ARE 5.0 Project Management Exam Prep

portrait, Mike Newman

Mike Newman

15h 26m

In this ARE 5.0 Project Management Exam Prep course you will learn about the topics covered in the ARE 5.0 PjM exam division. A complete and comprehensive curriculum, this course will touch on each of the NCARB objectives for the ARE 5.0 Project Management Exam.

Instructor Mike Newman will discuss issues related to office standards, development of project teams and overall project control of client, fee and risk management.

When you are done with this course, you will have a thorough understanding of the content covered in the ARE 5.0 Project Management Exam including quality control, project team configuration and project scheduling.

NCARB Approved ARE 5.0 Test Prep Material

Objective 1.1: Determine Criteria Required to Assemble Team

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Now, clearly, there's a lot of information in there about which type of project and the different ways that things can get organized, but we're gonna focus in on issues of managing the contracts. Looking to control your relationships with the clients, the relationships with the fee, controlling risk, kind of understanding where the issues might be where the problem points might come. Making sure that we have a good quality control happening so that we're always sort of following the best path for that particular project.

Well we're gonna have a series of lectures that follow the same order that the ARE 5.0 objectives do, and then that will give us kind of a generalized background for the overall discussion, but we'll use a series of other attempts to connect to the real world aspect so we're gonna have a series of guest lecturers, we're gonna use some example projects, we're gonna look at some samples, for example, in this particular one, we'll talk about contracts, and looking at actual contracts. We'll go through a bunch of questions. We'll also be going into the studio and talking with real world architects and practitioners about how they solve some of these issues, how they manage projects and think about the risk, mitigation and contract negotiations as they go along.

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There's often people who have multiple relationships in here, but generally, you're looking at a fairly straightforward idea about this owner, architect, and general contractor as a sort of triumvirate that sort of holds the whole process together, and then all of these other satellites that you access through those individuals. Why is that important? Well, it's important when we start talking about the contracts that you'll realize that there's certain flows of conversation that make sense.

So the CMs are sort of a very interesting version, and they're quite likely to ask you questions about the one that's sort of the most typical I think is the idea that there's a CM who sort of acts like a GC and is hiring all the subs, and they're doing that essentially on behalf of the owner. But there's still a relationship, they still have a contract with the architect. Sometimes that's literally with the CM, sometimes it's directly to the owner, same basic idea.

So maybe certain types of prototyping, or certain kinds of energy modeling, something that would be very useful for a particular type of project, but also the different skillsets as a project moves through time. It's not exactly the same set of skills to be thinking about kind of massing models, and kind of urban impact that you might be thinking about in predesign and in schematic design, whereas under contract documents in the CD phase, you're probably thinking much more about specific detailing and water infiltration issues and low E coatings on windows and things like that. So, the skillsets will change as they go through.

Skill sets, and again, similar to what we were just talking about, the skill sets specific to the project type, but also specific to the flow of the project over time, that there is, as we said earlier, a different set of skill sets in the schematic design phase as there might be at the construction document phase as well as in the construction administration phases. Making sure that the consultants can meet those different skill sets, means, can they do the work, do they have enough time and availability to put people on the project in a timely manner, right? That sort of speaks to the idea of schedule and capacity, and then, again, the idea of diversity.

So when we say to a client that okay we are gonna sign this contract and we are gonna do this project for you for $25,000 that's going to be our architectural fee, that $25,000 fairly quickly it gets translated from an amount of money into an idea of hours. It goes from being money into being time. So when we are looking at what resources we have, we have a certain number of hours.

Sometimes you have a client that doesn't need construction administration because they already have that skill set so that gets taken away or they have their own bidding mechanism and so you're not doing that as part of it, but a standard project with standard contracts, standard design bit build, that's sort of roughly the idea of how this is gonna break out. As we said, that's about the dollar, but whenever you're talking about the dollar, you're talking about the hours, right? Because there's a direct relationship, through billable hours, between the fee and time.

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And the technical team is really is working on documenting the project, developing the details in Revit, but we're also studying things as the design develops through Rhino and we're seamlessly working between platforms so there's a broad skillset on the team depending on what phase that you're in. Early on it's a lot of Rhino and a lot of conceptual work, a lot of graphics and as the project develops we bring in more technical staff to really develop the details and systems and materials.

We don't work in studios here, so to balance skillsets we're constantly finding the right people in the firm to work on a project. So where some firms have studios where everybody works together on the same thing, we're kind of compiling the right team for the right project. And so we do high-rise projects, we do master planning, we do cultural projects.

I really represent the team to the client, and on our international projects, we are often having weekly calls and then having monthly travel to visit the project or the client, have design workshops as the project advances.

Objective 1.2: Assess Criteria Required to Allocate and Manage Project Resources

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So, once you have a handle on who the team is and what sort of resources you have available to you in terms of how many hours of time and all of that, the next big concern that you would have when you're trying to sort of figure out how a project is gonna roll forward is gonna be the schedule. There's two different aspects to this, and we'll talk about them sort of simultaneously, but one is the internal schedule for the design process. Initial ideas, moving through into a schematic concept, into developing that design, into detailing and making it ready for consumption with code officials and bidders and then eventually getting into the final design and following it through in construction and administration.

It could just mean research of some sort that most projects will need, not just doing drawings, or making models, or something like that. They'll need some time spent actually researching specific pieces of information about product availability, or the best ways to do such and such for this particular kind of client. So, there's research time that has to be involved in all these projects as well.

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In a bigger firm where people tend to be more specialized then you might have people who are different people at each of the different phases, it's gonna depend on the situation, depend on the kind of project, the kind of firm, all of that, but the gist of the situation here is we're keeping track of the flow of the money that's going out in terms of the billable hours and therefore checking it against the flow of the money coming in in terms of our billings and we're billing through schematic design, design and development, contract documents, so there's a set way that we have to bill at and we don't wanna get too far ahead of that or especially by the end we wanna be reasonably close to that number. When you look at that 100,000 dollar number it should include some idea of overhead and profit in it. So it's not that if we, you know, come in at 102,000 that oh my god, we just lost 2,000 dollars, but what it means is we didn't make any of that money, that overhead in profit got eaten away in our overage.

