Why you should keep your architect on during construction
1. Protection of your investment…
An architect retained during construction will help you navigate the contract administration, technical queries, costs and timescales for a project. It makes sense to retain the professional services of an architect, who can protect your interests, when you are committing to what might be the largest financial investment of your life.
You have paid an architect to design you something special and for their expertise to produce a set of construction drawings and schedules detailing that design. They understand the building more than anyone else. Therefore they are best placed to make sure the contractor understands and follows the documentation so that you get the design you have paid for.
2. Resolving Technical Issues….
Your architect is the designer, which includes design of the construction details (how it is built), the contractor is the builder.
So, it might sound obvious, builders are on site to build, following the architect’s details, it is easier for them to do that if they have access to the designer of those details.
Even detailed drawings and specifications cannot always fully describe a very complex bit of construction. The designer of those details is the person best placed to explain particularly tricky elements before they are built, avoiding expensive mistakes.
It helps enormously if the architect who has produced, that technical information, is available during construction to answer questions, give instructions and be a professional and informed point of contact to make any design/technical decisions if required.
3. Vetting Changes…
Good contractors like to have an architect involved on site. It is a collaborative effort and if something unforeseen requires change on site, the ramifications of such a change are best considered by those that understand the design best.
Changing things without understanding why something was detailed a certain way in the first place can lead to costly mistakes. An attempt to save money on site can often lead to the opposite happening. Discussing changes with the architect before building them will help ensure that they are properly evaluated.
5. Contract Administraction…
An architect can administer the building contract, they become a “contract administrator” or CA and as such they have to act impartially between builder and client.
As a CA the Architect has many duties, they will: deal with the paperwork, carry out regular inspections, deal with queries, instruct any additional work required, monitor progress on site, keep track of cost, value the works and certify payments due to the builder.
The CA will review a contractor’s bills in detail and only approve them for payment when they are satisfied that the work is done to a suitable standard and materials claimed for are actually present. (On larger projects the financial assessment would be done by a Quantity Surveyor)
6. Monitoring Quality, Value and Progress…
The Architect helps you get what you pay for. Visiting site regularly enables the architect to view the work and check it is being built in accordance with the contract documentation and that the quality of workmanship is good.
The architect attends site meetings which provide an opportunity for everyone to review the project status, the progress made and deal with any queries that arise.
7. Verifying Completion…
Your builder thinks the work is all done but you disagree? The architect will inspect and verify when the building work is finished to a suitable standard and complete the contractual paperwork, ensuring your builder supplies various “sign-off” certificates from Building Control, Electrician etc. This enables you to get on with enjoying your new space.
8. Dealing with Disputes…
And if it all goes horribly wrong… your architect can handle any disputes between you and the builder by assessing them impartially and in accordance with the building contract.