Ensuring that a construction contract is properly administered is essential. Meadow Consultants, when appointed, will provide contract administration framework to ensure the contractor delivers the project as promised. The role of the contract manages the contract between the employer and the building contractor.
The role of a contract administrator covers a wide range of possible responsibilities and projects, ranging from small residential projects through to larger commercial projects – the responsibilities of a contract administrator will therefore vary depending on the project type and the building contract and professional appointment under which the contract administrator is appointed. Contract administrators acting as decision makers, must act independently, impartially, honestly and fairly (Sutcliffe v Thackrah  AC 727).
What is a Contract Administrator?
A contract administrator manages contracts made between building contractors, employers, and clients. Their responsibility is to administer construction contracts, whereby they may act as project managers, engineers, consultants and client representatives. Their specific roles and duties should be agreed by the construction company and the client and may be different for each project.
Some examples of the kinds of duties contract administrators generally have include:
Inviting and processing tenders.
Preparing contract documents for execution
· Ensuring that the works are progressing in accordance with the contract programme and therefore that the completion date is achieved by the parties.
· Report to the employer on progress of works.
· Managing the commissioning of works.
· Supervising works and inspecting works.
· Providing instructions to the contractor.
· Managing defects.
· Determining applications for an extension of time.
· Managing adjustments to the contract price.
Ensuring that project documentation is issued to the client.
· Keeping records. This could include keeping records of site visits, correspondence etc.
· Certifying works and issuing Practical Completion Certificates.
What Does a Contract Administrator Do?
The contract administrator will ordinarily have a range of responsibilities and duties. In broad terms these responsibilities and duties will include ensuring the contractual procedure provided for is followed and managing the day-to-day running of the contract.
An example of this is that under the JCT form of contract, the contract administrator may be required to determine when practical completion is achieved, approve the quality of materials to be used or provide instructions if there are discrepancies in the documentation.
Who can be a contract administrator?
The role of the contract administrator may be undertaken by a range of individuals, these include architects, engineers, building surveyors, quantity surveyors or any agent of the employer. In theory, the employer, contractor or a director or employee of either party can act as contract administrator. This may save costs by avoiding the need for a professional appointment. However, parties should consider any practical difficulties which might arise if this close connection exists and should also check their contract to make sure there is no express provision precluding such individuals as acting as contract administrator.
The role of contract administrator can add real value to a construction project – ensuring that the construction contract is administered fairly and effectively. The key to a successful contract administrator relationship is selecting an experienced contract administrator and providing for a clear delineation of responsibilities from the outset.