The calculation and agreement of the final construction cost, the final account, is usually of the utmost importance to both the main contractor and the employer. Therefore, parties to the contract need to ensure that the final account incorporates a fair and accurate valuation of the works carried out.
Within lump sum contract arrangements the initial price agreed by the client at commencement will usually require adjustment for several matters, including:
- Variations ie. changes;
- Provisional measurements;
- Provisional sums;
- Fluctuations in the rates of labour and prices of materials;
- Loss & expense claims caused by disturbance of the regular progress of the works;
Final Account documentation must generally include where relevant all of the following:
- A clear summary showing the Contract Sum followed by the values of omissions and additions from and to that sum related to the various elements of the accounts.
- Copies of all instructions issued
- A detailed variation account setting out all the necessary adjustments with measurements where appropriate and referenced to supporting documents
- Documents relating to the adjustments of PC or provisional sums and provisional quantities
- Daywork Sheets
- Documents used in the calculation of the loss and expense reimbursement
- Any relevant sundry correspondence, quotations, etc
- Copies of any certificates of extension of time and the contractor’s written applications
- Copy of the certificate or practical completion
- Copy of the original form of tender
Under the terms of most construction contracts the clients quantity surveyor is responsible for the preparation of the final account on the project, however in reality the most suitable approach is for both the contractor’s and the clients quantity surveyor to work together to produce an agreed final account. The main contractors quantity surveyor should be alert at identifying variations and work that should be reimbursed on daywork rates.
The preparation and agreement of the final account can be a very time consuming process on some construction contracts and the contractors quantity surveyor should attempt as far as possible to alleviate any possible delays in agreeing the final account.
Adjustments for Variations
The variation account should show separate adjustment values for each instruction. All adjustments in the account for variations must be supported by an appropriate written instruction issued under the terms of the contract. There are no exceptions to this rule. Adequate care must be taken to ensure that where appropriate variations are priced at the same or similar rates to those included in the contract documents and that where the work is not related to work contained in the original documents fair and reasonable rates are applied.
Adjustment of Provisional Sums, Items and Quantities
All provisional sums, items and quantities must be omitted in the adjustment of the final account. In most cases there will of course be costs to be added into the account to cover works carried out against the sums, items or quantities and these costs must be supported by measurements, schedules, quotations, invoices or other documents as appropriate.
Work carried out on a Daywork Basis
Amounts included in the final account for work on a daywork basis must be supported by formal written instructions ordering the work and authorising payment on this basis. Daywork sheets that have been carefully checked must be provided to support any amounts included in the final account.
Claims for Loss and Expense
Where the contract provides for the reimbursement of loss and expense suffered by the contractor, this will need to be carefully assessed and in the majority of cases will require the services of a professional quantity surveyor to either advise on the liability or make the assessment and ensure that the claim is properly documented.
Agreement of the Final Account with the Contractor
In accordance with good practice, confirmation of the contractor’s agreement to the final account figure should be obtained in writing, and a copy provided with the necessary documentation for audit.
When the Certificate of Making Good Defects has been issued and there are no other outstanding matters for which reimbursement is required, the final valuation/Certificate should be issued along with a copy of the Certificate of Making Good Defects.
Final Account Preparation & Submission
Contracts will typically specify a fixed period following practical completion of the work within which the final account must be prepared and submitted. The contractor is usually required to provide the clients quantity surveyor with all the documentation as stated above for the purpose of the adjustment of the contract sum. When the quantity surveyor has received these documents and information from the contractor, the clients quantity surveyor should prepare the final account and then submit this to the contractor for agreement, through the architect.