their project planning processes and activities are often completely hidden from others on the project team, and their planning efforts can be marginal at best. Such management deficiencies often result in at least poor Work quality or at most outright nonconforming Work. The outcome often results in owner acceptance of the substandard and nonconforming Work due to economic or time-driven reasons. If you suspect that a Work Plan has not been prepared or if significant elements of the Work Plan (such as the submittal schedule) have not been provided, options are available for forcing the production of this much needed management tool. But you must decide, based on each individual project’s requirements, to what extent the inquiry will be made. The following suggestions are actions that may be taken: • Review the construction contract documents, including the General Conditions, for contractor’s planning requirements. • Make the Work Plan a primary agenda item on the preconstruction conference agenda and the scheduled progress meeting agenda. • Make acceptance of the project construction schedule contingent upon a coordinated and integrated submittal schedule. • Reject and return shop drawings that do not have markups or have obviously not been reviewed or coordinated by the contractor. Be sure to warn of this recourse in the preconstruction conference. • Inquire as to the contractor’s schedule of pre-installation conferences and request that review of the trades’ submittals begin during the conference. These measures may appear to be somewhat adversarial, but if a discernable Work Plan is not evidenced early in the construction phase; the project could be in trouble by the time the issue gains prominence. While the preferred path is to confirm the contractor’s willingness and ability to provide a Work Plan up front, subsequent enforcement of the measures in the General Conditions and specifications can always be implemented.
Who’s In Charge? Some may inaccurately posit that the architect shares in the contractor’s responsibility for the Work, and this is a good time to set the record straight. The argument has been made that the architect’s requirements to “determine in general if the Work…when fully completed, will be in accordance,” and the architect’s obligation to “endeavor to guard the Owner against defects and deficiencies in the Work” make the architect responsible. This is patently negated by the contractor’s “sole responsibility” and its express warranty, which we will address. The AIA documents referenced in Part I of this series clearly establish that the contractor is responsible for the Work and is solely in charge of all planning, coordination, execution, and remediation required to conform with the contract requirements. Those include: • A201, Paragraph 3.3.1 requires the contractor to “supervise and direct the Work” and “be solely responsible for and have control over construction means, methods, techniques, sequences and procedures and for coordinating all portions of the Work under the Contract”; and • A201, Paragraph 4.2.2 requires the architect to “visit the site… to become generally familiar with the progress and quality of the portion of the Work completed, and to determine in general if the Work observed is being performed in a manner indicating that the Work, when fully completed, will be in accordance with the Contract Documents.” (See sidebar on page 102 for additional references.)
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What Comprises a Work Plan? The elements of a Work Plan can vary based on the contractor’s expertise and approach, but the minimum services and components required of the contractor can be found in the AIA General Conditions, which include: • Section 1.2.2: “… dividing the Work among Subcontractors or … establishing the extent of Work to be performed by any trade.” • Section 3.2.2: “…the Contractor shall, before starting each portion of the Work… take field measurement of any existing conditions…for the purpose of facilitating coordination and construction.” • Section 3.3.3: “The Contractor shall be responsible for inspection of portions of the Work already performed to determine that such portions are in proper condition to receive subsequent Work.” • Section 3.7.2: “The Contractor shall comply with and give notices required by applicable laws, statutes, ordinances, codes, rules and regulations, and lawful orders of public authorities applicable to the performance of the Work.” • Section 3.10.1: “The Contractor…shall prepare and submit…a Contractor’s construction schedule for the Work.” • Section 3.10.2: “The Contractor shall prepare a submittal schedule…coordinated with the Contractor’s construction schedule…” • Section 3.11: “The Contractor shall maintain at the site…one copy of the Drawings, Specifications, Addenda, Change Orders and other Modifications…to indicate field changes and selections made during construction, and one copy of approved Shop Drawings, Product Data, Samples and similar required submittals.” • Section 3.12.1: “Shop Drawings are drawings, diagrams, schedules and other data specially prepared for the Work by the Contractor, or a Subcontractor, Subsubcontractor, manufacturer, supplier or distributor to illustrate some portion of the Work.” • Section 3.12.4: “Shop Drawings, Product Data, Samples and similar submittals… purpose is to demonstrate the way by which the Contractor proposes to conform to the…Contract Documents…” • Section 3.12.6: “By submitting Shop Drawings, Product Data, Samples and similar submittals, the Contractor represents…that the Contractor has…reviewed and approved them,…checked and coordinated the information contained within such submittals…” • Section 9.2: “[Preparing]…a schedule of values allocating the entire Contract Sum to the various portions of the Work…[to]…be used as a basis for reviewing the Contractor’s Applications for Payment.”
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