The CFM’s Role
The PM is responsible for assembling a team to execute the
construction project, and the CFM is responsible for meeting
with this team (including the financial managers of any sub-subcontractors) to determine what documentation is required
to support any claims for additional work on the project, regardless of the reason.
Review All Contracts
Prior to meeting with the project team, the CFM should always
read and reread both the general conditions of the project’s
specifications and the subcontract between the GC and the
The CFM should be confident that the subcontract provided
by the GC to the subcontractor is in accordance with the general conditions of the project’s specifications. This includes a
thorough understanding of the contract between the GC and
the owner, if that contract is referred to and made a part of the
Also, be careful of such contract and subcontract limitations
as “no damages-for-delay,” “no consequential damages,” “
pay-when-paid” clauses, and any and all documentation requirements, such as written notice. (For more information on such
clauses, see “Practical Steps to Help Subcontractors Weather
Economic Hard Times” by Frank E. Riggs, Jr. on page 30.)
Special attention should also be paid to a GC’s contract that is
subject to other requirements, such as the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FARs), which has its own set of contractual requirements. (For more information on FARs, see “Ethical
Reform for Federal Contractors” by Susan L. McGreevy and
Kurtis L. John on page 58.)
Only after the CFM has a complete and thorough understanding of all contracts should the subcontract between the GC
and the subcontractor be executed. If clarification or revisions
are required, return the subcontract to the GC for negotiation
prior to its execution.
Once the subcontract has been signed, it’s too late to make any
changes. In fact, once the CFM has read and understood the
subcontract offered to the subcontractor, it should be discussed with the subcontractor owner and reviewed by counsel.
But remember, legal counsel can only review the subcontract
for obvious issues – not the underlying procedural requirements for submitting claims. That is the sole responsibility of
Prior to the first meeting with the project team (including
any sub-subcontractors), the CFM should develop a complete checklist of required procedures for documenting daily
activities and additional work. Separate files should be kept
that contain information on pre-bid and bid documents, contracts, change requests, change orders, and job and jobsite
The following sections detail which types of documentation
files should be kept, what’s required, and what to do with it all.
Pre-Bid & Bid Document File
• An up-to-date index noting the contents of the file should
be placed at the front of this file, with a dated description
of each item.
• A complete set of construction drawings, specifications,
and addendums (not just those documents that pertain
to the subcontractor’s discipline on which the bid is
based) should be placed here.
These documents should be clearly marked as bid documents, and should show all mark-ups and notes from
take-off work. They should be maintained for reference
throughout the course of the project, and should never
leave the office.
• Documentation of any verbal communication with the
GC, architect, or engineer that took place during the
pre-bid stage should also go into this file.
When appropriate, such verbal communication should
be confirmed in writing with the parties involved, and
a copy should be provided to the GC with whom the
subcontractor has submitted a bid.
• Notes the subcontractor has made regarding the take-off
and any written communication between the subcontractor and the GC, architect, or engineer about the project
(including requests for clarification and their responses)
should be filed here.
• All electronically-prepared bid documents should be
printed and included in this file. Make two back-up
electronic copies of all take-offs prepared electronically
and two PDF copies of all take-offs prepared manually.
File one complete set in this file and store the other at
a remote location.
• The complete executed copy of the subcontract (including
any written communication that accompanied the delivery
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