What Does A Contract Administrator Do?

Whether you’re in need of simple repairs, large scale redecoration or multi-million-poundprogrammes of work, you’ll always want to be in control of your project. Having confidence in the control, monitoring and forecasting of construction works is important – in fact it can be vital to the success of a project. So getting the right professional advice and competent administration can mean the difference between a successful project or one that goes sour.

Today, we’re going to explain what exactly a Contract Administrator is, what they do, and why their role is so important.

What is Contract Administration?

‘Contract Administration’ is a bit of a catch all term to be honest. It’s the name of a professional who is appointed by a person or company to have a defined set of works delivered, and who is responsible for ensuring all parties perform their required roles and meet their responsibilities to achieve a successful outcome under a formal contract.

Phew, that’s a mouthful isn’t it?

In plain English, it’s someone who will keep tabs on everyone involved in the project, and making sure everyone is doing what they should be based on what the contract says. Different types of contracts might call the role something slightly different, and there might be some minor differences in their responsibilities, but the role is essentially the same – making sure all parties diligently undertake their role in accordance with the agreed contract.

What Service Does a Contract Administrator Provide?

A Contract Administrator is the main point of contact between the parties involved in the contract. Normally this will include the client who’s funding the work and the main contractor who is responsible for delivering the final product. Depending on how complicated the work is, a good Contract Administrator will be able to make sure that the right kind of contract is selected. For example, the redecoration of a small block of flats doesn’t need the same level of complexity and controls that the construction of a brand-new block of flats does.

While the work is going on, they will make sure that everyone is fulfilling their contractual duties. They’ll typically go back and forth, facilitating regular communication so that each party is fully informed at all times, and has knowledge of the project and its progress. They also make sure that any claims for payment are fully assessed, ensuring that only work actually completed to a reasonable and satisfactory standard is included in the payment claim. This helps keep the client protected from being over exposed in the event of unforeseen circumstances such as bankruptcy of the main contractor.

Basically, they keep everything above board and moving forward according to the plan.

When Should I Appoint a Contract Administrator?

As soon as possible!

Depending on where you are in the project, a contract administrator can provide valuable services and added value, especially before a contract is signed. Including:

Giving advice and guidance on the legal and statutory obligations you may have, along with any potential limitations.


Completing and supporting in the development of the Scope, Schedule of Works or employers requirements.


Helping you choose competent and experienced, reputable contractors.


Providing technical due diligence of a proposed scheme, making sure potential risks are identified and mitigate, or removed where possible.


Making sure that any site or scheme specific issues or difficulties can be identified as early as possible, and that the scheme can actually be delivered.


Working to ensure a client is confident that they have suitably tested the market to make sure they’re getting good value for money.


In short, the earlier you appoint one, the more value they can provide to you.

What Are a Contract Administrator’s Key Duties?

Once all of that pre-project legwork has been done and the contract is in place, it’s time to get to work! During the project, the key to effective co-ordination and communication is a good contract administrator. Their job is to make sure everyone is communicating and clear on their responsibilities, including what they need to deliver and by when.

On top of that, they’re required to diligently control the costs on the project. That means making sure that the works are accurately valued, ensuring the client or employer is only paying for the works completed as defined under the terms of the contract. This is vital in ensuring there is no unnecessary financial exposure and risk. Your contract administrator needs to have a full understanding and appreciation of the requirements laid out in the contract, the time limitations imposed on enacting their duties as well as the obligations on the contractor and client. This ensures the risk of potential disputes can be minimised.

It’s pretty rare for a project to be fully visualised and planned in detail from the start. Usually there are additions or changes that need to be made along the way, and the contract administrator is in charge of control those changes, making sure they’re properly valued and fulfilling their obligations regarding any new design impacts so that the design is fit for purpose, and the client or employer isn’t opened up to any further risk.

At the end of the project, the contract administrator will need to confirm the works are completed and all of the required regulatory documents have been produced. This also starts the timescales for when the final costs have to be agreed, as well as the defect remediation process. This is where any issues should be flagged and addressed by the contractor during a pre-set timescale, before this responsibility is passed to the client or employer.

What to Look For in a Contract Administrator

If you’ve decided you need a contract administrator, the most important thing to know is that they have the relevant expertise, experience and understanding to be able to confidently fulfil their responsibilities. In other words, you need to be able to provide the required resources for the project, and do it to a high enough standard. After all, their job is to be highly organised and efficient, and make sure all parties have confidence in the progress of the project.

When you have a few options to choose from, you should look for someone with excellent interpersonal skills who can co-ordinate, communicate clearly and engage with all of the members of a project team, acting as a bridge between parties and developing trust on all sides that everyone is being treated fairly, and according to the terms of the contract.

If you want to find out more about the role a Contract Administrator has, or how these services could help with your projects, we would be happy to help. Just contact our friendly team here at Harrison Clarke on 02381 55 00 51, and we would be delighted to discuss your project and give any advice we can.

We also have a range of videos talking through various aspects surveying. You can access them via our website or our YouTube channel

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