Evaluating the Construction - Consider

8m 37s

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. 

We were just talking about means and methods, and design intent, the GC's role, and the architect's role. Let's consider this for a moment. "Wait a minute. "Are you saying the architect does not have any say "in the methods of construction for a project? "Does that actually make any sense?" Like, clearly, you have quite a bit to say about the methods of construction of a project. You're gonna have on your drawing sets, well, how the concrete's gonna work and what kind of formwork to use for that concrete and the spacing on the rebar and how you're gonna put in the anchor bolt in, at every six feet, in order to put the sill plate on and what the method of doing the construction for the walls up above, and like all of those things, the things that you're drawing and those are clearly construction means and methods.

So, what are we talking about here? How do we start to get this bright line separation. Well, that bright line separation, I think the easiest way to think about it, specifically with design bid build, is this idea that the timeline of the project speaks to the issue.

So, if we are the architects and we're going along through schematic design, design development, then maybe we'd get through CD sets. So we've got a bunch of different phases. We've been working with the owner. We get to bidding. And then eventually, now, finally a contractor is chosen and that contractor takes over the construction process. And up until this point, up until that moment, all of those issues about the materiality, the sequencing, all those means and methods issues, they're all still conceptual.

They're all still on paper. There's nothing ... There's no reality to them other than they're contractual in a way, but there's no other kind of physicality. Probably a better term, there's no physicality to them. So the architect is kind of in control at those stages, but there's also no general contractor, that could be in control at that point.

At this point, we now have the GC and this is the point where everything moves from that conceptual into that physical. And so, at this point, even though you've been talking about those means and methods issues, at this point, there's going to be a big change and now, that's all in the general contractor's purview and it's not in your purview. Now, you still have a role in the discussion. You're still there to be able to help the general contractor understand what the issues are.

You still have your structural engineers, your mechanical engineers, your other consultants, as part of the discussion, and so, people are checking back with them to get the the correct measurements or the number of bolts or whatever it happens to be, but they are now responsible. It's now in their control and they are asking for that additional information. So you're supplying the information when asked but they are in control.

So, even though you do actually have quite a bit to do with means and methods, there's that moment in the sand, that line in the sand, where you just say, "All right. "We now have a general contractor. "Our role in that is done," and it was never anything other than an idea, a conceptualization of what the means and methods should be. Their role has always been all about the actualization of those means and methods. So your role always was its means and methods but it's always been a conceptualization of them.

Their role is always a actualization of the physicality of the project. So, this can get a little confusing and you could imagine on the exam that you will get a question, in fact, I can almost guarantee you'll get a question about the idea of means and methods. I have no idea what form that question would take, but there'll be something on the exam that says, "All right. "Here's a situation.

"You walk onto a job site, certain things are happening, "and you want to say this, but you shouldn't "because that would be means and methods now "and so you shouldn't be taking that responsibility on." There's gonna be a question like that where all of the answers will sound completely reasonable unless you start to think about this diagram. So, from here, it's a concept. And from here, it's actual.

And if you can kind of imagine that moment, that split, when the architect's ideas about the means and methods, the how this thing is actually gonna get produced, when those go from being an idea, a concept, to being an actual thing, a natural process, that's that moment when it's no longer the architect's role, it's now the general contractor's role. So we're kind of overemphasizing this because it's a clear issue. It's an easy one to ask questions about and it's something you should feel very comfortable about.

It's also a huge issue out in the field. Architects are constantly saying things on the job site that they really shouldn't be saying. That's not their responsibility. And so, once they're saying those things, either just verbally out in the field to a plumber saying, "Hey, stop." Well, as soon as you say, "Hey, stop," you're now talking about the schedule. You have now taken over responsibility for the schedule. Now that doesn't mean that everything's gonna suddenly stop and everybody's gonna look to you to say, "Well, should I start pouring the paint out of the can?" Like, they're not gonna do it like that.

We're really talking about just controlling the litigation problems down the road, keeping it clear contractually. The only people who should be able to say stop on a job site are the general contractor and the owner. The owner can say stop because it's the owner. They own the project. They have all kinds of rights in that process. Now, there might be certain aspects to how they say stop that are contractually organized, but they have the ability to say stop and the general contractor has the ability to say stop, but you, as the architect, do not have the ability to say stop without having larger ramifications than you should really be willing to live with.

Now that doesn't mean you can't say, "Wait a minute. Something's not right here. "Let's get the general over here, "get the GC over," and have a conversation. That's a reasonable thing. It may totally be a reasonable moment where you can talk with the general contractor and they have a conversation with the plumber.

Everybody realizes, "Oh, a mistake has been made" or it may be that the general contractor actually has more information than you do. You may be saying, "Stop, you're putting the toilet in the wrong location," but in fact, they may have had a conversation that morning with the owner who said, "I never liked that part of the design. "Move the toilet over two feet." And so, you're thinking that you have all of the information but in fact, the general contractor may actually have more up-to-date information.

Remember that they're in control of that actualization. That's a totally reasonable thing that the owner might be able to say to them. They may just be standing there and realize they just don't like the spacing. And so, they're telling the general contractor to make a change. They would have to honor that, but then you would be then telling the plumber, "No, stop." Really? Like, you don't have the full information. That's why they want you to be together in those meetings. That's why that sort of documentation of the process become so important because there's so much information out there.

It's very hard for anyone of the different players to have all the information at their fingertips. So that's why the idea of the repetitive meetings, the weekly meetings or the monthly meetings, that's why everybody wants to have very clear logs of questions and answers, have very clear logs of submittals of shop drawings and product placements, and all of those different things that you wanna keep the organization of the information as clear as possible because there are so many moments where things change and you don't want to accidentally take over something like the schedule, something like the sequencing of methods of construction.

Any of those things are the contractor's job, not your job. So, like I said, okay to have a conversation about it, okay to be part of the discussion. They may even ask your advice and that's completely reasonable and you can give your advice in those issues as long as you are not telling somebody how to do the means and methods on the job site.

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From the course:
ARE 5.0 Construction & Evaluation Exam Prep

Duration: 11h

Author: Mike Newman