The role of the resident engineer

The resident engineer should contact separate and nominated sub-contractors or suppliers, advising them construction has started, getting them to confirm their delivery times. He should also make sure that all technical queries are settled. Where suppliers have to manufacture substantial equipment, he will check their progress, and may visit them to make personal contact. He will do everything possible to prevent any delays occurring and, if he sees some delay is unavoidable, he will inform the engineer and make suggestions as to  how any consequential delay to the contractor can be avoided. However he can only make direct contact with nominated suppliers or sub-contractors before the contractor places his order with them. After the contractor has placed his order, any contact with a nominated sub-contractor or supplier must be via the contractor, unless the contractor permits otherwise.

There may be other matters with respect to the programme the resident engineer should look into. In some cases the employer may require access through the project area for his other works. Or perhaps work by the contractor must necessarily interrupt services which the employer relies upon, such as electricity, drainage, water lines, etc. There may therefore be a strictly limited time which the employer can tolerate such interruption; and he may prefer the interruption to occur at some particular time of year rather than another.
The influence of the weather may be an important factor to take into account when examining a contractors programme, especially if the contract involves substantial earthwork construction. The resident engineer may need to discuss with the contractor where he thinks the programme should include optional strategies according to weather. He should be able to advise what sort of measures could be taken to minimize the effect of weather.
The resident engineer has to appreciate that a contractor must ensure his programme for construction fosters efficient, economic working. Once he has brought men and machines onto the site he will want to use them continuously until their tasks are completed. Also he will want their output to be as near as possible to their maximum. Hence the resident engineer must appreciate that, on occasion, a contractor has to make do with what plant and men he has on site, because the expense of bringing in more to do a one off job is too great to be economic. The resident engineer can only interfere when he is certain that some method proposed by the contractor will result in unsatisfactory work or some unacceptable risk to safety.

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