May 3, 2023

Why Construction Administration Matters: Ensuring a Successful Build

You’re hired an architect to design your dream home, you are excited about the plans and you can’t wait to get going on construction. But wait, there’s one important aspect of the project you may not be familiar with: construction administration. We get this question all the time and so we want to take this opportunity to talk about what it is, why it’s so important and the benefits it brings to your project. So let’s dig in…

What is Construction Administration?

Construction Administration, CA for short, or also often referred to as Construction Phase Services, is a vital part of any building project. It occurs after you’ve received your permit, your design is on paper, and the contractor is ready to start building. At this point in your project, your architect’s role is to closely monitors the construction process to ensure that everything is going according to plan. This includes reviewing shop drawings, being available to answer questions from the contractor, and making site visits to verify the quality of the work. This all helps you feel comfortable that the project is getting built as close to the design as possible.

Construction Administration with Atelier Drome team on site

Why is Construction Administration important?

Now that we’ve defined Construction Administration let’s explore why this service is so essential:

Quality Control

During the construction process, unforeseen circumstances and challenges are inevitable.

No matter how detailed the plans, there will always be questions and adjustments. Having your architect available to meet with you and the contractor is invaluable for addressing these challenges and ensuring the end product meets your expectations.

Some common issues that may come up include a product no longer being available when it comes time to order, requiring a suitable substitute that doesn’t compromise the design, or a contractor disagreeing with the drawings and making unauthorized changes. Other challenges might involve clarifications to help the contractor better understand the drawings or unexpected obstacles discovered during demolition, such as hidden pipes or columns.

Your architect acts as your advocate, collaborating with you and the contractor to find solutions and maintain the integrity of the design. This collaborative approach not only resolves issues efficiently but also keeps the project on track and true to your vision. So, having your architect engaged throughout the construction process is crucial for a successful project.

Facilitating effective communication

Regular construction meetings, whether weekly or twice monthly, are key. During these meetings, the contractor reviews the design documents to thoroughly understand the design intent and raises questions about upcoming work. The architect attends these meetings to provide answers and guidance. It’s also common for the owner to participate in these meetings.

These gatherings, sometimes referred to as OAC meetings (representing the “owner, architect, and contractor”), ensure everyone is on the same page. While the architect and contractor can handle much of the coordination, the owner’s direct input is valuable. This is because the discussions often impact the final design directly.

Maintaining consistent communication and collaboration through regular OAC meetings enables the project team to address potential issues promptly, avoiding costly delays and contributing to a successful project outcome.

Construction Administration involves checking that the built product meets the design

Mitigating potential risks and liabilities

Contractors have different approaches to their work. Some strictly adhere to the design package, while others prefer to be creative when addressing in-process challenges. Both situations call for active input from the project team.

A meticulous contractor may seek additional details or clarifications for specific situations. This level of precision can be advantageous in ensuring that the project closely aligns with the original vision. In contrast, a more inventive contractor might find unique solutions to problems or make unannounced changes. While creativity can be valuable in certain circumstances, it’s crucial to ensure that any modifications align with the project’s goals and maintain the design’s integrity.

Consistent communication and collaboration between the contractor, architect, and client are vital for the project’s success. Open dialogue and teamwork allow everyone to address challenges and achieve the desired outcome.

Managing Project Budget and Timeline

Construction administration is not solely focused on ensuring the project’s aesthetics align with everyone’s vision; it also plays a crucial role in maintaining the budget and schedule. While every project will inevitably encounter some challenges along the way, a dedicated team can advocate for you and find solutions within budget.

Regular meetings encourage proactive planning, prompting the contractor to anticipate potential challenges in the construction schedule and address them before they become critical. By identifying issues early, such as a tile selling out, the team can quickly find a suitable substitute and minimize any impact on the project’s timeline.

Construction Administration - checking the built product against the design

Conclusion – The Benefits of Construction Administration

In summary, construction administration (CA) is an essential component of any construction project, ensuring it remains on track, within budget, and true to the desired design. By promoting open communication and collaboration between the owner, architect, and contractor, potential issues can be addressed efficiently, leading to a successful outcome for everyone.

Involving your architect throughout the construction process alleviates the responsibility of answering questions and provides peace of mind. You can trust that the project will align with the design you painstakingly developing and that every detail is carefully executed from start to finish. Your architect can help navigate necessary changes and minimize costly delays, resulting in a final product you can feel proud of.

So, when you embark on your next construction journey, remember to prioritize construction administration and enjoy the rewards of a well-managed and successful project.