By Kelly Espinosa, CA Coordinator

Construction administration is an important service that guides, supports, and monitors the construction process. When the CA staff is involved from the beginning, they build a knowledge base of the vision and goals of the project that is the foundation of the project purpose and allows the assigned CA member to develop a stakeholder position during critical early planning stages.

Communication and organization are key in the CA phase of every project, ensuring that the design firm, engineering firms, contractors, and client remain on track. Numerous tools exist to catalog documents in one place, from requests for information (RFIs) and submittals to emails and minutes from meetings. Some of our clients use eBuilder, which is a web-based construction management software. FreemanWhite and Haskell use Newforma, a desktop dashboard that allows us to organize project workflow and collaborate with all the project stakeholders. Even when our clients use eBuilder, we transfer all information into Newforma to ensure we have access after the project is complete in case any questions arise.

We’ve found Newforma to be a great tool for keeping projects on track. Every transmittal to the project team is tracked: from contractors, engineers, and designers, who sent it, whom it was sent to, and when it was received. Multiple people can review files simultaneously throughout the CA phase. Contractors are able to log their RFIs and submittals, and designers can upload large files that are too big to send via email. Searchability and email filing are also key benefits to using a project tracking tool. If any questions arise, we’re able to sort through the myriad emails, forms, meeting notes, and designs to find the answers quickly and easily.

For a construction administrator like me, being able to adhere to deadlines and track accountability are important to keeping the project on schedule. When is a submittal due? The system sends out reminders. Who was supposed to respond to an inquiry? The system keeps track. Why are the faucets chrome? The approved specs were for black faucets. The platform provides a clear record of what needs to be done, by whom, and when.

The most important aspect of the project management tools is that they keep the relationship between the architect and contractor – plus the owner and all other stakeholders – on task. The accountability and transparency give us the ability to deliver the facilities that help our clients serve their communities, on time and with minimal disruptions.