What is Time and Material Contract in Project Management

Project management has plenty of variables. And to facilitate them, several contractual arrangements have been developed to meet the needs of the parties involved. One of the most common such instruments is the time and material contract. So, what is time and material contract in project management?

What is Time and Material Contract in Project Management

What is Time and Material Contract in Project Management
What is Time and Material Contract in Project Management

For those that are managing a construction project you may have come across T&M contracts. In this article, we’ll discuss time and material contracts and how they operate. We’ll also highlight some benefits of this type of contract.

A Time and Material Contract is a type of contract where the client agrees to pay the contractor based on the materials used, time spent on the project as well as a profit or markup. It’s also often referred to as a cost-plus contract.

This differs from the fixed price contract where the client commits to pay the contractor a fixed sum for completing the contract regardless of the amount of materials, labor and so on used. Time and Material contracts are primarily used where it’s difficult to accurately describe the extent of works required, or where requirements and specifications are likely to change over the project’s lifetime.

Items Included in a Time and Material Contract

Labor rates: this refers to the amount to be charged for the workforce. It may also include taxes, insurance and so on.

Material mark-up: it’s unusual for the contractor to charge the client the retail price for materials and then add a markup if they already have a pre-agreed wholesale price with the supplier.

Not-to-exceed: this is a maximum guaranteed price which places an upper limit on what the contractor can charge the client.

Advantages of a Time and Material Contract

There are several benefits to having time and material contracts. Read below for some advantages: 

What is Time and Material Contract in Project Management
What is Time and Material Contract in Project Management

Bottom Line

With the tips mentioned, you can now answer the question: what is Time and Material Contract in project management. These types of contracts make the most sense for jobs where it might be difficult to predict how much time and material will be required to complete the whole project or where the scope of work might change. Time and materials contracts can help to simplify the paperwork on the front end, but they also require much more work on the back end. For information about what T&M is and how it can benefit you, contact our experts at DataStreet for follow-up info.

When it comes to construction, it’s important to have a labour manager to help you organize the project. Managing all the labour can be very challenging. This is mainly because you want to make sure that you have the right people, with the right expertise, and are able to have adequate productivity in order to get the job done on time. Often times, this requires some experience and skill sets from the labour manager themselves. Fortunately, there are techniques and strategy that the labour management in construction can take to get the projects done efficiently and on time.

Labour Management in Construction


The first thing to do is to know the deadline. Usually it would take about six months to a year to construct a house and could be longer to construct other buildings. However, you also want to know if the deadlines can change or not. Keep in mind that in the world of construction, everything is unpredictable. Mother nature plays a huge role. If it’s raining, your worker’s productivity can be compromised. If there are other issues like the wind, fire, or anything, it can affect the way your workers do their job. That is why it’s best to talk to the owner about the flexibility of the deadlines so you will have adequate time.

Construction Labour Management App
Construction Labour Management App

Size of the Job

You want to observe the size of the job to make sure that it fits well with the deadline. If the construction involves a huge project, then you want to make sure that you have ample amount of time. If you don’t have enough time, the quality of your work can be severely compromised. Therefore, it’s essential to have the experience to know how long a certain project will take.

How Many People You Need

Based on the size and the deadline for the construction project, it’s important to get enough construction worker for the job. You want to assess the different roles that these workers will be and how many of them you need. The good part is that if you didn’t get enough people, you can always hire more. Sometimes, you would have to do the project in order to realize that you either have too much work or not enough.


It’s important to get construction workers with a good amount of experience and referral. You want to see what type of projects that need to be done, and what type of expertise that you’re looking for. This will help you select the right construction workers for the job.

Labour Management in Construction
Labour Management in Construction

Once you figure everything out, you can start budgeting. You need to determine the cost of the material and the amount you will be paying your construction worker per hour. This will entail factory in the deadline and how many hours a day that they will be working. Once you get the budget, you have to determine if you have enough money. If you don’t, then the company will have to provide you with more revenues to get that project done. Keep in mind that the cost of the budget is usually an approximation so you might need to pay more or less depending on the situation. DataSheet provides a platform to help ease your labour management in construction.

How to Manage a Construction Project

Every construction project has objectives that need to be met. There’s plenty of activities involved in any typical construction project, so it’s essential to have the right set of skills and expertise to manage the project effectively. At the most fundamental level, your role in managing a construction project will be to plan, coordinate, budget and supervise the construction project from the beginning to the end. Here are a few tips on how to manage a construction project.