It's a relatively large project that's a $100,000 fee and there's gonna be a certain number of hours of each of these people and we can start to figure out, "Well, how many hours does that give us?" So then, if we imagine that we have some of the Architects working on the project, let's say we're gonna get a hundred hours of time and so we've got a hundred times a hundred; that's gonna be $10,000 of time, right there, just in that one group, which would leave us $5,000 for some time with the Principal and with the Project Manager and with the Project Architect and maybe some other time with the intern. There might be some staff admin time putting packages of information together for the client, something like that, so we would just kind of figure out how many hours we thought we needed and divide it up in terms of, so it's not just time, but it's the time and money because each of these different people, their hour is a different cost. So, clearly, we don't want to have a project where we're spending a whole lot of hours of the Principal, unless that's really needed, because they're way more expensive than, say, the Designer or somebody like that.

So that you can very clearly see, well on the Monday, that's how much work was done, and then you can also add up that whole day and say, "yep, they did in fact do an eight hour day." So, it's an easy way of just kind of keeping track of where the hours go, which projects somebodies working on, how much time they've actually spent in that whole week, so you can kind of put together did they in fact do a 40 or a 50 hour week, whatever it is. And so all of that is a fairly straight forward kind of idea of just kind of keeping track of the general numbers. But there's also another, sort of, built in idea here, which is the concept of the difference between the billable and nonbillable hours.

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If we equally have one week solid of the project architect on that same project, that's a big chunk more money, so that's going to be more money coming out of the fee when we sort of add it all together. So we can't just think about billable hours in terms of the number of hours. We have to also understand how much each one of those hours we are billing at.

That discussion is gonna be about saying; look that's great, you wanna go fast, we get it but know that you're gonna be just spending money in order to go fast just by the sheer nature of the project delivery. So kind of other related issues like that that you'd be discussing with them. You might be discussing what they actual milestone timeline would be like what are the dates that need to be met.

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Once we're done with that, well then, we're going in for permit, we're maybe getting our bids right away, so there's a period of time where we don't necessarily have a huge amount of control during that bidding, even though it's something that we're actively working in, unlike some of these other ones, during that bidding phase, the amount of time that the contractors take we would put in the bid package. It would be something that would be our recommendation, but if you decide, okay, we're gonna give the contractors two days to bid, well, that's not enough time. They are gonna come back and say, "Look, we need three weeks," or "We need a month," or "We need two weeks," or, you know, some amount of time that's sort of a reasonable amount of time.

And then, the project manager is also following along and making those charts and saying all right, time used and comparing that to time originally allotted, and that would be under each phase, right, where you to along and so we can check where are we at at this point? So, maybe we're at the end of DD and we can figure out, well we've used this amount of time, this is what we had hoped to be able to use, how do they relate to each other? Right?

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So obviously, manpower labor is just one part of building the budget, you also want to keep in mind what other expenses you may have, whether it's printing costs, shipping, we often outsource our renderings, they're done faster and better typically, we build models, so you want to make sure to understand all of the expenses that will be part of the project, not just the labor and build that up to go into your fee and obviously there's overhead and profit considered in that as well.

Typically you have you're concept designs, schematic design, design development and construction documents before construction starts so we're trying to work backwards from the move in date and then understanding construction duration to understand how much design time that we have and they're always milestones within that, that you agree with the client whether that's at a 100% of a phase or there may be some interim phases and in some projects we actually do a monthly issuance kind of a in progress where we are so this is an example. These are actually our IBA stages rather than AIA phases the SDDDCD, these are in stages but they're similar in that this is concept design and there's 11 weeks for concept design. We have an interim submission, the client has a few weeks to review before they approve us to move on to the next stage so and then we're constantly tracking this to make sure we're on schedule.

Sometimes around a deadline, you may staff up and have a few extra people to support the effort but really you wanna make sure that you're sticking with your plan and your project budget.

And then, this plan is based on a work service list, as opposed to a lump sum or a construction-cost estimate work schedule. And so, what we've done is we've listed out the phases of the project, their duration, and then the hours associated with each type of person to complete the task. So this one is a little bit interiors-heavy.

There are some situations where you have someone in the office who is better suited to the type of project, but they may not be available and so you kind of at the last minute assemble a different team to get the project delivered on time to the client and correctly to the client. Here at HAA, we have operations and productions meetings every week and during those meetings, we go through the kind of list of employees and also the list of projects and most of the time things are on track. We have budgeted people out several months for different projects.

Objective 2.1: Develop and Maintain Project Work Plan

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And that kind of, is a bit important that idea of just a few big overall dimensions, because if you start getting into at schematic design, too much detail, first of all, you're likely to find that it's not correct because you haven't built to that moment and therefore you're gonna be changing it later anyway. But also, you start finding that you are promising things at a point when you're not actually at a level of confidence that you should be promising them. If you're giving too much detail of dimensional information, or too much detailed information about how those offices worked or what the material, how the flashing works or something, then other people will start making decisions 'cause it'll look like those are finished ideas.

Something is changing that is the contract, and so there's likely to be drawings that have to happen in order to make that happen, it's not always, I mean sometimes it's just the paint colors changing or maybe the schedule was gonna be ending on May and then they had bad weather and so now it's gonna be ending in June, so they need to do a change order just to change the schedule. But the idea is that, all of the drawings at that point and the specifications and all that work, are a part of that contract, so, you can't just sort of change things offhandedly, they are part of this overall legal construct, so whatever the changes for that change order, it is actually part of this overall contract. Change orders happen all the time, there's lots of reasons why change orders happen and, in general they roll along just fine and everybody agrees.

So the big abstract design work is happening during schematic design, but then design development is where you're getting all of that next level of design, so really thinking about the materials, and how the windows are gonna work, and what the ceilings are gonna be like, and all of those kinds of things. So you have this very simplified idea of how the project might work in the early phases when you get a sign off, and everybody's rolling forward, we're all on the same page, then we go into the design development, and we really design it out, and then when we get to sign off at that point, hopefully we have a pretty good idea of what the budget is, and that the budget is holding true as we've moved from schematic design into design development. Well now we're gonna go into the CD phase, the contract documents phase, and that phase, I'm designing still, because I'm getting more and more detailed as I go along, but I shouldn't be really designing from the standpoint of big ideas.

