Just add water: architecture startups!

Not getting your hands dirty
August 31, 2014, 3:05 pm
Filed under: Startup

One of the skills that I’m most proud of is having worked on-site and in the field for many years.  While construction can often feel like a warzone — demolition causing huge craters in the ground, often looking like archaeological sites.  The daily conversations with subcontractors, and the people who really build the building. So when I’m meeting with new clients, its nice to be able to say you’ve been apart of the whole experience from early conception of a project to the final punchlists.  Truly a full service architecture firm. 

Recently I met with a client who has done three projects already with a contractor they like and have worked with.  They asked if I’d be willing to only do the design drawings (including construction docs) but omit construction administration— given they knew they could handle it and were willing to work directly with their contractor. Initially it seems ideal because let’s face it, construction administration is a total time sink. You spend endless hours coordinating with the contractor, you end up having to redraw things 10 times because after demo things look differently and all your basic workpoints feel like they’ve been reset. 

but then…as usual I overthink. Not doing construction administration also means not having control over the design direction when things do start to shift. and all those subtle details that you worked out so carefully during design get glossed over or clumsily (un)resolved.  Not being apart of construction administration means you give up the rights to the design in some regards.  It’s also a legal issue — if you didn’t file the drawings as the record architect, then you’d be basically just the “designer” and not the “architect of record” which legally has no ramifications (and a more limited accountability).  If you are the architect of record but aren’t doing construction administration then this is entirely different. You’ve filed, and it seems you would be accountable….even if it gets built not to your specs.

I’m not sure how I feel about not doing construction administration….what phases are you apart of?  




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