Successful projects are invariably the result of effective management by both client and architect. There are a number of steps you can take to ensure that your project moves smoothly through both the design and construction phases.
Schedule for Architect ’s Services. Carefully review the architect’s schedule for services. Ask that the schedule be updated on a regular basis.
Team Member. Take part in the project-planning process. Be sure that your own deadlines, as well as your own decision-making needs, are reflected in the schedule. Client Representative. Identify a single person to represent you and to speak for you at planning sessions and project meetings.
Internal Coordination. If several people or departments must be involved in your project’s development, make it clear that the client representative is authorized to speak for you.
Meetings. Plan regular meetings of the project team and participate in them. These should have clear agendas, and persons with assigned tasks should have them completed prior to meeting.
Documentation. Require that contacts between architect and client be documented and the results shared with appropriate members of the project team. This system keeps everyone informed of what is being discussed and decided outside of formal meetings and presentations.
Decision Process. Be sure that both you and your architect understand the process by which you will make decisions: Who requires what information, whose approval is required, how much time should be allocated for review of submissions?
Agreement Modifications. Keep the owner-architect agreement up to date. Modify it when project scope or services are changed.
Questions. When you have questions, ask them. Pay particular attention to design submissions since the work reflected in each submission will be further developed in the next. All questions should be resolved before construction begins.
Problems. Address problems when they arise and before small ones become large ones. Regular project meetings provide a natural opportunity.
Contract Administration. Once you’ve approved the work, you want it built as designed, and your architect is well positioned to administer the contract between you and the contractor. This requires considerable experience, time, and effort, but contract administration services represent the spending of a penny to save a dollar and are highly recommended.
Such services include:
- evaluating work for compliance with drawings and specifications
- approving shop drawings, materials, and product samples
- reviewing the results of material tests and inspections
- approving the contractor’s requests for payment
- handling requests for design changes during construction
- administering the completion, start-up, and close-out process of your project.
Next: How the AIA can Help
Link to You and Your Architect (PDF)