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The construction change directive is essentially the same thing as a change order, but it's in those situations where people just can't agree. So maybe the contractor says, "We'll do that change, "but we want to charge you $100,000." And maybe the architect says, "Really, 100,000? "I think it should be 50,000." And there's this dispute there and they just can't come to an agreement, and so the owner just doesn't have the ability to know what to do, so the owner says to the architect, "Issue a construction "change directive," so what that means is you essentially issue what is effectively a change order.

Once we start getting into we've actually got the project and we've got the process and now we're starting to get ready and think about how we're going to move through this as a design exercise, we sort of talked about generally what kinds of drawings go into each phase, but now we're just gonna do a quick more graphic version of that, just to make the point. So, if we're starting off the project, let's say right here we're talking about the plan. So that's the first thing that we're really thinking about.

So you could easily imagine a question that would come at you, that would be, "Here's the situation, here's the project schedule, "here's the something, here's the something, "and then here's some new piece of information." And then you're supposed to know what is supposed to happen with that. Well, you're gonna go back to that project schedule. You're gonna go back to the initial assumptions, and see what would have to be changed, and then be able to make that proposal, and how that would that happen in a question.

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There might be a situation where the contractor when they're putting together that stipulated sum might be nervous about maybe an unusual project or something that's different then they don't have any sort of model to really go off of. And so before they're gonna give you a stipulated sum they're gonna put a bunch of padding into that number because they just don't know right, they're nervous about it and so instead of giving you the million two number maybe they give you a million five or something like that. Just to add a little bit of number in there so if things are weird or different than what they expect that they would be covered in that sort of situation.

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So a project work plan is really looking at the tasks and the assignments that need to happen, and when they need to happen. So, it's in consultation with between the project manager and the project architect and the production staff, about what needs to happen when looking at the overall project schedule. And then breaking that down into more defined tasks.

To check and make sure that that works and that you can actually use a percentage based construction cost proposal, we also complete a work plan. This one is similar to a service work plan. It breaks up the project into different phases and then again you allocate certain resources minus their hours, you kind of do this at first independently of the percentage of construction cost to see if your ballpark numbers are adequate.

Objective 2.2: Determine Criteria Required to Develop and Maintain Project Schedule

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And then the idea that you have thorough communication, the thorough communication, when I say that, what I'm talking about is, there's a sort of funny line that has to be walked, you're looking to be redundant in the sense that there is nothing that can slide through and not be considered that it's been communicated clearly, but not so redundant that you can have misinformation, that's one of the interesting things about this kind of work is that we always try very hard not to have the same information in two locations, when we're talking about a set of design drawings or contract documents, but when it comes to keeping track of design decisions and information from these various meetings and various things that are going on, it is important to keep the base notes for when you are walking through, you know, you're scratching your notes through the site visit, or the notes that you had for the design meeting around the conference table, that you've got some way of keeping those notes, maybe you scan them, keep them in a set file or something, but then there's also an official version of that information that gets maybe bullet pointed or becomes, this decision was made on Friday and here's two reasons why, and this is the implication from it, so there's some distillation of that information that becomes something that can be sent around to everybody, so what I'm saying here is that, there's these regular meetings, there's this whole process but that you also are then using that information to keep solid track of it, and having it at multiple levels of information, so I have a base information, but then I have the information that's distilled down and given out to everybody, so everybody has a clear access to all the decisions that have been made.

Doesn't have to be long winded, doesn't have to be a huge amount of information, but you have a log of the information, it's dated, and then some place that same date is on a design drawing, and that sits in the file as well, so that there's this sort of clear of one to the next, to the next, not for you in the moment. In the moment, you'll probably remember what's going on, and people will have all that information at there fingertips. The problem is not right then.

So that you can build in the idea that if something does come down the road, like, where you have it to do value engineering, there's a moment where you can actually still get paid for the work that you're doing because you've written in, saying, look, I knew that budget wasn't gonna work. So, I was telling you at the beginning that wasn't gonna work and now here we are and the budget doesn't work. So, I'm expecting to be paid for my redesign.

There's all that set-up time, so the contractor's set up and they get all their equipment there, and they get their overhead started up, and they have the port-a-johns, and they do all of that stuff that gets everything sort of going for the project, and then they do phase one. And then that all goes away and they have to bring it all back, and they have to do new temporary electric, and they have to do a new set of port-a-johns, and they have to figure out where they're gonna park, and re-staging things. They had to put up finish elements to cover the places where things weren't done yet.

It's a way of thinking of things as ideas in order to just sort of check them that can then be useful when and if we end up using this as the design option that we're gonna go forward with. It's not the design. It's useful information for seeing if a new design can actually do what we're asking it to do.

The consultants are gonna be worried about the sort of detail issues about how are we gonna be dealing with thermal and moisture protection if I'm the consultant who's dealing with the HVAC system, because they're connected. Or if I'm the consultant doing the curtain wall or something along those lines, clearly they're gonna be worried about the structure and how that's gonna impact consultant decisions. Material sourcing, maybe, that would depend on what kind of consultant it was and what the material was.

One of the things about cost estimates that we've talked about in various other places, but it's worth sort of repeating again here, is that the concept of the cost estimate will look a lot like a number of other documents, but it's actually a little different. So when you say cost estimate, what you're talking about is before the project is started. So this is the thing where we're saying, look, we know what we know, but we don't know what we don't know.

That's going to be very useful if you're especially looking at different bids coming back from a multiple number of bidders, that, when we're comparing these things one to the other, it's useful if you see somebody who has demolition at, in this case, 24,000 or so, and then we see another bidder, and their demo comes in at 105,000, you know there's a question there. Somebody misunderstood something, it's just not a reasonable set of comparisons, so something's wrong. This is a way of helping you to sort of track where something is right, where something is wrong.

Or maybe that's a moment where the client says, no, no, I get it, I really like these more expensive ones, we're gonna let that number go up. But at least that, if that number's in there, when they went to get their loan from the bank, or they started that conversation, they knew they had to be at least in that $320,000 range, not the 300. So they've made at least a reasonable process of getting as close as possible to this.

