• Sergio Nunes

How Can Architects Add Value During Construction?

Updated: Apr 7, 2021

Ask yourself this; are you considering making use of your architect’s services during the construction phase of your next project? If the answer is no, why not?

It has recently become very common for clients to contract their architects for “design only” services, where the architect hands over the construction drawings and thereafter has no input on the project during construction.

There are various reasons for this. Sometimes the client will have enough experience in the construction industry to properly complete their project without further assistance from their architect. More often than not though, this decision is based on a misguided attempt to save money.

Why do I say misguided? Well, because saving on your architects’ fees up front does not necessarily mean that you will be saving any money down the line. In fact, I can confidently say that having an architect on your project during construction will more often than not end up saving you money.

Here are 4 questions you should ask yourself before commencing construction on your project without the assistance of an architect:

1. Is the builder capable of addressing changes to the design during construction?

Design decisions often have to be revised and changed during construction on account of unforeseen circumstances on site, or a client changing their mind about something. Contractors just want to build it, not figure it out or design it. I have found that projects run far more smoothly when decisions have been made, documented and then communicated to the contractor. Contractors really dislike having to chase after their clients for decisions, and this more often than not results in delays in completion of the work. The best thing you can do for your contractor is to give them the information that they need in order to complete the project properly.

2. Is you builder capable of ensuring your project complies with the current building regulations

As mentioned before, things change on construction projects all the time. Most builders don’t have the time or training to keep up with the details of the building regulations like architects must do. Architects are usually up to date with the latest revisions to the building regulations, and will not only ensure that the builder subscribes to these minimum requirements, but exceeds them in terms of quality of workmanship.

3. Will the builder’s interpretation of the drawings be the “correct” one?

Your project may end up ‘looking’ like the drawings. But if you’re paying an architect for a “design”, how will you know you got the “correct version” of the design if the designer is not involved during construction? Do you want it to just “look” like the design or “be” the design you paid your architect for in the first place? Even though most good builders do study the drawings properly, the way people interpret drawings varies. Details are frequently overlooked and the designer’s intent is often lost in the process. Having an architect on your project during construction will ensure that you get exactly what you are paying for.

4. Will you be able to tell if the workmanship and materials are up to scratch?

Although it is ultimately the builders responsibility to ensure that the quality of the workmanship and materials he supplies during a project are acceptable, for various reasons this doesn’t always happen. Having an architect on board during construction will ensure that your builder doesn’t use poor quality materials, and that the standard of the workmanship is at least on par with industry norms.

XO Architects has the necessary experience and expertise to ensure that your project is completed just the way you imagined it should be. If you are planning a construction project in the near future please contact us, and allow us to assist you in ensuring that you get the most out of your project.

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