For the Greater Good – Architects and Contractors Must Work Together

We are strong advocates for contractors getting fully involved with construction projects as early as possible. We can then add practical expertise to the building design being proposed and create the relationships and communication systems that will be needed to resolve issues constructively and keep the project on track.

Too many projects still work on the basis of architects turning a cusomer vision into a design that they then pass on to a contractor to create the physical structure. The compartmentalised approach – with the contractor becoming the last partner to become involved – sows the seeds of potential conflicts, disputes and delays.

We have to remember that we are on the same side – or should be. It is in everyone’s interests to have a close working relationship between architect and contractor. That way we can pre-empt potential problems, identify and resolve technical issues in advance, and ensure the project proceeds smoothly from phase to phase.

It’s not unusual for architects to believe that their design isn’t being implemented faithfully. It’s not unusual for contractors to complain that aspects of the design are impossible to build, or that the structure isn’t buildable in that particular location. The more we can do to minimise or eliminate these instances the better, surely?

When we don’t communicate or collaborate properly it costs us all time and money. It causes delays while disputes are resolved and does nothing to help the ultimate client. Relationships are critical. It’s better to start building those relationships as early as possible rather than try to do it when the pressure is on to deliver a potentially impractical design to a tight schedule.

Working closely with the contractor should help rather than hinder the ability for architects to enjoy a better working relationship with their customer. The close working partnership will also help deliver bolder architectural visions and buildings that perform better for owners and occupants. Not just a win-win, but a win-win-win.

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