Architect’s Role Prior to Construction

9m 25s

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

Instructor Mike Newman will discuss issues related to bidding and negotiation processes, support of the construction process, and evaluation of completed projects.

When you are done with this course, you will have a thorough understanding of the content covered in the ARE 5.0 Construction and Evaluation Exam including construction contract execution, construction support services, payment request processing, and project closeout. 

So for construction administration, obviously the first question we have is what is the architect's role? What is the role during the construction process for the architect to play? And you can't really have that discussion without also simultaneously thinking about what is the project delivery? So what system of delivery is the project going to be sort of put out there into the world? So is it the sort of classic design bid build where I've got the owner, the architect, and the GC. And they each have their contracts with the owner.

And then there's the consultants kind of around the architect. And there's the subs around the GC. And there's a whole series of ways that we understand the set of delivery. The owner hires the architect and they do the design. It goes through a whole series of design moments and discussions with the owner. Eventually gets to the point where there's a full finished document. That finished document then gets bid out to a number of different bidders.

And then eventually one of those bidders is chosen and that bidder becomes the GC and they go through the construction. So there's a whole series of advantages to this and some disadvantages to this idea. But clearly, the role of the architect is gonna be very different in this example than it would be under design build. In design build, I only have the two entities. So I have the owner and the GC. And that owner and GC relationship means that's there's only one phone call if anything goes wrong, which is great, but it also means I don't have all of this sort of looking over each other's shoulder.

The ability of the architect to sort of help protect the owner. The ability of the contractor to make sure the architect is doing sort of reasonable work and not making things too expensive. The ability of the architect and the general contractor to sort of get together and make sure that the owner is actually paying their bills and doing all the things they're supposed to do. So with design build, I lose a lot of that because now I just have this single pole here.

I just have the owner and GC set of relationships. So I don't have all those extra ways of thinking about and kind of watching over each other. But equally, just in terms of the scheduling, the way the schedule is going to work is that you hire a design builder. A dollar amount is sort of agreed upon fairly early. And then the rest of that time, during that whole design and construction phase is now all internal in discussion because the program and the dollar amount has been established very, very early.

Remember, design bid build, we had that whole big long period to work out the program and make sure that the program and the design actually made sense to work with each other. But in the design build example, we've done all that very early and now all the rest of that work is happening internally to the design builder. So clearly, I'm gonna have a very different set of responsibilities and roles in a design build scenario if I'm the architect than if I'm in a design bid build scenario.

In design bid build, we have this very sort of understood set of relationships. Very contractually clear. The architect's design intent has been developed all the way up through that design process and is now handed over to the GC after a bidding process. And so during that design process, the architect is kind of responsible for the project, if you will.

But then during the construction process, now the GC is responsible. And so the architect's role is a support role. It's there to help keep the project moving forward. It's there to make sure that the general contractor has enough information. But equally, it's also there, the architect is also there in order to sort of be the eyes and ears of the client, of the owner. So that you are there to respond back to the owner, to help the owner understand what's happening, to give them an idea about is the project as far along as the contractor says it is.

So they're asking for 50% payment. Are they 50% done? All those sort of difficult to understand things for an owner, you're there to help them understand those things. So you have this very specific role of being the eyes and ears of the owner. At the same time, you have this other role to be a support for the general contractor to get them all the information they need, to help with the paper work, the substantial completion and all the pay outs and all of those things.

So you have this sort of bifurcated role. With the design build, all that is internal. And so you do not have the ability to be looking out for the owner. Doesn't really make sense in that same way. So all of those aspects of being an agent for the owner under design build just don't show up. So you are not part of the owner's team when you're talking about design build. The architect does not play the role of being the eyes and ears of the owner in the construction process.

Instead, they're actually on the team of, they're not giving support to, but they're on the team of the general contractor. And so it's a very different set of relationships and a very different set, obviously, of roles to play by the architect. Similarly, when we're talking about CM, a construction manager project delivery, that's where the owner has the process going. They hire you as the architect, but they also hire the CM.

And then as you go along, you do an initial design. You get to a certain point, at which point the CM puts a dollar amount onto it. So it's really useful, cause that means we get that very early information about how much things are gonna cost, what the likely sort of back and forth in terms of scheduling. You get all that juicy information early in the design process. But it also means that they kind of take over the project, if you will.

So you're still doing the drawings. You're still going through the process of schematic design, design development, all of that. But you're now doing it off of the instructions of the CM. The CM is now telling you we want to meet the dollar amount at this point, so therefore we're gonna do these changes to the project because the ones that you have in there are gonna be too expensive or whatever it is. So you're using the information from the construction manager as a way to sort of guide the design process.

So it's very similar to design bid build except that we have all this information and this other player, the CM, is in there, in the mix as part of all those different discussions. So that by the time we get to the sort of end of that design process where we've got a perm set and doing all of those kinds of elements, now the CM is going to take it over and start getting all of the individual subcontracts to be able to build this project out.

So the CM is sort of on the owner's team. So you have essentially an owner with a CM. And those together are going to hire the architect. So there's a team that puts the construction manager and the owner together. And then they have a relationship with the architect. And then there's a lot of different ways that the CM can roll forward. Can either get their own subs. It can hire a GC. There's a bunch of different possibilities and a lot of different ways that that can work.

But essentially, they're brought in early. They give you all those benefits. But then they also have control of the project, so it's a different set of relationships during that design process for the architect. So in that situation, once we get into construction, the role of the architect is fairly similar to the role of the architect in design bid build. It's just that it's not quite as adversarial in a way because it's not set up as an adversarial relationship. So you'd still be providing support.

You'd still be answering RFIs. You'd still be being part of making sure that the pay outs are happening in a logical process and substantial completion and all of that. But a lot of the normal roles that the architect would play would actually be taken over by the construction manager. So certain roles would stay the same. Other roles would become quite different. So you see that very quickly, as soon as you start talking about project delivery, everybody's idea about what the role of the architect is starts switching around.

And as we start getting into some of these other ones like fast track, multiple prime, integrated project delivery, each of those will all have their own ways that they impact the role of the architect. In all of them, the role will be partially just to help make sure the project gets built and gets built correctly. That's really the main role of the architect during the construction phase is you just try to help the process. And you're trying to keep everybody informed. But the manner in which you do that is going to be different in each of these different project delivery systems.

So the specifics of the role, all those little bits of RFIs and all those little things, field communications and all that kind of stuff, that's all gonna be the same no matter what you're doing. But how it plays out contractually and who sees it and who you're sending that information to, that will change for each different project delivery system.

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From the course:
ARE 5.0 Construction & Evaluation Exam Prep

Duration: 11h

Author: Mike Newman