Project Management 1.3 - Comments Concerning Construction Management Process

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Procedures for the Construction Management Process

1. Contractor maintains a construction contingency where he has sole discretion regarding its use. Both the contractor and the design team like the arrangement, since it allows changes to be made with little accountability. For example:

   1.1 The wrong color is specific for a wall which requires the wall to be repainted. The wall will be repainted and the cost will be accounted for the contingency allowance. The owner is happy because the wall is the right color, but he has actually paid for it twice.

    1.2 The contractor damages a wall in the course of remodeling or removes a wall which was not shown to be removed. The wall is repaired or replaced and the cost is absorbed in the contractor controlled contingency. The owner pays for the error.

    1.3 The contractor fails to install a new roof before winter.  Ceilings and walls are damaged during the winter which requires continual maintenance. The cost is again absorbed with the contractor controlled contingency, and again the owner pays.

   1.4 Basically any error or misjudgment which is additional cost will be absorbed in the contractor's contingency. The owner pays for everyone's mistakes and feels better about it, because he does not have to sign a change order.

2. The contractor keeps the meeting minutes which are very brief in description. Problem issues which are contractor created are either not brought up, or the documentation is so brief that very little can be concluded from the meeting minutes regarding responsibility. The owner could have a significant problem with documenting his position if the issue were to arise in the future which requires legal action against the contractor or the architect.

3. Owner related issues such as the R.O. water in the dialysis area are not documented in the meeting minutes from the owner's perspective. If a claim were to be made against the owner say in 3 years from now, the documentation does not describe what direction was given to the design team and the contractor.

4. Very little discussion ever takes place regarding the schedule. The contractor does not talk about how many days he is ahead or behind the schedule. Schedule updates are not provided in the meetings. Specific trades which may be delaying the schedule are not discussed. Nor is there any discussion regarding what the contractor intends to do to make up for lost time. Again the contractor is taking the meeting minutes from his perspective; hence, he is not going to document a problem which could cause him to look bad in a future claim dispute.

5. Quality control issues are not discussed in the meeting minutes. Comments are made regarding test results, but nothing is discussed regarding whether all areas are being tested adequately. Again the reporting or minutes are taken from a contractor's perspective.

6. The owner does not seem to have much to say in the submittal review process. The owner should have an opportunity to review specific submittals and to provide input prior to approval.

7. Change order documentations seem to be brief. Changes are often made with only verbal direction with the contractor to document the change on a work authorization form. It is questionable as to how well all of the changes are being documented on the plans. Good "as built" drawings could be a real problem in the future.

8. The nature of a "fast track" process does not allow the owner very much time for review and input during the design. In some cases that could be a positive if the owner tends to make changes at will; however, in most cases it could be a significant problem in the future if the facility does not meet the user's expectations.

9. Several positive items are achieved with a "fast track" process some of those include the following:

    9.1 Project is constructed faster; hence, allowing the owner to beat competition, reduce construction period interest, and reduce length of disruption to services.

    9.2 Change orders are dealt with much easier since there is no frustration on any ones part as to why the change order was created or who's responsibility it was for it's creation.

    9.3 Contractor and design team have fewer owner initiated changes since the user has less time to review the design.

    9.4 Very cooperative attitude on everyone's part since money issues are not a big topic of discussion as long as the project is being constructed with in what the construction manager has allowed.

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