As an architect, the most satisfying moment of your life is when you see the construction projects you initiated are completed successfully. Whether it is constructing a home, an apartment building, or a shopping mall, you will aim that your construction project gets completed in a timely manner and within the budget that you promised the client. However, it is easier said than done. While the end result is satisfying, the inglorious moments of prolonged work hours, unavailability of resources, cost implications, the pressure of delivering the project on time, being challenged by contractors, difficult examiners, government laws, and plans examiners, among others, can snatch the peace of mind and hamper the project.
It is where construction administration comes in handy. Successful architects and architects with a good track record care more about doing the work, and thus, they start with construction administration. Construction administration is not a new term that is coined recently. It is a phase during the course of the construction project where the architect acts as an agent or an administrator, coordinating and inspecting the contractor’s work.
Simply put, construction administration helps in determining any flaws with the project and highlighting them so that the project is not hampered at any level.
This guide will help you understand the importance of construction administration for architects and share useful insights to make an informed decision.
Construction Administration – An Overview
Construction administration is a phase that takes place after the design has been completed, the blueprints are submitted, approved by the client/local building department, and the construction is initiated.
As an architect, your job doesn’t end once you create the blueprint and get it approved by the client. You will work closely with the contractor and oversee the project to make sure it is built according to the blueprint and design documents.
The architect will conduct periodic inspections at the construction site to keep track of the project’s progression and resolve any issues or queries that the contractor, workers, or clients may have during construction. And it is not just about telling what to do, but also being open to suggestions. They may use project management and resource rescheduling tools and programs like Bridgit Solutions for managing resources, including labor and materials.
Also, you will be responsible for reviewing the samples of the construction materials to make sure that they meet the project’s quality standards and specifications.
Construction projects are versatile, and there are countless unknowns and variables that can influence the project’s final outcome. For example, suppose a particular product, like floor tiles, is unavailable or unsuitable for the project. In that case, the architect can help the client select a new product or approve the choice made by the contractor.
How Construction Administration Affects the Bottom Line?
For an average home building project, the total construction cost is about $296K. Also, the construction cost accounts for 61% of the overall actual retail value (ARV) of a home build. Thus, construction administration helps homeowners effectively manage the inspection issues and changes and the spending that occurs during construction.
As the architect already knows the design, he/she can help the contractor through the construction process to adjust the details. This helps homeowners greatly as it can avoid costly changes to the original design and simplify the construction for the contractor.
Most importantly, architects can apply and research code to assist local jurisdictions and state/province laws in correcting judgments. Since architects are well-versed with different building codes and rules, they can help homeowners and contractors adhere to the building construction standards to avoid any legal issues.
On the other hand, when remodeling a building or a home, there are elements that cannot be seen until fully demolished. There are skeletons in the walls and closets. Once the permits are approved and the remodeling begins, homeowners hire architects to oversee the process. There may be design changes to address, and with construction administration, you can ensure the design intent is maintained, guarantee the quality, and limit liability while meeting code requirements.
Construction Administration is not an Option
Architects have started to understand that construction administration is not something that they can offer as an additional service, but in fact, has become an integral part of the modern architectural process. You may spend weeks or even months preparing a design, trying to get the design finalized by the owner. But your job doesn’t end here once the design is approved.
Different Elements of Construction Administration
As an administrator, you are protecting the client, ensuring that they are getting what they signed up for, and paying for the right thing. Thus, you need to understand the different elements of construction administration to make sure that things go as planned and achieve the determined bottom line.
#1 Review Submittal Packages
One of the important aspects of construction administration is handling submittals. The submittal package is a construction document that incorporates all the information, such as building drawings, material samples, plumbing systems, etc. You will review the submittal package during the course of the construction project to ensure that the contractor is executing the design specifications as outlined.
#2 Building Code Enforcement
As an overseer, your job responsibilities include ensuring that the project follows building code requirements as per the state or county, the building follows all the necessary environmental codes, and the HVAC systems meet the minimum requirement for efficiency.
#3 Approve Change Orders
There may come a situation where a planned work requires alteration. This is known as a change order. As an architect, it is your responsibility to approve or deny any change order requests. Ensure that the owner talks to you if the contractor suggests any changes.
#4 Problem Solving
As a construction administrator, you will take over to quickly resolve any issues if any unforeseen problems arise during construction. Whether it is the budget, supplies, or construction contracts, it is your responsibility to take care of everything to make sure that the project is not delayed or halted completely.
While it is a lot of work, construction administration can help architects grow in their careers. Experienced architects use several project management and resource allocation tools to make the process a lot simpler. From understanding the lines you draw to working with multiple personalities, determining the cost implications of your design decisions, and learning from your omissions, there’s a lot you can take from the administrative role. Just ensure that everything you do adheres to the state laws and needs of the owner.