Construction Project Management

The main concept of managing a construction project is closely related to technical parameters such as execution and budgeting, but it also requires solid communication between all parties involved (contractors, community, stakeholders). Nonetheless, managing a construction project typically extends to a broad range of functions including:

How to Manage A Construction Project
How to Manage A Construction Project

The Project Management Process

Every construction project, regardless of its characteristics, has a standard life-cycle. As such, managing a construction project can be divided into four stages:

  1.    Project Initiation

This phase starts by determining the objective and feasibility of the project. It’s a critical stage of the entire process because it can indicate whether the project is viable or not. If necessary, you may have to carry out a feasibility study that will inform your plan.

Once, you’ve decided on everything, create a project initiation document (PID) which provides the groundwork for the construction plan.

  1.    Project Planning

Also referred to as scope management, this stage involves singling out all the work to be done. It’s a continuous process through to the end of the project. Your main priority, however, will be to plan resources, time and cost for the project. You’ll also have to prepare a checklist that breaks down all the work into smaller, more functional categories. (consider leveraging construction scheduling software for this)

As soon as you define the budget, schedule, and work, the project is almost ready to kick off. The next step will be to examine all potential threats and come up with solutions.

  1.    Execution

The execution phase involves putting your project management plan to work. Typically, this phase involves two main processes: the executing and the monitoring and controlling. You’ll have to ensure that tasks are being performed while concurrently monitoring progress and making changes accordingly.

  1.    Closing Phase

This is the final phase when the project is complete. In the end, you should conduct a project report, calculate the final budget and give details about any incomplete tasks. Take time to evaluate what went well and refer to potential failures.

Construction Project Management
Construction Project Management

Managing a construction project can be a real challenge. There are plenty of elements and parameters you should analyze exhaustively. Take advantage of construction management software to make life easier and give you an opportunity to take your construction project to greater heights. DataStreet offers contractors an easy and efficient way to manage their time and material.

What is T&M?

Curious what is T&M? The time & material (T&M) contract is based on real-time spent on a project and is an hourly basis or man-day rate. T&M is a different approach to a project than using a fixed price model contract. The fixed price contract look less risky; for, you know the aggregate cost of the project before it goes to the next level – development. However, in reality, it’s not beneficial for the employer/owner/investor.

What is Time and Material
What is Time and Material

Time and Material (in other words T&M)

Benefits of a T&M Contract:

The Final Product can be Modified as Needed 

In the T&M contract, as the employer/owner/investor, you can get the product modified as you may require. Because of constant changes in products, it’s important to make the necessary changes in the product to suit the needs of the end user. If the work involves developing a product, there is enough scope to adjust the functionality, or simplifying the product.

Because you Finalize the Product, it’s Per Your Will 

The investor considers the suitability of the product at every stage. This will make it possible for the contractor to make the product exactly what the investor/employer/owner desires for that particular phase or phases of  a construction project.

It Enables Saving 

The employer needs to pay only for the actual project work executed. This will help save time as well as money spent on the project.


With knowing what is T&M. Does a T&M contract allow for transparency? Yes, it does. The details sent by the contractor with respect to work such as invoices can be easily verified by the employer.

In Which Case Should I Choose a T&M Contract?

If you’re an independent contractor, consider T&M contracts if:

If you are a client/employer/investor, and going for a T&M contract, consider these carefully:

What is T and M
What is T and M

So, what is T&M? Time and Material contracts allow you to pay for materials and labor to be done in a certain amount of time. This is different from fixed-labor contracts because those don’t limit to a certain time frame. DataStreet provides solutions to subcontractors in the field for their T&M contracts and any change orders necessary.

Phases of Building Construction

A standard building construction project can be divided mainly into five phases. These phases of building construction include: initiation (the start from initially buying and preparing the land), planning the layout of the building, execution of the plan, monitoring and performing and the completion of the project. These phases are explained further in detail below so that you’re able to complete each phase of your project successfully.

Building Construction Phases
Building Construction Phases

Phases of Building Construction

Initiation Phase

When starting a building construction project, you will have to determine its feasibility by evaluating its pros and cons. In this phase, you will have to consider the objective of your project as it can be an opportunity or a problem for you as a builder. All the various options and solutions on how to build your project must be considered prior to taking the next steps.

Once the ideas are set, it’s time to begin implementing these into a plan. During this stage, a manager to monitor and control this project has to be appointed, the work groups participating, and the supplies required for completing the project are needed. The project manager then has to develop a team to move on to the next phase of planning.

Planning Phase

In this phase, the project has to be developed in detail to meet its objectives. The project manager’s team will define the work that needs to be done in order to start construction by identifying the resources and strategies to obtain supplies. An outline of the construction plan along with its timeframe and other activities has to be created in this phase for its execution.

