The involvement of the architect from the beginning of the project until its completion is vital to the successful outcome of the work. An architect is someone who does much more then simply provide drawings for the contractor’s eventual use. An architect acts as an agent of the Owner and represents the interests of the Owner while providing a professional service.
This professional service is one based on the architect’s education and prior professional experience, knowledge of applicable codes and ordinances, knowledge of construction methods and techniques, and experience with regulatory approval processes. All of the services that architects provide are ones that add value to the projects in which they are involved.
Professional services range from Pre-design planning of the project to Construction Administration. Typical services include:
This involves establishing the financial and legal parameters of the project, as well as assisting the Owner in developing a program and selecting a site for the project.
This phase can be broken into sub-phases depending on the size and complexity of the project.
Generally, it is time when the site, program, budget and regulatory requirements are considered in relation to one another as the project is given material and spatial characteristics by the architect. Creative and thoughtful design proposals add value to any project.
Once the design has been approved by the Owner, the documents that will be used for bidding, permitting construction are prepared by the architect and consulting engineers. These drawings and specifications are considered “legal documents” in that they are the basis of the contract between the Owner and builder. As such, their thoroughness and accuracy are critical.
Once complete, the construction documents are submitted to the appropriate regulatory authorities for permitting. The architect shepherds the documents through this process and provides additional information as requested by plan check engineers at local and state agencies. Concurrent with this process, the construction documents are issued for bidding by one or more qualified contractors.
Once the documents have been approved for permitting, and a contractor selected, construction of the project begins. During this phase, the architect acts as the Owner’s representative to the contractor as required to ensure that the work is being performed in accordance with the construction documents.
It is the architect’s responsibility to ensure, within the scope of their contractual obligations and a reasonable standard of professional care, that their clients realize the greatest value possible in return for their investment in the project.