P R A C T I C E
The Work, Part I: The Contractor’s Work Plan The contractor’s responsibility for managing and directing the Work
PHOTO COURTESY OVERLAND PARTNERS; BIM IMAGE COURTESY DIS ENGINEERING
by JAMES B. ATKINS, FAIA, AND GRANT A. SIMPSON, FAIA
This two-part series will take a look at the contractor’s sole responsibility for the Work and how to evaluate the contractor’s approach to its supervision, coordination, and direction. Part 1 examines the planning that is logically and often contractually required, including the primary organizational framework—the Contractor’s Work Plan. The second and final installment (scheduled for publication in the Sept/Oct 2011 edition) will examine the contractor’s obligations for delivering conforming work, common approaches by contractors to alter work scope and avoid conformance, and suggested actions to take to confirm the existence of a Work Plan if indications appear otherwise. This series does not purport to invent new ways for developing a contractor’s plan for implementing the Work. Many of the tried and true elements of an effective and adequate Work Plan already exist and can be readily found in common construction contracts, general conditions, and guide specifications.
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RISK IN ARCHITECTS’ SERVICES has become an increasingly significant factor (encumbrance or liability) in the design profession over the past half century, with allegations of errors and omissions in document quality and construction phase services having become a frequent basis for lawsuits. As a result, the architecture profession has responded by developing riskaverse processes and techniques to protect architects against such claims. Yet there is one high-risk element over which architects have very limited influence or control—the Work. Regrettably, the Work (as defined in the AIA Document A201: General Conditions with consolidated references located on the Society’s blog at www.texasarchitect.blogspot.com) – and its associated contractor services, although solely provided by the contractor and expressly warranted to be correct and free from defects – has become a liability for architects and engineers to such a degree that it has profoundly affected the way design services are being delivered. While the liability may be relatively new to architects, the problems associated with work performance by contractors is not: in fact, the contractor’s diligence and effectiveness in planning and executing the Work has historically been inversely proportional to the problems the architect subsequently encounters during construction.
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