What Are The Building Construction Phases
What Are The Building Construction Phases

The project manager will prepare the budget of the project by considering the estimated costs. This includes the costs of equipment, material and manpower. Today, various construction project software options are available that can help schedule projects to complete a project within its time frame. It can also help in monitoring the progress while controlling the cost of the project such as managing change orders. All the things planned in this stage have to be documented in detail so that they can be reviewed repeatedly throughout its execution.

Execution Phase

This phase is also known as the implementation phase, since this phase of the project is practically put into performance mode. At each stage of implementation, it is necessary to communicate with the project manager’s team to control its expenses. The heads of all the teams executing the plan will submit their progress report to the project manager so that he can make the necessary adjustments.

Monitoring Phase

In this phase, the performance and progress of the entire project is measured to ensure that the project is running as per the schedule. All the finishing works including woodwork, metalwork and painting, etc. are also monitored at this stage.

Completion Phase

The completion phase is when the project manager has to finalize many things including: stopping the supplies, checking the final touches including planting and landscaping as well as cleaning the surroundings and do final inspection of the project before handing over the building to its owners.

Building Construction Phases
Building Construction Phases

The phases of building construction can typically be divided into five phases: initiation, planning, execution, monitoring, and the completion. Next time you’re looking to oversee a building construction project, make sure that you’re well versed with the phases so that you can effectively and successfully complete a project in your allotted time.

Due to the multifarious nature of building projects, a change order is unavoidable in the construction industry. Additions and changes to the work specified in a contract may be necessary. A change order also referred to as a variation order, is a written order to a contractor that details changes to the contract, such as work, items and other types of changes.

The Reasons for Change Orders

A change order is executed if changes significantly alter the scope of the work or add items. Every client hopes that their project goes as planned. However, many projects in construction go through some form of change in order before completion.

In many cases, the changes are small and do not seriously affect the schedule or project value. In other instances, some major changes are necessary due to unforeseen circumstances. Some common reasons for initiating change orders include:

Additional compensation to contractors for additional work outside the variations in the original contract

• Changes in the design and character of work due to incorrect estimations

• Compensation to contractors for costs associated with varying site conditions

• Discovering problems that cause changes from the original plan

• The project owner is unable to complete the necessary delivery within the budget necessitating the addition of time, money or resources

• Inadequate project objectives leading to design restrictions

What is a Change Order in Construction

Contractors have to learn how to correctly use the various types of change orders in order to collaborate with project owners. Generally, there are four types of change orders. These are Time and Material, Lump Sum, Zero Cost, and Unitary Cost change orders.What is a Change Order in Construction

1. Lump Sum

A lump sum change order is used when the defined change in the work scope is quantifiable, and a definite price developed. It can occur when the contractor or project owner finds conditions that warrant a change in work scope.

2. Zero Cost

This is similar to a lump sum change order. The difference between the two is that a zero cost change order does not change the contracted price. It is used to document project changes that do not affect the contract value.

3. Time and Material (T&M)

This change order is utilized when the entire cost of the change cannot be ascertained. There are instances where changes in work scope cannot be defined or are unforeseen during a construction project. An example is conditions that warrant repairs before construction begins.

In such instances, a contractor will track the time and materials used to deal with the situation. The project owner can request labor and material breakdown to justify the cost of the change order. Factors affecting T&M tags are negotiated as part of the original contract.

4. Unitary Cost

This type of change order is based on unitary cost schedule values. The contractor negotiates the cost of work scope additions that are defined by specific measurement units. A unitary cost schedule is vital for controlling the cost of extra work units where the quantity of work is out of the project owner’s control.

Overall, knowing what is a change order in construction will help to manage each contractual change to best fit the interests of all parties involved. Change Orders are essential tools for managing the changes that occur during the construction process. They have the ethical responsibility of managing change order processes responsibly.

Advantages of Time and Material Contracts

Are you wondering what are the advantages of time and material contracts, and how they compare to other options? If yes, the various facts about these two factors discussed below will definitely assist you choose wisely the right option for your project. Several years ago outsourcing agreements were built courtesy of fixed price model.

However, recently time- and material business model is commonly used due to the various pros it carries along. Selecting the appropriate pricing contract can turn to be a hectic endeavor most especially when you want it to fit the contracted needs, operating processes as well as goals of your firm. Be informed that in addition to these two options, hybrids and combinations can also be an ideal alternative.

