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Design & Style

Understanding the 6 Elements of Construction Administration

Written by MasterClass

Last updated: Sep 8, 2020 • 2 min read

Construction administration services are one of the key elements that contribute to the building process. While many clients think they may not need construction administration, it is an essential service that should be part of all construction.



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What Is Construction Administration?

Construction administration is a series of administrative tasks performed by an architect (or official governing body) to help oversee the construction phase of a project. A construction administrator ensures the timely execution of every stage of construction. The administrator reviews any samples or construction documents to see that they adhere to the client’s standards and logs important details into the project records.

What Role Does Construction Administration Play in the Architectural Process?

When you’ve finished all the design documents for a construction project, and the contractor is ready to start building, the architect will then take over as a construction manager—essentially overseeing the construction process and ensuring the construction team follows all of the design plans. During the construction administration phase, an architect may pay a site visit to the construction area to see that everything is progressing smoothly.

Why Is Construction Administration Important?

Construction administration is important because it ensures a smooth building process from start to finish. When the contractor’s work is nearly complete, they will submit a “punch list” of items to address before completion. The architect will decide if the contractor’s completed work meets the client’s expectations, and if payment from the client is due, or if the contractor needs to perform additional tasks to complete the job.

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5 Elements of Construction Administration

Architects can spend months crafting the right design for a client and are legally liable for the finished product, so it only makes sense that they would oversee it. Administrators protect the client, and make sure they are getting what they’re paying for, and paying for the right thing. A few essential elements of construction administration are:

  1. Reviewing submittal packages. Part of construction administration is handling submittals. Administrators provide submittals to the architect or engineer in the form of construction documents, material samples, or shop drawings. Multiple submittals for the plumbing system, for example, are placed into a submittal package, which the administrator then gives to the architect for approval. The architect will observe the construction process and ensure the contractor’s work (along with their project team) is executing the design specifications as outlined by construction drawings and contracts.
  2. Approving change orders. A change order is when the planned work needs alteration, and will affect the final cost. An architect is usually in charge of approving or denying change order requests. An administrator can make sure the proposed changes fit the client’s needs, while also giving everyone a chance to review the budget change.
  3. Building code enforcement. Construction observation includes ensuring the project follows building code requirements, the HVAC systems meet the minimum requirements for efficiency, and that the building follows all environmental codes.
  4. Finding new supplies. Sometimes, the building materials don’t meet expectations or get discontinued. Construction administrators can help navigate the client toward the appropriate replacement materials that fit within their budget or approve a general contractor’s recommendation.
  5. Problem-solving. As the acting project manager, if any unforeseen conditions occur during construction, the administrator takes over to quickly resolve the issue, whether it be with construction contracts, supplies, or the budget. This flexibility ensures that construction is not inhibited or delayed and that the work remains on schedule.


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