The Basics of Construction Administration

The architect has many roles within a project – not only are they responsible for the architectural design, but they also play an important part in construction administration. After the design has been completed and construction commences the architect serves as an ‘overseer’ of the project to ensure that it is built according to the design documents. The architect not only represents the firm but also the Client / Owner to ensure the contractor is building the project as per our construction documents, which the client has paid us to prepare.

During the construction administration phase, the majority of the work shifts from the architect’s shoulders to the contractor’s. The architect’s role becomes that of an observer and record keeper in lieu of designer. The team schedules, at a minimum, weekly progress meetings called the “OAC” which include the Owner, Architect, and Contractor. This is when the team walks the site, reviews the construction progress and may resolve any issues to keep the project on track. It is typical for the contractor to have questions about the drawings or documents; this may be reviewed while on site or a subsequent job site visit.

The contractor submits shop drawings and product samples to the architect for review. This submittal process helps ensure that the quality standard set forth in the project is upheld and the products are in compliance with the project specifications. The contractor prepares the shop drawings which the architect reviews for design intent and approves for construction.

In all construction projects, there are unknowns that can affect the final outcome of the project. Once these are uncovered the architect can act as a valuable resource, helping the owner navigate through the design choices, substitutions requests, or existing condition restraints, and constructability suggestions by the contractor. In most cases, the architect serves as the mediator between the client and contractor in the case of a disagreement.

When the project is almost complete, the contractor will provide a list of items that need to be addressed before the job is considered finished. This ‘punch list’ of items is inspected by the architect and final payment to the contractor depends on satisfactory completion of the included items. Based on the client’s timeline and need, they can often move into their new building before the final punch list is corrected.

Summary of the benefits of Construction Administration

  • We lead / attend a weekly project meeting (OAC) and review the progress of construction.
  • We confirm that the contractor is executing the project as per the design and specifications.
  • We are available to quickly resolve unexpected issues and unforeseen conditions, so construction progress is not delayed.
  • We review the contractor’s payments, so we have more leverage during construction. This leverage allows us to protect the client’s interest and confirm that they are only paying for what is appropriate at that stage of the project.
  • We review shop drawings and submittals. Again, to confirm that the client is getting what he /she is paying for.
  • We assist with preparing and confirming the completion of the punchlist and that the Certificate of Occupancy is issued.
  • We are legally responsible for their health, safety and welfare and must confirm that all building and environmental codes are being observed, and
  • As licensed professionals, it is our firm’s policy to be involved in the construction to protect our firm’s legal exposure in terms of liability.