It’s a busy time in our industry right now. A lot of people that I run into in the Architecture, Engineering Construction community (AEC) are humming along working on multiple projects and doing their best in bringing and completing as much work as they can, us included.
I’ve noticed a phenomenon however, that with the increased workload there are a few things that happen. Mostly this is related to quality going down the tube in all aspects of development. As a client, you’re not getting the A team, or even the B team anymore from your consultants, or your contractors. The teams you get then are the C and D teams. These are the inexperienced, warm bodies that are learning, making mistakes, on your project. I’ve experienced this on my clients behalf recently. The client/owner is then forced to basically pay more for the inexperience of a team due to excessive mistakes and omissions.
So how as an client/owner do you combat this? Well thought out and detailed construction documents.
This leads to the two points of this post:
A Principal is always working on your Project at Enginuity – This relates to the consultant side of things for the owner. We believe that a Principal who has a personal vested interest in not only the financial aspect of the company, but the reputation and advancement of our company is directly working and involved in your project. By the way, when I mean working, I mean doing the heavy lifting, going out in the field, talking with the reviewers and clients, coordinating. We don’t have a principal show up at the first meeting, and then the only time you see them is when there’s a problem (likely because they were not directly involved) or at the end of the project.
The Devil is in the Details of the plans that are generated for the project – The main result of getting the inexperienced teams is that they may not know their way around projects as well as a savvy or seasoned professional. In the case of contracting, if you have an inexperienced team, they will likely lean on the design team and their subcontractors to help guide them through areas they do not know how to build. This leads to a strain (and potential breakdown) on the whole team and on budgets. The inexperienced team will then point to others saying they did not tell us, we didn’t know, etc.
The best way to combat this is clear, concise construction documents that give enough information for the contractor to build what the vision is. There is a fine line between providing enough detail on the plans, and the contractor employing risk aversion techniques by leaning on the team because of their inexperience. Most designers know this; “We need to have good plans”. I don’t think anyone sits down and says that they’re going to create a bad set of plans. This is an encouragement for other designers, and a promise to our clients, that when it’s late at night, or it has been a long day, and we working on a project, and that little devil inside says, “Just skip over that small part of the site, it’ll work out”. We get up and get another cup of coffee.