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Bulletproof Contract Administration:
Managing Risk During Construction

James B. Atkins, FAIA

Most claims against design professionals arise from services provided during the construction phase, and an architect’s approach to construction contract administration (CCA) can greatly affect risk exposure and its outcomes. This paper addresses CCA activities and documentation that can improve your risk exposure. Beginning with the services agreement, CCA responsibilities will be addressed with suggestions for making your services more risk averse. Each section concludes with a handy checklist summary for future reference. Site visits, submittals, RFIs, changes and payment certifications are addressed, concluding with substantial and final completion. Effective reporting of meetings is examined in the context of effective record documentation. Included with the paper is a full CCA checklist for establishing your approach to this high risk phase of services. These guidelines will help you organize your services for pursuing your goal for bulletproof CCA.


James B. Atkins, FAIA has over 30 years’ experience as a Principal/Owner in a top ten international A/E firm. He served on the AIA Documents, Risk Management, International Practice and Architect’s Handbook committees as well as the AIA Trust. Jim speaks and writes extensively, and his specialty is the architect’s standard of care. He provides litigation support services through his firm, Atkins Consulting Solutions, www.atkinscs.com.

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