4 Pre-Contract Planning Considerations to Prevent Problems on Your Facility Maintenance Project

By AIA Contract Documents

January 31, 2023

Working with your maintenance contractor before entering into a contract for your next facility maintenance project may prevent delays, poor work quality or disruption of your company’s business. This article identifies some pre-contract planning considerations that can help prevent problems on your next facilities maintenance project.

  1. Supply-Chain Disruption. Ask your maintenance contractor whether the work includes any equipment and/or materials that could be impacted by the supply chain disruptions like those experienced on many construction projects, building improvements, and building maintenance projects throughout the nation. If the work may be impacted by lack of access to equipment and/or materials, consider beginning the project once the critical equipment and/or materials are adequately sourced and delivered.
  1. Long-Lead Items. Your project may require special fabrication, specialty equipment or items that are not commonly stocked. Ask your maintenance contractor if your project includes any long lead items. Have your contractor prepare a plan that mitigates any schedule impacts related to the procurement or fabrication of those items.
  1. Maintenance Work Restrictions. The maintenance work you want your contractor to do may impact your daily business needs, or the services provided by the businesses around you. For example, if the maintenance work will disrupt your employees during the day, it may need to be performed before or after work, or on weekends. Alternatively, your building may be governed by a tenant lease agreement, restricting types of work during certain times of the year (e.g., no exterior construction work during holiday shopping season). If this is the case, it is important that you disclose these restrictions before finalizing the contract.
  2. Special Events. Is the maintenance work closely tied to a certain business event? Will there be a grand opening after your building improvement? Do you plan to begin operations, or have important visitors in the new space after the work is complete? Consider whether it makes sense to communicate with your maintenance contractor about these important milestones, so that you have a schedule that will support completing the project on time and on budget.

After you’ve developed a plan with your maintenance contractor, it is time to capture the plan in your maintenance contract. A facility maintenance contract will include provisions to help set your project up for success. For example, a maintenance contract will include a simplified invoicing process that will help the parties accommodate any special compensation for any early equipment and/or material procurement. A maintenance contract will also include specific sections that will allow each party to capture any unique schedule considerations related to restrictions or important work events.

AIA Contract Documents has provided this article for general informational purposes only. The information provided is not legal opinion or legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship of any kind. This article is also not intended to provide guidance as to how project parties should interpret their specific contracts or resolve contract disputes, as those decisions will need to be made in consultation with legal counsel, insurance counsel, and other professionals, and based upon a multitude of factors.