As we are contracted to be agent of the owner, we use our intimate knowledge of the project, our vision, and our trained eyes to help the contractor solve inevitable problems that arise during construction. A very thorough set of drawings identifies main issues and communicates the intent of the design, but no single set of plans can ever cover everything because construction is a very complicated thing. Owners sometimes think money can be saved by leaving the architect on the sidelines when its time to start construction. We beg to differ: kick-off is a crucial time. There is potential for the vision to get lost when all the actors try to do the “shared vision” thing. It is the Architect that knows the project best and is most familiar with the drawings and the vision. Challenges spring up during all portions of a project, not just in the early stages, and we strongly believe the act of design is present and necessary throughout the process, including construction. It is a common occurrence that during a site visit we find opportunities to improve or extend the design in a way that was not apparent during the drawing phase. Why is this? It is because during a site visit we are using all of our senses, sight, smell, and touch to take in information and we are seeing the project in reality. All of this translates into the design, and obstacles are overcome. If it is important to have your project run smoothly and to have a team approach to solving problems along the way, keep your architect on board for this phase.
Here are some examples of things your architect can do:
Construction is very complicated and many times a condition that was drawn prior to construction is different and needs to be rethought. Thorough plans cannot cover every single finish detail. A clarification is thus a drawing that supplements the plans; it carries out the vision of the project in more detail.
This can be as simple as reviewing material samples, tile, metal finish, and wood for cabinetry to make sure its character conforms with the vision. Submittal review can be a bit more complicated when a cabinet maker subcontractor interprets the architectural drawings and has to do their own drawings to get the job done. The architect knows the intent and can make sure the shops reflect all that was intended on the architectural drawings.
Also ask yourself what your time is worth. Your architect has experience with being around construction and will be efficient at helping the team solve the problems that come up; they will come up –no matter what.