What Is Construction Administration? Why It’s Important and Key Responsibilities


There’s a lot of work that goes into construction long before any ground is broken. For one thing, there’s the contractual agreement between the owner and the construction general contractor that has to be adhered to throughout the project. Overseeing that process is called construction administration.

Construction administration is not construction management and we’ll explain why. The two construction disciplines work together to ensure that the construction project is completed properly. Let’s explore what both construction administration and construction management do. Plus, we’ll outline the responsibilities of a construction administrator.

What Is Construction Administration?

Construction administration deals with overseeing that the construction contract is being adhered to throughout preconstruction and execution. Construction administration is present at all phases of a construction project to ensure that the agreement defined in the contract between the owner and the general contractor is being met.

Therefore, construction administration focuses on the completion of the contract, which provides what must be done for that contract to be fulfilled. Note that construction administration isn’t typically present in competitive bidding and it starts with preconstruction, once the contract has been agreed upon and signed. From there, it moves into the construction and inspection phase. It’s less visible, if at all, during asset management.

Construction administration is thorough and complicated, and using construction project management software helps execute those duties. ProjectManager is an award-winning construction project management that provides the visibility and collaborative tools necessary to efficiently track and manage construction documents and drawings. Our software has unlimited file storage and global search functionality, which makes it easy to pull up any document or drawing from anywhere. Task lists show the percentage completed for work and give the construction administrator transparency into the work on the construction site regardless of whether they’re on the job site, in the office or at home. Get started with ProjectManager today for free.

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You can look at construction administration as a series of actions that are required by the contract, the State Construction Administrator and other state agency employees conducted by the architect or an official governing body. A construction administrator is then responsible for the timely and correct performance of all construction project management phases. They’ll need to work with contractors, suppliers and anyone else responsible for construction project work. This includes guarantees and warranties of the project.

Construction Administration vs. Construction Management

Construction administration and construction management work together to complete a construction project. In that way, they’re complementary disciplines, but they look at the work of the construction project from different points of view. It’s important to understand how they differ and how they work together.

For one, construction administration is usually managed by the architect while construction management is the purvey of the general contractor. The architect who designed the project is often employed by the construction owner. The owner and architect are the ones who contract with the general contractor after the winning bid is picked. This means that the architect or a construction administrator in larger commercial construction projects is responsible for making sure the signed contract agreement is being fulfilled.

Related: Free Construction Project Management Templates for Excel

In construction administration, architects review submittals and shop drawings from the general contractor and ensure that these meet the requirements of the construction design. However, a construction manager isn’t always a general contractor but oversees the general contractor on large commercial projects. They help save the client money by making sure that the construction project is running smoothly, is on schedule, within budget and delivers on quality expectations.

Construction administration isn’t always the architect, though, they can be a lead engineer, construction project manager, construction contract administrator or architectural engineer. We’ll go into their responsibilities below, but generally, they review submittals and inspection reports, keep track of materials and costs and act as a liaison between the owner and contractor. Anything that results in executing the contract and staying within budget.

There’s some overlap depending on the project and the companies involved. For example, a construction project manager is usually tasked with managing the project, but could also be responsible for construction administration duties. However, the difference between construction administration and construction management boils down to their goals. The latter manages the construction of the project from start to finish, while the former ensures the project moves toward what the owner wants throughout the process of sending out a request for proposal (RFP) to receive bids from contractors, signing contracts and ensuring contract compliance.

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Why Is Construction Administration Important?

We’ve explained what construction administration is and how it differs from construction management, but we haven’t stressed its importance. The main reason why construction administration is important is that it ensures that every stage is executed in a timely fashion. The construction administrator reviews samples and construction documents to make sure they meet the standards agreed upon in the contract that the client signed.

Any smooth construction project requires construction administration. This is especially true when dealing with large, complex commercial construction projects where there are many moving parts and oversight is critical to avoiding issues that could cause delays or added expenses.

All construction projects use a punch list near the end of the project to capture outstanding work. The architect or whoever is acting as construction administrator determines if the contractor’s work is complete and meets client expectations. Once this punch list is finished and the construction administrator approves, only then is the client payment due. The construction administrator can also tell the contractor that they have additional work before payment can be rendered. Therefore, the construction administrator ensures project quality, which is essential.

Construction Administrator Responsibilities

As we’ve stated, a construction administrator is a professional who monitors contracts, keeps the project paperwork updated and is involved in project schedules. They need to have a strong business aptitude, be well-organized and be able to communicate clearly with a variety of construction professionals. The following is a partial list of their main responsibilities.

Submittal Packages

Construction administrators are responsible for the documents that are provided by the contractor. These are usually given to the architect who will then review and approve them if they’re in accordance with the signed contract. They’ll keep a submittal log, which asks for approval of materials and equipment before they’re sent to the project site.

Change Orders

A change order is used in construction project management to request an amendment to the construction contract that changes the contractor’s scope of work. All parties involved with the contract need to agree on the new duties and expectations.

Building Codes

When constructing a building or any structure, there are building codes that must be met. They specify the minimum standards for construction. In order to for the construction to be code compliant, permits must be pulled and standards met, which is part of the construction administrator’s job.

Subcontractor Management

This refers to getting and overseeing subcontractors and making sure that their work for the general contractor who hires them aligns with the agreement signed by the contract.

Supplier Sourcing

The construction administrator is involved in the activities that go into identifying and evaluating potential suppliers. The chosen suppliers will offer the best value in terms of product and cost to meet the contract demands.

Request for Proposal (RFP) Template

This free request for proposal template allows you to list all the information you’d like to get from the construction contractors who will send project proposals to bid on your construction project. A detailed RFP helps bidders clearly understand your expectations which is very important for construction administration.

Request for Proposal Template

We offer a variety of free construction project management templates for Excel you can use to manage all aspects of your construction project.

ProjectManager Helps With Construction Project Management

ProjectManager is award-winning construction project management software that helps both construction administrators and construction managers do their work more efficiently. Both roles can use our software, which has multiple project views so that managers can plan on Gantt charts, administrators can track with task lists and contractors can execute on kanban boards, calendars and more. Our collaborative platform means everyone is always in contact whether on the job site, in the office or even at home.

Get a High-Level View of the Project With Real-Time Dashboards

Construction administrators need to monitor the project from preconstruction through construction to make sure that the progress and performance are aligned with what was agreed upon in the contract. Our real-time dashboard automatically captures project metrics and displays them in easy-to-read graphs and charts. You can quickly see costs, time and much more—and there’s no time-consuming configuration required as with lightweight tools. It’s plug-and-play.

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Go Deeper Into the Data With Customizable Reports

When you need more information to make sure work is being done in a timely manner, you can toggle over to our reporting features. Here you can generate status reports or portfolio reports, as well as reports on variance and more. Each report can be filtered to focus on only the data you want to see. They can also be easily shared with stakeholders to keep them updated.

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Construction administration needs access to project information and our online software gives them that anywhere and at any time. All construction documents and drawings are stored in a centralized hub and reporting tools help you focus on what you need to find. Track resources and costs in real time and use our mobile app to have access to the tool even if there’s no wifi. Plus, our real-time collaboration makes it easy to share, comment and more with everyone on the project team.

ProjectManager is online construction project management software that gives construction administrators and construction managers the features they need to plan, manage and track their work. Our collaborative platform keeps everyone connected and unlimited file storage means you have everything you need on hand when you need it. Get started with ProjecManager today for free.