Late payment to the contractor is one of the main causes of relationships souring during construction projects. The contractor is unhappy. Subcontractors are unhappy. Suppliers are unhappy. The engineer has to field all of these complaints -- and often the blame. Incomplete payments, due to disputed work or progress, lead to damaged relationships as well. Late payments do more than effect relationships, however: They can severely cripple a contractor’s ability to continue and complete the work.
David A. Todd
A senior engineer and corporate trainer of engineering for CEI Engineering Associates, Inc. David has 36 years of experience as a consulting civil engineer. His experience includes water, wastewater, stormwater, roads, and solid waste infrastructure. For much of the last 20 years he has been involved with stormwater issues. Specifications and construction administration have been a specialty of his within civil consulting engineering . He has BS and MS degrees in Civil Engineering, is a registered engineer in four states, and a Certified Professional in Erosion and Sediment Control.
Construction is about building, and not only in the sense of infrastructure: building professional and cordial relationships between the three principals on a project results in a better facility constructed on time and within budget. The relationships between the owner (or developer), the contractor, and the engineer (or other design professional) are defined by the General Conditions of the Construction Contract, published by the Engineers Joint Contract Documents Committee (EJCDC).
The time between receiving bids (or a proposal for sole source work) and the start of construction is a busy time for the contractor, the owner, and the design professional. The design professional must quickly check the bids and verify that the low bidder truly has the qualifications to do the work, then prepare the contract documents for signatures. The owner needs to proceed through the necessary steps to award the project, which include having financing ready. The low bidder must begin to expand upon the data assembled during the bid phase and prepare for mobilization.
Tell someone that you work in construction -- heavy construction, that is -- and they most likely will have a mental image of earth-moving equipment, trenches, concrete, and asphalt. Paperwork may not come to mind, nor contracts or documents. Yet the success of a construction project depends not only on the work at the site but also on the paper documentation that defines what must be done.
Wastewater systems is the sixth topic in our U.S. infrastructure series. The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) assigned the United States’ WASTEWATER infrastructure a grade of “D-” on their 2009 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure. Here we explore the funding issues that effect the aging treatment plants and waterways that make up our nation's wastewater infrastructure.
The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) assigned the United States’ Hazardous Waste infrastructure a grade of “D” on their 2009 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure. Why? Too many sites, not enough attention to them, and reduced funding, to name a few.