting
  • Installation
  • Engineering
  • Commissioning
  • Handovers
  • Rectification
  • Final financial close of the project

The contract administration role is undertaken during the construction and delivery phase of a construction or building project.

The Role of a Contract Administrator

The role of a contract administrator (CA) is broad, but the most basic definition is managing the contract between the employer and the building contractor. Contract administration is required whenever contracts are involved and traditionally starts from the contract award stage and continues throughout until contract closeout or termination.

When the contract is a ‘design and build’ type, the role is referred to as an ‘employer’s agent’ and varies slightly in how it is carried out.

The role of a CA was originally usually carried out by the architect, however projects team roles have widened to include that of a project manager who often carries out the role, or it may be a role in its own right, depending on the size and complexity of the project. The contract administrator may be from a number of professions, including project managers, engineers, architects, building surveyors and quantity surveyors.

Contract Administrator Duties and Responsibilities

A contract administrator is responsible for administering the terms of a building contract between the parties involved. While the role is quite broad, a contract administrator requires a high level of accountability and responsibility. The day-to-day responsibilities and requirements of a contract administrator may vary depending on the type and size of the project and the location. Contracts may also vary in complexity and type, although the overall requirements of a contract administrator generally involve the following:

  • Having the knowledge and skills to apply all contractual obligations and provisions.
  • To make decisions in a fair, impartial and independent manner.
  • Work with different personnel within an organisation.
  • A working knowledge and experience in the construction industry and all other related trades.
  • Keep a record of the building contract and the work involved.
  • Coordinate actions with internal procurement and legal teams if needed.
  • Report status of current contract processes to management.
  • Resolve any conflicts and disputes related to the contract.
  • Follow up to ensure that all contractual agreements and payments are actioned.
  • Analyse potential risks that contract changes may pose to the organisation.

A contract administrator’s role only starts when a building contract is in place between the employers and the contractor, although in some cases, the contract administrator will have to perform pre-contract services as well. This will be on a case-by-case basis. The CA will be responsible for a variety of services from the time the contract starts to the time it ends.

TowerEight is a London-based company offering a dedicated, specialist team focused on a consistent, quality approach to administering contracts.