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It's just that it's only going to the file, and the whole point of that is that later on down the road, maybe you're not there, maybe somebody else is looking for the information or maybe you're trying to prove something because there's a mediation or litigation or something, you have this sort of record that's kind of almost like a journal that says all these different important points that happened along the way. It's kind of important because they're sort of concept that the file itself is an important thing, right? That it's part of the process is keeping the file sort of filled with the right information.

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If we have a bigger project or a long term duration, we kind of have that built into our project fee of an overhead allocation to you know, study and research and explore new materials, new techniques, new strategies. If it's a more short duration project, tighter fee, we may have less of that amount of time, and it may just be kind of, go through the process and get it done as soon as we can. Maintenance of the project schedule is you know one of the key points in our project meetings.

After you've negotiated and worked through your deliverable schedule with the client, of course at that point you wanna have talked to all your team members and looked at your projected resources to make sure that you can deliver a project as promised to the client. But then you also move into internal processes and delivery. So on larger projects with multiple team members, I like to do a schedule that lists out the deliverables that we've promised the client.

Objective 2.3: Determine Appropriate Communication to Project Team – Owner, Contractor, Consultants, and Internal Staff

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You wanna pick and choose the ones that fit to this particular project, fit to the design team, and fit to the client so that it all kinda makes logical sense, but the gist here is there's gonna be a lot of times when you're having conversations with people and important decisions are being made, maybe it's through a text, maybe it's through a phone call, maybe it's through somebody who's the spouse of somebody says something or some other random people who are somehow telling you information and you're not 100% sure whether they have all of the information, and so these are the kinds of systems, you need to find a way to take those ephemeral ideas and make them, A, part of the log so there's a paper trail, and B, responding back in a clear way so that people can say yes, that was what I meant or no, that's not what I meant, and be able to rectify the situation if it's not going in the right direction. So you can easily imagine questions kind of like this where there's information floating around and one of your roles is to find a way to codify that information and get it correct and in a place where everybody who needs to see that information can see it, and the right answer can be understood.

Often people will think of the idea of a text or Facebook post as kind of an ephemeral, like it's just this little thing and it's just gonna float through the digital world and they'll see it for a second and then it'll go away, and so you might be saying something kind of unpleasant about a client or something about a code official or something like that. Well the kind of weird thing about these things is not only are they ephemeral and go away very easily, but also weirdly the exact opposite is true. They last forever, so if you're getting sued and people know there's something on there, they will get to it.

But, so the takeaway on this part is just that, when we say meeting minutes, yeah, of course everybody knows what meeting minutes are, but there are sort of specific things about the ways that these things go that you would want to make sure you understood, because by presuming that the way end card would ask about this is kind of in that old school sense of the idea of the template, the idea of the set information, always knowing who's at the meetings, always knowing the weather or the sort of generalized topic, there being a clear date stamp, so that that can move along, it's clear who's taking the notes, and then it's clear who's saying the key important things, and it's clear who the action plans, who's supposed to do something coming out of this. Sometimes you'll see that the action plans will become a separate, especially on big, complicated projects, that will become a second document, and not part of the meeting minutes that they, they separate out just because of the complication. But in, you know, the sort of more standard, simpler types of meetings, generally it's sort of one document.

Just to sort of touch on it lightly, obviously, scheduling for design-bid-build, that's gonna be a long time, and there's gonna be a lot of parts of that schedule that are gonna be where there's a huge amount of information that's going back and forth and being explained to the clients that's going back. So for the right kind of client, that long time makes perfect sense because they need to have that process where they're going through it and they're learning about what's going on. The schedule for the design-build, as we said, there's gonna be more compact.

That seems unlikely; it's probably more likely that it's individual fan-coil units or something along those lines, and that's gonna have an impact on the classroom design, it's gonna have an impact potentially on the exterior wall, if there's a lot of exhaust elements that have to be found. Getting that information early would be really big and important idea, where you're trying to plan out how that work's gonna go. I would put structure next, and the reason I put them next is because a couple of these elements are likely to be long-span.

What are the issues that are the kind of what we find in the existing building that we want to save and what are the ones that we're gonna just get rid of because modern-day life just doesn't work that way? So that's gonna be a very important question. It's also an old building.

You should, well, the clear answer here is, you should not really say anything, you should say, thanks for the issue, we're really happy that you're bidding, we'll get back to you, and then what you're gonna get back to them with is you're gonna keep a log of all the questions, so, a log of questions, and you're gonna keep track of those questions and, probably what will happen is you'll end up with three or four questions that are all kind of the same and so you kind of put them together as one question and, maybe you have a bunch of other ones that are individuals, and some that are obvious and some that are not so obvious, but you keep a log of questions, and then you're gonna put those together into an addenda, and you're gonna pass that addenda out, that addenda will be numbered and dated and, it will be very clearly sort of marked as here's the question, here's the response. When that gets sent out to all of the bidders, not just the one who asked the question, then everybody has the same information and it literally changes the bid package, the bid package now is not just the drawings and specifications and whatever else was originally in the bid package, it actually is now all of that plus the addenda, so that when the bid comes back in, they are responsible for having understood what was in that addenda, and making sure that that information is part of their actual bid. Very important to kind of keep track of those things, one of the interesting things that comes up often, is how often do you put out an addenda?

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And so that communication is critical and that's really kind of informal communication, kind of a ad hoc, but we also have design workshops where the entire team gets together to meet the client and consultants, and during those times we are recording those meetings with meeting minutes and tracking the actions and it's critical to understand the key actions that come out of the meeting or directions that the client gave you. Very often we're referring back to the meeting minutes when something may change, or there's a conflicting request, you wanna show when a certain decision was made and documented, so the meeting minutes are critical. And communication again is graphic, and drawn, so we're making sure that all of our drawings and presentations are clear and speak for themselves, because it's not always the case where you get to present one-on-one to your client or to all the stakeholders involved.

So often we'll have dedicated structural coordination meetings where you're meeting in person to go through the drawings. And we track week-to-week progress in those meetings by an action list. And so it's really almost like running meeting minutes that say, what are the open issues?

