Perhaps you have a small project or a project with a limited or tight budget. Of course, you want to maximize what you get for your project and budget, but what gives when you are forced to cut something?
Unfortunately, sometimes it is the architect’s services for Construction Administration (CA). Typically, the “argument” is that the project is too small, or the client has a Construction Manager or Owner’s Representative that say they can perform these duties. I would argue that it isn’t a duplication of effort and the architect should be involved, even if with limited time. Now, as an architect that works in CA every day, I am a little biased, but I see daily the value of being a part of the construction process.
Architects bring value to the construction process by having the most knowledge of the project and design. We have been there from the beginning with the client, together establishing the design intent. We know why a window is there, why a material was chosen, why things are laid out the way they are, etc. While we value the chance to see projects come to fruition and to see users enjoying spaces we created, above all, our involvement is essential to ensuring that the design intent developed with the client is realized in the final built project.
Architects are good at problem solving and seeing the big picture. I’ve found that when an issue arises in the field and you are working with the contractors to resolve it, it helps to be able to relay the history behind the detail or the design. Just as I want to hear from contractors the reason they need to construct something a certain way or their idea for a solution, I want to be able to share the history of and purpose behind the design.
To perform CA services effectively, it is important for the architect to visit the site regularly, attend project meetings, be involved in discussions on changes or cost savings, review submittals, and answer requests for information. Besides those basic services though, effective CA is about maintaining open communication, being flexible to handle the ever-changing world of construction, and being responsive.
At the end of the day creating and constructing a project is a team effort and having all parties involved increases the chances of a successful outcome.