The contract administrator is the individual responsible for administering the construction contract(s). The contract administrator may be the architect, and indeed the JCT (Joint Contracts Tribunal) standard form of contract describes the role as ‘architect / contract administrator‘ but the contract administrator could be the lead consultant, the cost consultant, or a client representative. GC Works (NB GC Works contracts are no longer being updated by the government) and NEC (New Engineering Contract) contracts describe the contract administrator as the ‘project manager‘, ICE 7th (Institution of Civil Engineers, now also dropped in favour of NEC) refers to the ‘engineer‘ and design and build contract such as JCT DB 05 (design and build) refer to the ‘employer’s agent‘.
Contract administrators are appointed by the client and usually act as the client’s agent. When certifying or giving an assessment or decision, the administrator has to act honestly and reasonably and their decisions are open to challenge via the dispute resolution procedure unless the contract makes their decisions final and conclusive. For example on NEC contracts the assessments, notifications and certificates of the project manager can be reviewed under the dispute resolution procedure as a result of ‘any action or inaction of the project manager ‘
The contract administrator‘s role will generally include:
- Inviting and processing tenders.
- Preparing contract documents for execution.
- Administrating change control procedures.
- Seeking instructions from the client in relation to the contract.
- Issuing instructions such as variations, or relating to prime cost sums or making good defects.
- Considering claims.
- Chairing construction progress meetings.
- Preparing and issuing construction progress reports.
- Co-ordinating and instructing site inspectors.
- Agreeing commissioning and testing procedures.
- Agreeing defects reporting procedures.
- Ensuring that project documentation is issued to the client.
- Issuing certificates of practical completion and interim certificates.
- Collating and issuing schedules of defects.
- Issuing the certificate of making good defects.
- Issuing the final certificate.
NB on a construction management contract, the role of contract administrator might be attributed to the construction manager. On management contracts (where the works contracts a re placed by the management contractor) the management contractor will perform the role of contract administrator.