We have a decision log for each project that tracks both the decisions that have been made and closed, and the open decisions that are critical to be resolved. And, we're sending this to the client on a weekly basis to say, here's the information we need to finish the design. Please finish by a certain date.

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So we often work with cost estimators that price every drawing package that we do and track whether we're on budget or not, and you really should not be moving to the next stage in the design process without an approved budget or a check that you're on budget, because the longer that you defer the reality of the cost of your design, you're just gonna get into more trouble and have potential for redesign or a lot of rework. So you really wanna always track the budget either using the cost estimator or a contractor. Getting a contractor's early input is critical to test the reality of a project, and we do a lot of international work and so working in Chicago, we don't always understand the cost of construction materials or a building in another far away place, and so we're relying on contractors to know that market and to give us feedback on what our design costs.

The meetings that we'll have will range from and owner design meeting, it may happen weekly or biweekly throughout the life of a project, where we walk about issues that have come up, talk about the schedule, talk about milestones, and just give the client updated information about the project design. We also have internal meetings, where we talk with the team on a weekly basis about their tasks and about their roles, and inform them of information that may have come back from our client meetings, so that everybody's informed. We'll have consultant meetings, where we bring in the out of house people that are also involved with the project, and make sure that they were all sharing knowledge.

Objective 3.1: Evaluate and Verify Adherence to Owner/Architect Agreement

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So that means there's an implication that there's going to be a thing and that the thing is going to meet the codes because we've made the proper decisions and it's going to meet the needs of the client because we've had communication back and forth but you are saying that we are going to meet those needs, where we've set up a process and the design intent will be there so that somebody could build that and then when they build it, it will be in a situation where it will meet the codes, it'll meet the needs, it'll do all those things but what we're doing is the idea. So what's that about? It's about the decision-making, it's about code compliance, it's about understanding the program and making sure the program needs are followed through, it's also about being a good citizen to the society, to the community, it's about protecting the health, safety and welfare of the public, so it's decisions, it's thinking about all of those issues and then having them manifest together into a concept, into a design intent.

The hope is that if there's something that's not right, that's going to alter, dramatically alter the design intent of the project, like, you know, maybe you have exposed trusses and they're at 10 foot on center, and for whatever reason, the shop drawing comes back and now they're at 12 feet on center, and so all the seam lines, and things that have been carefully lined up, don't line up anymore, right. Well that would be something where the design intent, like it's meaningfully impacted here. That's something you would have to reject.

The contractor has questions about why something's happening, that's gonna go through the architect, because they're gonna administer the contract. They're gonna, sort of, make sure that everything is needing to happen is happening, and that the right people have the information they need, and kind of help the owner get through the process. So that's kind of a fascinating aspect of it.

They're not in the first round of the bid, but if it comes up it's not like now we're down the road and it turns out we take the carpet off and we look down and the underlayment and you're like, "Oh my God, all this underlayment has to be replaced." The contractor can't at that point, because they kind of have you over a barrel at that point. They're now already the contractor. They can't say, "Yeah, that'll cost ya $100,000 a square foot" or some stupid thing.

There's a number of things that happen at that point, at substantial completion or at final payment, it depends on the situation, before that final payment is given. All of the important information that the contractor has would be given over to the owner. Also possibly given to the architect who then would make a package of it and give it to the owner but somebody is gonna get that information and then get it to the owner and it's gonna include what the warranty information is, it's gonna include the maintenance package, like how do you maintain the floors and how do you keep the HVAC systems working, like all of the documentation that comes from the equipment.

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Contract is in place when everything goes wrong and when you're in a contentious situation, so it's kind of hard actually, going through these terms of the agreement, thinking about what you could do to each other, to, you know, get in trouble and then to start off the project, really, and start kind of working collaboratively. But it's absolutely critical to have a contract in place before starting work, which is really important.

It's very important that everyone understands what we just agreed to, not just the scope of work, but also the terms of a contract, as well.

For a smaller project, we may use a letter of agreement, like this, which is a sort of a letter describing the scope of work, describing the schedule, and describing the fee. Usually for smaller projects, that's what we'll do. Or for the first phases of a project that is just getting underway.

I'll usually start with a typical owner architect agreement, but in certain cases, depending on the financial restrictions of a project, they may have certain contracts they need to use. So I have one project that is funded by HUD, and so we actually had to use a B101 instead of the typical 101, so that we could provide the correct language for a federally funded project. Again, you end up with the same kind of review processes internally, and again, it never happens on the first shot.

Objective 3.2: Interpret Key Elements of, and Verify Adherence to Architect/Consultant Agreement

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If we're making changes to the contracts before the contract is signed, then, you literally see the change. You cross out and write in, and you leave those things visible so that the other person who's reviewing the information can see that change. Once everybody has signed it, those things can be removed, and you can have just the actual contract, but up until that point, you can't just sort of subtly make a change through Photoshop or something and then hope they don't notice.

Technically, the architects are still responsible for all the decision making, but because there's so many things happening on the job site at any one time, it's a little hard to claim that. Multiple prime, as long as it's still a typical design/bid/build type of situation or even a negotiated bid type of situation, that would still be with the architect. That's where all that decision making responsibility is.

Objective 3.3: Interpret Key Elements of the Owner/Contractor Agreement

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"Somebody's gonna fall and that's gonna be a problem." I understood that I was taking a chance, that I was going out on a limb, because if something did go wrong, that I might be taking that responsibility, but you know, there are certain times when something just isn't right and you want to make sure it's right. Do what you think you need to do, but you should understand, when you do that, that has potentially very large implication, and from the NCARB exam standpoint, the ARE exam, they will absolutely not think that it's OK just to tell contractors to stop. They will follow the rules on the exam.

Objective 4.1: Evaluate Compliance with Construction Budget

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So the bid package, with the drawings and the specs, the bid letter that's sort of explaining the situation, the bid form, and then a whole series of other important elements which would be like, we know there's some problems coming up, we're not 100% sure about how it's gonna go, but we might be forced to put in extra driveway or parking areas by the code officials. So we want you to also, not just have your number for the actual bid set, but also give us a number per square foot if we have to add more parking area. And, that's saying, we're not expecting it, we're not 100% sure, but we know there's a possibility that we might have.