Advantages of Time and Material Contracts
Advantages of Time and Material Contracts

Fixed Price vs. Time and materials

Fixed price agreement refers to a single- sum contract whereby the service provider is supposed to complete the project assigned using the amount set in the agreement. This option is recommended especially when the requirements specifications as well as rates can be predicted or figured out easily. The client is supposed to provide his/ her own views so that developers can offer services and/ or products that will suit his or her own needs in the long run.
The various circumstances that makes fixed price contract appropriate include:

Time and material contract is whereby actual work done payments are based on hourly rates. In addition to sorting out costs of materials, customers are entitled to pay service providers based on amount of time spent on a particular project. Consider using time and material contract when under any of the following circumstances:

Pros of Fixed Price Agreement

#1: Predictability
Fixed price agreement is an ideal option especially when the project is a predictable one. This option provides clients with time to set clear deadlines and figure out the exact amount to be utilized on the task to be completed.

#2: Transparency
With prearranged deadlines, fixed budget as well as specified requirements set, the project will be handled as agreed with no possibility of being misled or conned by the service providers.

Cons of Fixed Price Agreement

#1: Lack of Flexibility

This form of agreement will make you liable for any emergent situations in case they arise.

Pros of Time- and- Material Agreement

#1: Flexibility
This form of agreement allows clients to change or modify the project at hand as they desire.

#2: Better Timing
Choosing time and – material agreement over fixed- price will assist you save time and consider the project to be completed within the shortest time possible.

Cons of Time- and- Material Agreement

#1: Poor Budgeting Plan
If you’re not careful, the entire cost for the project may end up rising beyond what you initially had budgeted for.

Time and Material Contract Advantages
Time and Material Contract Advantages

Ensure you carry out your home work first and put into consideration the various demerits and merits associated with these price contract options before deciding which one to liaise with. The advantages of time and material contracts are worth comparing to those of a fixed price agreement.

Managing the construction project impacts the whole project. If the project is done correctly, it is finished on budget and on time, but incorrect procedure increases the costs and the time the project is completed. That is the reason there are courses and apprenticeships to guarantee that project directors know everything that they should do to finish an effective project. Here are nine stages of dealing with a construction project.

Build up Project Road-delineate

Here at Data Street we understand the initial phase in dealing with a construction project is building up a project guide. A typical misconception of a project guide is that it is a complete arrangement for how the project will start.It is a review to more readily comprehend what requirements to occur with a specific end goal to fabricate a genuine calendar.

Characterizing Roles and Responsibilities

The second step in dealing with a construction project is to completely characterize the parts and obligations of partners and others. This can be utilized to figure out who will truly need to endorse of what. Inside construction projects, there are partners who probably won’t be enter in endorsing a particular piece which is the reason they shouldn’t be in charge of it.

How to Manage a Construction Project Step by StepThe Total Key-holder Meeting

This is a critical advance in dealing with a construction project. This gathering is the place a greater amount of the arrangement begins to meet up. It’s additionally an incredible place to guarantee that everybody included comprehends what’s expected of them, what’s to come and answer any inquiries.

Setting Scope and Baselines

The following stage in dealing with a construction project is getting the extension and baselines into composing. The extension must be set with a specific end goal to guarantee everybody taking a shot at the project realizes what they should do. Setting a particular extension likewise restricts the measure of degree sneak in a project.


This following stage is normally where a project begins to come to fruition. Building up the calendar and getting everybody to consent to it is a standout among the most vital strides in dealing with a construction project. To make a calendar, the project administrator must recognize the majority of the vital parts and steps.

Building up the Modification Process

Project administrators shouldn’t neglect, the change procedure is amazingly critical in construction. Things occur, changes must be made, and in construction that can mean hundreds or thousands of dollars. The alteration procedure enables key-holders to know where to send change orders and the fitting reaction time. This keeps individuals from losing change orders

Manage a Construction Project Step by StepCreating and Implementing the Quality Plan

Presumably a standout among the most vital components of project management is the quality control and quality confirmation plan. Having an early quality control and quality affirmation plan that begins from the earliest starting point of the project is better generally speaking.

Building up a Communication Plan

A correspondence plan is an impact advance in dealing with a construction project. This guarantees key holders aren’t being reached on little things, and key-holders reaching the right individual in the event that they have questions


When construction begins the part of project director changes marginally. They are as yet in charge of dealing with the construction project, yet now they are taking a gander at the advancement utilizing the key pointers built up before. Remaining over the project execution, key markers, and correspondence makes it less demanding to prevent a project from coming up short. This is where it’s vital to ensure installment plans are set up and working accurately