Updated: Oct 28, 2021
In this post, I'm reviewing Level 1 of the Contract Administration competency. This is another straightforward competency in the sense that there is a lot of information that is available for you to digest AND it's similar to the Contract Practice competency (I've already written a post for that one - please check it out).
DISCLAIMER: The following is not an exhaustive set of notes, but it's an attempt to help those who, like me at the beginning, did not know where to start! Please feel free to let me know if I have said anything incorrect or out of date!
So what is Contract Administration all about?
The RICS describes this competency in the following way:
This competency covers the role of a surveyor administering a construction contract. It includes the roles and responsibilities of the administrator under the main forms of contract. They should have a detailed understanding of the contractual provisions relating to the forms of contract that they have administered.
Level 1 is all about the following:
Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the contractual, legislative and statutory terminology/ requirements, of a construction contract
The various standard forms of contract and sub-contract used in the industry
I've already covered this separately in the Contract Practice post. You need to know about the different contracts in your field, the differences between them and why stakeholders may choose different versions.
The best piece of advice someone ever gave me was from a retired QS who told me to always read the contract from beginning to end when joining a project. This was very early on in my career and I remember him sitting next to me with nothing but a printed version of the contract, a highlighter and a pen. He went through it line by line, highlighted key sections and made annotations so he could clarify it at later date. The point he made is you can't be an effective contract administrator if you do not know the rules of the game!
A Contract Administrator is an important person because they are essentially the gatekeeper to the client. In JCT they are labelled as the 'Contract Administrator', in NEC it's the 'Project Manager' and in FIDIC it will be the 'Engineer'.
In some instances, the CA and the QS may be the same role i.e. they are holding a dual role on a commission. I've seen this happen on JCT Design and Build contracts (because a QS is not a named person as part of it). This can also happen in NEC contracts but generally what tends to happen is that the Contract Administrator will be a role undertaken by a Project Manager who relies on a QS to undertake the commercial functions i.e. valuations, loss/expense, extensions of time, early warnings, cost reporting etc.
Basic contractual mechanisms and procedures applied at various stages of the contract
This is another bullet point that has been covered in the Contract Practice post. The Contract Administrator is vital to the contract because they hold the trigger to initiate any of these mechanisms.
The roles and responsibilities of the administrator
The Contract Administrator has various duties with respect to time, cost and quality, here are some below to give you a flavour of their role:
They must ensure certificates are issued on time so the contractor gets paid
They must respond to the extension of time requests
In the NEC world, they must accept the programme on time
They must certify payments
They approve loss/expense claims
They can trigger LADs if the contractor is late
They can trigger the performance bond if the contractor becomes insolvent or fails to perform
They can request the opening up and testing of works
They can trigger a parent company guarantee
They can trigger a collateral warranty
The RICS have a guidance note which usefully breaks down this competency into Levels 1, 2 and 3 as per the competency requirements.
That's it for this post folks!
If you have any queries on the above drop a comment and I will get back to you!