Post Contract Construction

The change from pre-construction to the construction stage reflects all the preparation required to define your project that allows the construction work to start on site.

Pre-start Meeting

This meeting takes place to establish roles and responsibilities, lines of communication, proper working arrangements and health & safety issues. The arrangements for quality control are clarified which normally involves the introduction of a Clerk of Works to the team. The Clerk of Works is responsible for inspecting the works and confirming that the construction works are in compliance with the clients requirements.

Design Management

This can be a demanding and complex process. The Project Manager should clarify the responsibilities of the lead designer and other project team members and should formulate a design management plan as a basis for managing and controlling the design process. The lead designer will be responsible for the coordination and integration of the work of all design consultants.

Project Coordinator

The Project Manager should arrange and convene regular progress meetings to review the project status and identify any actions necessary to deliver the design management plan. Follow up actions are controlled by the issue of minutes to all parties. The lead designer will convene, chair and minute all design team meetings. The cost consultant will attend these meetings to advise on costs, update the project cost plan and monitor design development against the agreed budget. The Construction Design and Management Co-ordinator will attend these meetings to advise on the health and safety aspects of the project. The Project Manager may attend these meetings, although not essential. He will receive minutes of these meeting and will report on these and all other matters to the Client on a regular basis. Client approval and sign off to the design will be required at the conclusion of the process.

Site Establishment

Once the contract has been signed the contractor can start on site. The Project Manager should agree operational procedure and site administration issues, for example:

Clarify site boundaries, survey adjacent properties. Note: a party wall surveyor may be required to agree any restrictions and or awards.

Security, means of escape

Accommodation and site welfare facilities

Health and safety issues

Risk Management

Formal risk management should continue into this stage and will seek to identify and mitigate specific construction related risks such as:

Disruptive activities with the potential to delay and/or add cost

Health and safety on the site personnel and for the general public

Time, Cost and Quality Management

The main contractor will have the responsibility for managing the works on site to meet the contract requirements. They should provide, and update when necessary, a detailed construction programme to allow the project to be monitored and regularly report on progress. Although the contractor has the responsibility to supervise the works, the Design Team has the responsibility for inspecting the works. Where the Design Team have been novated to the contractors team under the contract, the Project Manager should agree alternative arrangements for these inspections. Specific appointments may take place in either scenario to undertake or assist in this role, for example, a Clerk of Works.

Project Monitoring

The Project Manager should report regularly to the Client to an agreed structure including the following issues:

Overall project status

Current expenditure

Anticipated final costs

Variation and the reasons for same

Updated cashflow

Existing and anticipated problems with proposed mitigation, risk register update

Planning status

Team performance

Quality management

Approvals as required

Change Control

Time and cost implications of introducing variations to the contract requirements increase exponentially as you move from the design stage and through the construction stage. As such, the project should be clearly defined prior to contract signature and any changes avoided if at all possible, during the construction stage. Strict change control procedures should be applied to minimise the impact of any unavoidable changes and should include client approvals informed by accurate assessments of time, cost and quality implications.

Disputes Management

Disputes are generally avoided through well defined projects, clear briefing, contracts that openly identify the risks and a culture of co-operation and trust. Problems can still arise though and a staged approach should be adopted to deal with them. The following is a generic approach to dispute resolution stages.

1. Discussions should take place between Principals.

2. A mediator should be appointed. Settlements through this process should be agreed in writing. (Note: A mediator has no powers of enforcement).

3. Appointment of an independent adjudicator. The right to appoint an independent adjudicator is provided under the Housing Grants, Construction & Regeneration Act 1996 and can give recourse to a quick decision on an identified dispute.

4. Formal arbitration or litigation – these are usually long and costly processes and should only be used as a last resort.

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