It then goes into the schedule of values where it's a working document for the GC, and the architect also is interested in that information; and then it eventually goes on to become the sworn statement, which is that sort of official paperwork part of how the GCs are gonna get paid and it gets used not only as that official paperwork, but also as the generator of information for all the liens, all the waivers of liens, that the GC and all the subs need to supply for that process. The architects, by the way, also need to supply waivers of lien for exactly the same reason, to be able to say, look, I agree, I have been paid. Here I waive my right to sue you for lack of payment for this particular part of the project because you did, in fact, give me a check.

We can know that, all right, the admin building, maybe this is gonna be a brick veneer with some CMU backup, so that's gonna sort of tell us what that assembly is gonna look like; but then maybe some of these other elements over here, maybe this is all a curtain wall because that's gonna be this place where the main big entry is gonna come and so there's gonna be some sort of little canopy or something that's gonna make a very exciting place to enter and it's gonna be the big central hub of the school and so maybe that is gonna be a curtain wall. So now we can start figuring out, well how many linear feet of each of those do we have? And then our structure, our roof systems, our floor systems, we can have a pretty good idea of what the costs of those are gonna be because we have a pretty good idea of what the square footages are.

So understanding when you're doing a project like this there's sort of all the normal things are happening, but now we have to deal with the existing building which is always a complication, but beyond that, because it's this mixed use, there are these different pools of money. There's different contracts that are gonna be at play. There's different groupings that have more say over one part than over another.

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Maybe there's some schedule impact that you need to do it faster, you need to deliver the project faster, and therefore it would have a cost impact as well. And it's just important to identify those threats to the budget early on and to have open conversation with the client on how to address them.

And we're constantly having to check against that budget so we're using a cost estimator or a contractor to regularly estimate our drawings throughout the design process. It's really important not to advance to the next stage of design until you know that design is on budget to avoid a lot of rework. And we're constantly evaluating different options and attacking the budget to make sure that we understand what we're doing so you might wanna study a few options and have those priced by the contractor or the cost estimator and kind of test them out.

So, typically as the project is starting out and you're in concept design, it's square foot based, and you're looking at comparable projects, benchmark projects of similar size, or what their cost per square foot and trying to compare that, but then as you move on into design development, you can start to look at more systems, what the systems cost, maybe, as the design has more detail, the cost estimator can really drill in to some harder bid numbers, and oftentimes, a cost estimator will actually have major trades like the structure and the mechanical systems actually bid out or advised by a sub-contractor, and then by the time you get into CDs and you're checking those prices, they're really much more reliable information because all of the detail is in your document, so you kind of build up as you go. And so when doing that, you want a little bit of a cost contingency, so maybe you'd have 10% contingency early on that might go to 5%, just to cover you if you missed anything. It's really a fudge factor and allows you a little bit of flexibility in the budget until things get further defined.

And that's summed all the way up down at the bottom, into a total construction budget that can be then divided by the cost per square foot of the total project to evaluate and compare to other historical information.

A lot of times construction budgets will change as the project evolves. And so it's constantly kind of one feeling the market, two knowing what your experience tells you something should be, and then of course having your back up research to support new projects.

Objective 4.2: Evaluate and Address Changes in Scope of Work and Scope Creep

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But in a typical situation, where we've got a little bit of adaptive re-use, and a little bit of new construction, something along 10 percent, that's probably a reasonable, maybe five percent if we feel pretty comfortable with how much information we have, but we're gonna add those numbers together, and we're just gonna call that out as the contingency, and then we're gonna say yeah, what we were saying was, that was our budget, but what we're really saying our budget is, is that number, right, that's the 1.1 million, because we added 10 percent as a contingency. So that way we go to the bank, and we get the loan, we're getting the loan for the 1.1 million, for an amount of money that we think is gonna have enough extra in it, that it's gonna cover all those sort of unexpected moments. So, like I said, maybe that's 10 percent in certain situations, maybe it's a little bit more of a known situation, so you're not so worried about it, maybe that's five percent for the contingency.

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We're also tracking if there are changes to that scope, and those changes have to do with change in the scope of the building, a bigger or smaller building, or some kind of design change. Change to the cost or quality, and a change to the schedule. And so it's important to track those carefully.

And those responsibility matrix really help to clarify things that may not be covered specifically in the contract or in the scope of work. It always comes up on a project, things that you didn't anticipate and you really just need to add further detail to.

So it's just always good to have a dialogue about this because if you let too much scope creep happen, you're going to be doing a lot of extra work and it's important that we realize, or we recognize our value and that we're paid for it.

But there's an important recognition of when things have gone beyond just providing proper service to the client, and when you're really giving away things for free, that's scope creep, what it means.

So, it could be something as easy as you're providing general, overall lighting for the room, and then, they have someone who comes in, you know, maybe directly related to the project, maybe someone walking by the room, but still for the same company, and they're like: I already saw this fixture I like, can we do more of a chandelier style. And then before you know it you're replacing the number, the quantity, the type, you're re-doing all of your electrical loads because the new fixture takes a different level of power. You're providing dimmers because someone actually wants to dim the room instead of just flipping on the switch, so that's where you kind of get into those really subtle scope creeps.

Objective 4.3: Evaluate Project Documentation to Ensure it Supports the Specified Delivery Method

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First thing we're gonna think about when we think about the documentation systems for a project, just like first thing we think about for the contracts, first thing we think about for the relationships, first thing we think about for everything is really gonna be the project delivery because that's gonna be the thing that drives our systems of documentation both in terms of what's being drawn and documented and what is going to be the sort of system for communication for that and when it's gonna happen. So, we're talking about the timing, like when do we do the project documentation? Well, if it's designed bid-build, you know, you've got that full on design process, then you have the bid, and then you have the construction process.

Zoning code cares about still life safety issues, still the idea of the health of the public, it's still all those same basic health, safety, and welfare of the public, it's just that it's a different sort of aspect of it. The idea of density, the idea of creating a sort of positive experience for people that you're using the zoning code, certain areas we're going to make very dense and exciting and retail-focused, and then there's gonna be other areas where it's sort of open and friendly. And there's other areas that are gonna be dense, and it works really well with the traffic patterns and the transport systems.

