Bulletproof contract administration: Managing risk during construction

Most claims against design professionals arise from services provided during the construction phase, and an architect’s approach to construction contract administration (CCA) can greatly affect risk exposure and its outcomes. For a more effective defense, the answer lies not just in providing appropriate contract administration services, but in documenting those services and covering all the bases. Timely responses, appropriate record keeping and managing owner expectations are integral parts of covering your assets with good CCA; and when administered routinely, uniformly and efficiently, this risk-prone phase of services can serve as a proactive claims defense.

This paper by James B. Atkins, FAIA, addresses CCA activities and documentation that can improve your risk exposure. Beginning with the services agreement, CCA responsibilities will be addressed with suggestions for making your services more risk-averse. Each section concludes with a handy checklist summary for future reference. Site visits, submittals, RFIs, changes and payment certifications are addressed, concluding with substantial and final completion. Effective reporting of meetings is examined in the context of effective record documentation. Included with the paper is a full CCA checklist for establishing your approach to this phase. These guidelines will help you organize your services for pursuing your goal for bulletproof CCA.

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