Just add water: architecture startups!


Consultants: how to get to work with people who give a sh*t at a smaller scale
February 27, 2014, 8:05 pm
Filed under: Startup

One of the biggest adjustments (from working on projects at your former office to ones of your own) is the scale of projects.  This reverberates in all aspects and unfortunately it still takes the same amount of time to do all those details and coordination!  One of the hardest aspects of this is working with consultants who give a shit.  Even though you’re no longer working on that $25 million dollar theatre project, you (hopefully) still care about the work you’re doing (even if the budget’s decimal place is shifted a few zeros over!)  I’m having difficulties getting the attention from my MEP engineers who breeze through the project without any concerns of how those details will work out.  Or boiler plate notes that have absolutely no bearing on the scope of work and actually start to raise flags due to the confusing scope.  Not to be a stickler, but when I’m redlining their set is probably a sign you’re working with the wrong people…

The other issue of bringing on consultants as a small business is it’ll directly impact your cash flow.  I had this problem at my previous (a well established) office too, so I guess it’s not totally foreign.  Consultants tend not to be concerned/sympathetic when the client hasn’t paid you promptly.  They (rightfully) want to be paid on time, regardless of whether you’ve been paid.  So the other solution is to have the contract written out to the client, so the payment is sent directly to the client and you’re not held at ransom.  While that helps with the cashflow issue, its a little disconcerting to have YOUR consultant not working under you (legally speaking).  The question I’ve always wondered about this structure is if there is an error or omission in their drawings, are you held responsible (as you would normally?)   Anyone know how this works??  (just realized the title was a “how-to” but really it’s a question I’m posing to you.)

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