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Clerk of the Works


The Clerk of the Works is a key member of the building team. The clerk serves as the owner's on-site representative on a day to day basis. The clerk may be an employee of the owner, or under contract with the owner.

Responsibilities may vary from one project to another and from one owner to another.

A key point is that the clerk's loyalty is only to the owner. The clerk's authority must be specifically delegated in writing by the owner. In order to preserve objectivity, the clerk's fee cannot be affected in any way by decisions made in the course of construction. The clerk must be covered by the owner's insurance or must have his/her own general comprehensive liability insurance and accident insurance. The clerk must have a good understanding of all aspects of construction, although technical skill in any particular construction trade is not necessary. The clerk must maintain a holistic view of the project, while appreciating the details of various parts of the work. The clerk must not attempt to fill the role of the design team, construction manager/general contractor, construction superintendent, safety officer, or any other member of the building team. Below are some recommended qualifications and a list of typical responsibilities.

Recommended Qualifications

  • Ability to constructively participate in dispute resolution.
  • Ability to provide impromptu briefings and reports to visitors and inspectors concerning the status of construction and ongoing activities.
  • Ability to read and understand construction drawings, specifications, and contracts.
  • Ability to understand the results of material testing and sampling.
  • Ability to understand warranties and conditions which invalidate those warranties.
  • Basic writing and computer skills.
  • Broad general understanding of current construction practices, methods, and materials.
  • Broad knowledge of building codes. Ability to successfully research specific building code questions.
  • Excellent interpersonal communications skills.
  • Familiarity with environmental laws and concerns.
  • Familiarity with proper procedures for handling and storing hazardous materials.
  • General knowledge of major building systems and how they work.
  • Knowledge of construction site administration.
  • Knowledge of techniques for construction scheduling.
  • Thorough knowledge of construction financing and accounting.
  • Thorough knowledge of construction site safety requirements.
  • Thorough knowledge of the roles and interactions of the members of the building team.

Recommended Experience

At least ten years experience on similar projects involving facility construction and/or renovations with at least three years in a position with broad management responsibilities such as clerk of the works, superintendent, project manager, or similar titles.

Typical Responsibilities

  • Assist the design team in the development of punch lists. Monitor the completion of work on punch lists and inform the owner of the status on a regular basis.
  • Attend all project meetings as the owner's representative. Submit written reports to the owner following each meeting.
  • Carefully coordinate and monitor any occupation of the facility by the owner prior to final completion of work. Be especially alert to any conditions which may lead to claims for damage.
  • Coordinate and direct the work of any separate owner's contractors.
  • Coordinate scheduling and observe tests as required by the contract documents.
  • Coordinate training of the owner's staff on equipment operations and maintenance as required by the contract documents.
  • Develop a thorough familiarity with the purpose of the facility to be constructed, with the owner's requirements, with the design, and with the contract documents.
  • Develop a thorough understanding of the project budget.
  • Direct installation and inspection of owner furnished equipment or material.
  • Evaluate, log, and make recommendations on requests for change orders.
  • If the project is in an occupied facility, assist in the coordination of access to various parts of the facility by the builders and by the occupants.
  • Immediately notify the builder's superintendent of any unsafe conditions observed. Notify the owner, construction manager or general contractor, and the architect of the unsafe conditions and corrective measures taken.
  • Immediately notify the owner, construction manager or general contractor, and the architect of any conditions which may delay completion of the total project or of major parts of the project.
  • Immediately notify the owner, construction manager or general contractor, and the architect of any work which, in the opinion of the clerk, is substandard or otherwise not in accordance with the contract documents. Document with photographs, measurements etc. as appropriate.
  • Maintain a log of all daily activities including daily progress, weather conditions, visitors, inspectors, sub-contractors on site, nature and location of work performed.
  • Maintain continuous communication with the owner, builder, and architect.
  • Maintain records at the construction site in an orderly manner as directed by the owner. Include copies of all correspondence concerning the project, contract documents, construction schedule, change orders, test results, permits, inspection reports, insurance policies, minutes or summaries of meetings, shop drawings, invoices, lien releases, and any other applicable documentation.
  • Maintain separate files of approved and disapproved change orders.
  • Meet, verify identification, and accompany any inspectors from local, state, or federal agencies having jurisdiction over the project. Immediately report the results of such inspections to the owner, construction manager or general contractor, and the architect. Monitor any corrective actions.
  • Monitor the proper storage of materials, including any off-site storage. Report problems to the construction manager/general contractor. Notify the owner if, in the clerk's opinion, any materials should be replaced due to improper storage. Document with photographs as necessary.
  • Observe materials delivered to the site and used by the sub-contractors to ensure that materials used are those specified or approved substitutes, and that materials are in good condition and free of defects. Report problems immediately to the architect and builder and as soon as possible to the owner.
  • Observe the quality and progress of construction to determine, in general, that it is proceeding in accordance with the contract documents and schedule. Assist the builder's superintendent in understanding the intent of the contract documents.
  • Participate in final inspections and commissioning.
  • Receive and inventory keys, special tools, filters, spare parts, and similar items for transfer to the owner's staff.
  • Receive and review all requests for payment from the construction manager or general contractor. Make recommendations to the owner concerning payment.
  • Receive and review as-built drawings for transfer to the owner.
  • Receive and review technical manuals, operators manuals, manufacturers instructions and similar documents for transfer to the owner's staff.
  • Review field reports from architects and engineers. Monitor and report on corrective actions.

New Hampshire Department of Education
101 Pleasant Street | Concord, NH | 03301-3494
Telephone: (603) 271-3494 | TDD Access: Relay NH 711