Contract Administration – Back to Basics

Contract admin – to old hands, it can be one of the most routine aspects of the job. But if you’re new to it, then it might spell the end of your time in a job! So what are the key things to watch out for and what do you need to know to succeed with contract administration?

You will no doubt be familiar with the scope or quality triangle with cost, quality and time at each corner. Fundamentally the contract administrator is controlling that triangle to ensure each of the priorities is met.

Firstly, the process is one of ensuring contract compliance. As we always say in these articles, you must know your contract. A typical challenge people face comes when they think they know what the contract says, because they’ve worked with it for years. However, they then discover an amendment appears that they’re not familiar with.

Be sure to check (or get someone else to) exactly what is required by your contract. This is particularly important in terms of dates and provisions for responding to issues such as change or variations. A good contractor’s QS will be regularly checking for things that are outside the original scope of the project. A good contract administrator verifies and replies to each message and request promptly.

Also, remember that different contracts have differing requirements. The NEC, for example, is very different from the JCT. Take care not to treat one as if it were the other. By taking a few hours to check the contract and understand it, picking out key dates, conditions precedent and requirements, you will save many hours and pounds later down the line.

Overall the role is an impartial one of regular monitoring of progress and reporting back to the employer on the status of time, quality and cost.
Providing good, timely feedback ensures you have a clear idea of where the project is. A good contract administrator enables informed decisions and delivery of projects as close to their objectives as possible.

One of the main responsibilities of a contract administrator is to ensure that the contract is being followed accordingly. This includes overseeing project timelines, deliverables, and other important milestones.

In addition to their administrative duties, a contract administrator also plays an important role in maintaining good working relationships between the employer and contractor. They are responsible for communicating any changes or updates to the contract, as well as addressing any concerns or problems that may arise.

At the end of a project, the contract administrator will also handle final negotiations and dispute resolution. This requires an entirely separate set of skills. Again, external advice may be helpful to ensure a successful outcome. Understanding the dynamics of different roles and relationships between various parties and in their organisations should help lead to a successful and amicable outcome.

The above covers a few of the key elements of contract administration. If you should need help with anything related to contract admin give us a call, we’ll be happy to help.