Posted on June 15, 2022
As a project begins, building owners and clients—whether an architectural firm, facilities management group, or some other stakeholder—meet engineers, general contractors, other architects and designers, and dozens of other professionals like electricians and plumbers.
Consulting engineering firms like R.E. Dimond and Associates also assign a construction administrator. We assign a construction administrator to nearly every project we work on.
Paul Gloyeske is among a small team of construction administrators at R.E. Dimond, but he’s quick to note, “The CAs at R.E. Dimond do more.” That’s because in addition to keeping construction projects on time, moving forward, and on budget with everything organized for efficiency, Paul and his team are on-site, investigating issues, and bring immense experience and wisdom as projects unfold. That’s a hybrid approach to the usual definition of construction and contract administration used in the industry.
Contract administration keeps your contract on track
The construction industry often uses terms like “contract administration”, “construction administration”, and “construction management”. These terms are broad, but at R.E. Dimond our teams are most akin to construction administrators. Contract administrators are the first “pillar” of a project’s management team.
It’s the contract administrator’s job to be your early, primary contact for keeping contracts, budgets, and other plan documents in order. Unlike typical contract administration, we mix a blend of construction administration work by going further with involvement in all aspects of your building project’s pre-construction and construction phases that involve our scope of work.
Typically a contractor administrator’s work includes:
- Establishing and maintaining deadlines for projects and phases.
- Reviewing all construction contract documents for standards, compliance, and legally required specifications.
- Maintaining and providing input on a list of to-dos for everyone involved in the building project.
- Answering request for information (RFI) documents from municipal employees, building authorities, and other industry partners and professionals.
- Ensuring materials used in the project meet all the requirements and expectations.
- Draft documents and proposals and even presentations for classifications, logging, and reporting.
- Maintain and organize all construction documents along the way.
- Work with clients and stakeholders on change orders.
Contract administration services also include determining when a project is done and meets all of the required specifications. CAs like Paul at R.E. Dimond and Associates help clients and building owners close out documents such as manuals, warranties, ledgers, insurance, and any equipment documentation, too.
Construction administration ensures project completion and manages resources
Broadly in the industry, construction management is a second “pillar” of a project. Construction administration is about managing resources. A good construction administration is able to:
- Consult with contractors and subcontractors and help them produce high-quality work on time with necessary supplies, materials, and equipment.
- Manage costs during project design and the construction stage. They will likely work closely with a contract administrator to help analyze costs, offer input on the bidding process, and keep construction costs under control. CAs at R.E. Dimond and Associates work with other engineers and clients to consult or guide recommendations in the best interest of our clients.
- Understand the project’s scope and technical specifications to make sure the project is completed successfully. Our CAs also ensure the project and work we’re consulting on is within the scope of our contract.
- Sometimes construction administrators maintain the budget and work with the general contractor and other partners to ensure the building owner’s interests and project objectives are met.
Construction management is the third “pillar” of the management team. Construction management overlaps with construction administration a bit when working with contracts, but most construction management within R.E. Dimond and Associate’s scope of work is limited and handled at the worksite when construction begins.
Construction management helps improve and maintain safety during the construction project. A construction manager is responsible for their construction or engineering teams and everyone working on-site.
Importantly, construction administrators do not supervise anyone and they are not project managers. Those responsibilities belong to construction management or someone on the general contractor’s team.
At R.E. Dimond and Associates, our hybrid contract and construction administrators do more
Throughout each step of a building project, whether it’s a solar PV installation or a historic renovation project, our CAs like Paul are solving challenging problems with quick thinking.
Change orders, for example, can result in significant delays or costs to clients and teams. Our CAs at R.E. Dimond and Associates provide years of experience in how best to handle change orders for a variety of reasons, such as problems discovered during construction, changes in taste or preferences, and code enforcement or building authority regulations.
As Paul explains, “On a BIM drawing or blueprint, it might appear the 8” space between a wall and an electrical panel has room for a pipe. But I know the people who come along later to work on and maintain that pipe aren’t going to have enough room to turn their wrench in such a tight space.” That, Paul says, shows how having a firm understanding of construction methods, and an organized mind, prevent small issues from becoming long-term problems later.