Architect's Contract Administration

AuthorCarl J. Circo
Arch itects Contrac t Admi nistrat ion 343
13.01 iNtrodu ctioN
Owners often hire design professionals to provide contract administration ser-
vices in addition to furnishing drawings and speci cations for the project. In
this context, “contract administration” refers to a wide range of activities that
assist the owner in its contractual relationship with the general contractor.
Those activities may include providing information to the contractor, inspect-
ing the progress of construction, preparing documents in connection with
changes to the work, helping to resolve disputes between the owner and the
contractor, and many other administrative tasks. Although an owner might
hire an architect, an engineer, or some other professional to provide contract
administration, for convenience this chapter presumes that an architect is pro-
viding those services.
In general, the owner and the architect may agree on whatever contract
administration services and procedures they think most appropriate for the
project. For many projects, however, the owner retains the same architect who
prepares the drawings and speci cations to provide a comprehensive array of
Architect’s Contract
344 CO N S T RU C T I O N L A W
contract administration services that conform to established industry customs.
The 2007 editions of AIA Documents B101
1 (especially Section 3.6) and A2012
(especially Sections 4.2 and 15.2) illustrate one of the most common arrange-
ments for contract administration for a commercial project using the Design-
Bid-Build project delivery method. For that reason, much of this chapter dis-
cusses the architect’s contract administration role in a way that reects the
contract administration provisions of these AIA documents. You may want to
review these AIA provisions in conjunction with this chapter.
13.02 Nature aNd S cope of a rchitect’S r ole
iN coNt rac t admiNiStr atioN
As you will see from the materials in this chapter, contract administration may
involve many different activities and may raise several important legal issues.
Depending on the owner’s needs, the architect may provide such extensive
services during the construction phase of a project that the architect occupies
a central role throughout the entire construction process. But in other projects,
the architect may be involved only in discrete administrative functions once
construction begins. For still other projects, the architect may not be involved
in any of the administrative aspects of the project at all.
The main purpose of this section is to familiarize you with the general con-
cept of contract administration. Additionally, because agency law provides the
underlying legal construct for certain key aspects of contract administration,
the concluding subdivision in this section briey highlights some of the agency
law considerations that will be relevant to certain issues presented in later sec-
tions of this chapter.
A. Overvi ew of Contract Administra tion
The contract for design services normally establishes the nature and scope of
the architect’s role in contract administration.3 For most projects, nothing in
the industry or the law requires the architect to have an ongoing role during
construction although licensing regulations may require that certain activities
1. American Institute of Architects, AIA Document B101–2007, Standard Form of Agreement
Between Owner and Architect (2007) [hereinafter AIA Document B101–2007].
2. American Institute of Architects, AIA Document A201–2007, General Conditions of the Con-
tract for Construction (2007) [hereinafter AIA Document A201–2007].
3. See AIA Document B101–2007 supra note 1, § (providing that the architect will pro-
vide contract administration as contemplated by AIA Document A201–2007).

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