The Architect’s Role During Construction: Getting Everything That You Pay For
All of the decisions have been made. The drawings are completed. You’ve select your contractor. All the approvals and building permits are in place. But your architect’s job is not done yet. You still have to get your project built. Your architect’s Construction Administration services during construction help you get there. Let me explain why these services are not an option if you work with me.
Our drawings and specifications are the basis for your contract with the builder. You’ve spent a lot of time and effort working with us to define your goals and express them in the form of drawings so that a qualified contractor can build your project. Our drawings convey your expectations to the builder and explain to the building code official how your building will comply with the building codes and other regulations to produce a safe and energy efficient building.
But no matter what level of effort is put into creating them, no set of drawings can foresee every eventuality. And the building process is not an exact science. We are involved all through construction to answer question that you, the contractor, and the building department may have about the design intent expressed in the drawings. Sometimes changes need to be made because of unforeseen conditions, weather delays, the unavailability of certain products or building materials, or even because of misunderstandings about what was supposed to be included. You may even change your mind about some minor details once you see the project being built. We help you manage these inevitable issues that arise during construction. And we help you navigate the complexities of the state building codes and the requirements of the municipal building department.
Our goal is to help you keep your project moving forward to quick and successful conclusion.
We act as your eyes and ears during construction, sometimes acting as a “referee” to keep you and the contractor accountable to the terms of your contract. You probably don’t have the necessary experience or knowledge to answer technical or design questions from the contractor or the building department; that’s why you hired an architect, after all.
We make periodic site inspections to observe, and keep you informed of, the quality and progress of the contractor’s work. Timely visits increase the chances of catching small errors or unexpected conditions before they become too expensive to correct.
We speak the same language as the contractor; our familiarity and experience with the building process will ultimately save you a lot of time, money, and aggravation, leaving you to get back to what you do best.
We review payment requisitions from the contractor to determine whether adequate progress is being made toward the completion schedule (time is money, after all) and to assure that you only pay for work as it is completed.
Changes to the contract price are tracked so that everybody remains informed and is in agreement with the terms of the changes. This assures that once the project is completed, the work will be code compliant and in accordance with your contract with the builder. If necessary, we revise the approved drawings to submit to the building department, or issue clarification sketches to explain the changes to the builder.
Before the building department allows you to occupy your project, we will meet with you and your contractor to review and discuss what needs to be corrected or completed before you make you last payment to the builder. A “punchlist” is developed to track the final progress to completing those items. In addition, we ask the contractor to submit written warranties and instruction manuals for equipment and materials incorporated into the building and ask that the contractor to attest that all of his subcontractors have been paid before you make that final payment, so that subcontractors don’t come after you for payment after the job is complete and the contractor is off the job.
But we still aren’t done after you move in. We remain available to answer any questions you may have and advise you during the warranty period to correct all those little issues that arise during that all important first year after the project is completed.
Your ultimate goal is to build a building that addresses all your wants and needs, as quickly as possible, and for a fair and agreed upon price. Our goal is the same. As your architect, we are uniquely qualified to help assure that the project will be built the way you expect it to be built, in the timeframe you have agreed upon with your contractor, and for the agreed upon price.
Controlling what happens after the drawings are completed determines how successful your project will be in meeting your expectations for a successful project. Don’t short change yourself on these critical services. Fees for these services during construction are an added insurance policy and only cost a mere fraction of the money you will save on one unjustified change order or time delay in moving back in to your new project. We guarantee you will get more than you expect from us. We wouldn’t have it any other way.