Message From the President: The ‘C’ in IFC

Prez_LRKeith Robinson, FCSC, RSW, CCS, LEED AP
There’s been a growing reliance on documents issued during construction are modified to include changes made during the bid period. There is generally no contractual obligation to provide these updates—we do this because it is easier to interpret the design intent during the contract administration phase, and it is the modern version of the old days’ cut-and-paste method.

Since these useful documents clarified interpretation of the work, we started to provide the updated specifications and drawings to constructors. There was an understanding ‘contract documents’ comprised what was issued for bid, including any modifications from addenda and bid revisions, and subsequent contract change documents issued during construction. It was also accepted any other document issued could represent further modification to incorporate recorded changes, alterations not completely or consistently incorporated, or even actions that simply ‘happened’ as zealous contributors fixed the details.

Since we did not know what to call these documents, they were titled ‘Issued for Construction (IFC).’ And this is where the problem lies.

IFC implies a warranty of use; it suggests since the documents are specific to construction and were issued at a later date than the bid documents, they must be more accurate and, by that logic, more deserving to become the contract documents. There is a higher expectation of perfection ascribed to the IFC that goes beyond simple updates to reflect changes during the bid period, and which is being interpreted as reflective of the actual constructability.

There is an erroneous expectation consultants are obligated to provide constructors with IFCs. Owners are adding this requirement into their contracts, with the full expectation the implied warranty of usability and constructability is now a fact.

Unfortunately, we used the wrong word when defining the ‘C’ in IFC. The documents are convenient, containing a compilation of changes and a consolidation of development when dealing with multiple work package contract delivery methods. When fully incorporating changes during construction, they can even be called conformed sets.

However, they are documents issued during, but not for, construction. Admittedly, this is a nuanced interpretation, but given the needs for production expediency, is it really fair to all parties concerned to raise expectations by calling them ‘Issued for Construction?’

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