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Now that conversation is also important as it relates to BIM models and we work in Revit and the clients have been asking us to do more and more level of detail in our BIM models and now there's lots of documentation through AIA and other sources to really identify specifically to what level of detail all of the model elements will be in your model because now clients and contractors are starting to use those models. So it's not just the paper documents now, it's also the digital information or digital models as well.

We also, depending on the project schedule, need to package our documents in certain ways, so, on a fast-track project, you might issue an early foundation package, separate from the rest of the CDs on a-on a job, so, understanding that early on, getting in the schedule, clearly communicating that the entire consulted team and the client is very important to set off on the right track.

Objective 4.4: Identify and Conform With the Requirements Set Forth by Authorities Having Jurisdiction in Order to Obtain Approvals for the Project

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I have to be able to get away from the building and that's all still part of my egress path. So understanding all of those components and that each of those components is gonna have separate fire rating aspects. So this wall is gonna be one part of that egress path and it's gonna have one set of expectations in terms of fire rating.

Let's imagine that your client, they wanna build a building that is 14,000 square feet on each floor, but as you read through the code as you're going through the occupancy and construction time tables, you're sort of reading through it, and you realize that it clearly states that a building of this construction type for this particular occupancy has a limitation of 10,000 square feet per floor. What do you do? So, the issue here is you're following the code, you're using the code, you've gone to the occupancy, figured out how to use the occupancy to understand the construction type.

If I decided to add on, and make this building much, much larger, and add a bunch more of these units, and I had a situation where there wasn't a stair down at the end, then this would be referred to as a dead-end corridor, so what that's saying is I go this way, and it's a panic right, and there's smoke and there's alarms going off, it's very confusing for people, and if they happen to run by this stair, didn't realize that they had passed it, they would have to go all the way down to the end before they'd realize that they had gone by the stair, and then would have to come all the way back. Well that's a recipe for having a trouble you know, fainting from smoke inhalation or something. There's usually limits to how far that dead-end corridor can go.

In some situations where we're right near transit in a transit-oriented design context we might be able to say, "Look, we're not gonna have any parking "because we really want to encourage people "to use the transit." But there's gonna be some idea, it's gonna have impact on the design about how many parking spaces go for this particular use in this particular district. If that's an office building it might be done per square foot. It might be a way of thinking about how many people per square foot are there likely to be in that office and what percentage of those people are likely to be driving and they'll come up with some basic way that they think about it as a municipality and then say, "Alright, you're building this new office building.

But one of the main things you'd want to make sure you'd done before you went to that meeting is you'd want to look at your zoning code, and potentially also your building code, to make sure you understood what the requirements were for that particular occupancy type. And so I've chosen the day care center here specifically, because day care is one of those occupancies that has a lot of very specific rules and regulations around it, both from a building code and a zoning code standpoint. And so it's just a kind of interesting example where, you know, it seems like a simple little project, you know, how big can a day care center be?

This is where it's not just that we're saying, "Alright, we're gonna let you do what's permitted "in a different permit, different district "into this location." We're actually saying, "We're gonna change the map." We're gonna literally amend the zoning code. So clearly if you're amending the zoning code the zoning code is a law, you have to have all the city council involved. So even if it's for one project there's a lot of people who are voting on that and it becomes a much bigger deal.

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And then as we get into the CD set phase we're gonna go back 'cause now we're actually in that spot where we're documenting, we're making clear to a potential contractor or code official or whoever what decisions we've made so now we're gonna be documenting back here's what our wall types look like, we've go the information from the UL, here's where we're saying what UL wall type we're meeting and all of that information is then referenced. We'll give a little bit of that information; two layers of drywall, this and that, but the bulk of the information will remain on the UL website and that way they can get to that information easily. So you're using this as a way to sort of understand the issues in terms of safety and fire protection, be able to get that information into the design at the appropriate point and then be able to document that easily to all the other players who are looking at this in order to be able to make pricing decisions, in order to be able to make permitting decisions, all of that so everybody's on the same page.

So while we're talking about code compliance, obviously, just like all the other issues we're gonna be talking about, it always comes back to product delivery as well, right, so we have design bid build, we have design build, fast track, multiple prime, integrated project delivery, which I'm sort of grouping with construction manager, it's sort of similar in certain ways, and we're talking about code compliance issues so we have zoning code issues, building code, we have the sort of process issues of working with inspectors and all of that, and you can start to see pretty quickly where there are gonna be issues and where there's not gonna be issues. We're talking about design bid build that's that one where you start with the whole big design process, you go through all the schematic design, design development, cds, bidding, all of that stuff and then you have a bid phase and then we choose a contractor and we're building it out. So presumably all the zoning and the building code issues, all of that has been sort of taken care of during those permitting phase, which would be kind of during that bidding phase, and perhaps with opportunity to do reviews and different points, depending on, what kind of project it was and what sort of setup there was at the municipality that you were working in there's a lot of opportunity for review before the contractor has necessarily even gotten involved and then once the contractor is involved, now the contractor will be then in charge of all of the appropriate inspector reviews and it's a fairly straight forward process just because it's long and drawn out.

So there's going to be egress issues, and fire rating issues that are going to separate out within these different buildings. So with a school, clearly those are going to be the big issues, you might find it surprising, but we don't like it when our schools burn down, right. It's a problem, people would be very worried about it, so the codes are very particular about these kinds of issues.

All of the obvious ones, just getting people out in a fire or a panic, making sure the building itself is gonna be okay, so we're worried about the structure, if this is a heavy timber wood building, which an old loft building might be, well, that's gonna be a slightly different set of issues than if it's, say, a steel building. One of these you probably have talked about at some point in your career is the idea that heavy timber wood has that sort of fascinating capacity that as it burns, it'll char through the wood for about three-quarters of an inch or so, and then that char will actually protect the rest of the wood. So, if we're talking about a fairly sizable column, maybe eight by eight or 10 by 10, something like that, we'll have quite a bit of the wood still there protected by this char around it.

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And that's where they're gonna go through, they're gonna look at the zoning code and figure out what are all the key important aspects of the zoning code and tell us, you know, write down all the elements that say, yeah, here's about how big the building is allowed to be by zoning code, and here's what the setbacks need to be, and here's some other key pieces of information. And then they need to do a review from a building code standpoint, saying, all right, so it's a multi-family. Well, multi-family's gonna have in this case, roughly to scale one-hour demising walls, and one-hour floor assemblies.

If you're going to be using some other types of construction systems, well, then the code is gonna be much more limited in terms of what it allows you to do, because as we get farther away from that sort of ability to withstand the fire it's going to want to make sure you're not making too big of building and not making it too far to get to an exit or not having too many vulnerable people in that type of structure. So you can see how this is working. So we've gone up to types, from one and two up through three, type four.

So that's not really helping us, so either we're gonna have to go with the type one construction, or we're gonna have to figure out a way to make the heavy timber work for us anyway. So what could we do in this situation? Well, there's an interesting moment here, that you have to start balancing back and forth.

We have a pretty good idea of the scale of what building we're talking about and what kind of material now, what it's gonna look like, sort of a general sense of that. Now we have to go back to what our specific question was though. Our specific question was how big is the stair?

It's just trying to say there's a reason why we do this and that's in order to ease that process of communication that if you're the other party in this thing, or you're the GC, or you're the code official, you can scan down that information quickly and easily and then find the piece that you're looking for and then locate it onto the plan. So it's a way of easing that process of communication. But equally, it also pulls as much of that information out of the actual plan to the side.

So if we have 10,000 square feet of area on the site, that means we have potentially floor area that we're allowed by right to build in this zoning code would be 3.5 times 10,000, which means we're going to have a 35,000 square foot potential building. So, simple and straightforward. That's telling us how big this building is going to be.

Objective 5.1: Apply Procedures Required for Adherence to Laws and Regulations Relating to the Project

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So the code review, it's not just that you're gonna think about what code issues are for that particular project type, so you're actually gonna document it. You're gonna create a document. Gonna call it a code review and it's gonna take a certain amount of time.

We have a site plan that says, alright, here's our borders and property lines and here's where our building is and here's some important site information about it, but we're going to start with that site plan, then we're going to move into certain other things. We're going to move into floor plans and then we're going to move into elevations and then we're going to move into sections and then we're going to move into wall sections and then we're going to move into interior elevations and then we're gonna... So there's a process that everybody sort of understands and the fact that they understand that means that, even if there would be a situation where, really the section is the cool drawing, why don't we start with the section?

Objective 5.2: Identify Steps in Maintaining Project Quality Control, and Reducing Risks and Liabilities

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So for example if you're gonna be proposing something that is very large precast concrete panels, while it's not your job to be 100% clear about how it's gonna work, it would probably make sense for you to have a pretty good idea where the crane would be in order to get those panels in place. And the reason for that is, well if you don't have a reasonably good idea where that crane would be, it may turn out that the crane doesn't work, that you would have to get out a much, much larger crane and be very, very expensive and make it prohibitive. And therefore that whole design time that you spent working on precast panels goes out the door as you go back into side cast or some other structural system.

So, when you start thinking about a work plan, there's the work, there's the reviews, there's the client work, there's contracts, all of those things have to be understood as part of the work plan. So you can't just be making a work plan that's just for the, you know, rendering and floor plans and the drawings. There's all that other sort of communication that has to be happening as well as somebody has to have set aside to make the work plan.

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Well code compliance is really gonna be focused on context and it's gonna be focused on fire safety issues, different kind of fire safety issues than the building code, but it's still fire safety nonetheless in terms of what's near other things, how close our building's to each other, that kind of thing, and it's gonna be also really sort of understanding the sort of overarching ideas of what a building needs to be in the context of the sort of the city's view of what the building needs to be, so that's really the context, how are you helping the context? The building code, right? The building issues are gonna be focused on thermal moisture protection.

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You know, with a large firm, things may happen on one project that another project may not know about so those quality management reviewers are our conduit of making sure that information is passed around, that our documents are proper and can be build-able and we don't have any errors, make sure things move forward smoothly.

Objective 5.3: Perform Quality Control Reviews of Project Documentation Throughout Life of Project

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It could be that this might be the sort of show place that instead of doing something that's cheap and easy maybe you're gonna do a big, beautiful glulam, and it becomes the idea of the building, and it becomes the way that people think about it, so there's some willingness to spend more money for that important aesthetic image, because it's the driving image, it's the leading image, or maybe not. Maybe why would we spend all that money on the gymnasium? Let's spend the money on the entrance, or let's spend the money on the theater or on the science rooms.

And so there's that line in between them that retail is going to have different sets of issues and the residential is going to have its own set of issues. So we're thinking about this from kind of a quality control, we're thinking about this from kind of tracking the information. What would be the issues that you would be most concerned about?

So you're reviewing those issues and just looking for issues as you go along, and then you're also thinking about, all right, we're now moving. By the time we're at DD, we're moving away from kind of initial basic ideas, and we're moving into real materials and real systems. So we're saying all right, do these real systems meet our needs from a sourcing standpoint, from a cost standpoint, from a fire rating standpoint?

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We're meeting as a team, as project manager, I'm meeting with our team leaders to make sure that they're on track, what information that they need to close out the next phase of design, and really reviewing the schedule and open issues with them on a weekly basis.

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And we're looking at the staffing needs against the staffing budget to make sure that you're meeting your project plan and ultimately becoming profitable. That goes with the project as a whole. You want to track the invoices coming in, and one of my roles is to be issuing invoices and following up to do the project financials.

One thing here at Hamilton Anderson that we do take part in is we'll do collaborative reviews, which is where the main team who is working on a project actually assembles a presentation and we invite other members or team members from our office who don't have any direct connection with the project and they actually sit in one big room and go over all the drawings and the design process and everyone, you know, from a designer's perspective comments on the project that's going on. So then the team that is working directly on it gets this outside perspective, and makes little changes but still meets the needs of the client. So that's one thing that I really like that we do early on to facilitate the design of a project.

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