Should I Cut Out My Architect During Construction?


We know it’s hard to pay hourly for any professional service. You may get great value from it but you just don’t get to hold onto something.  It’s much more satisfying to shop for for the nice tile, expensive counters, faucets or similar.   Because of this, architects are often cut out at the time construction begins.

Contractors love to be “Your Guy” and tell you that they’ve got this.  That leads to problems.

We just had a great contractor, who admittedly doesn’t respect the architect’s role, run with a project, he demolished an old wall that was rotten and had dry rot. He blew off a clear note from the architect not to do so because he though he knew better. It turns out that wall was required as a condition of the building permit. The inspector stopped the job and this cost the owner months of delays as they had to get new permits for the entire project.

In another project the laws changed during construction. The city literally re-wrote the rules.  The new rules allowed the project to become much bigger and the contractor called on the architect to help them add the extra square footage to an already half built building.

While extreme, these things happen all the time.  Even small catches by occasional reviews by an architect can help protect the integrity of your project.  For example, trading out cedar siding for vinyl that “looks so real you can’t even tell” is a sales line from a vinyl salesman – and not the best material for your home.

Considering this, we asked David Locicero, a partner architect in the New Avenue network to explain his role during construction.  Here it is:

What Does An Architect Do During Construction?

Or, in other words, why should you pay for an architect’s services during construction?

Architects ensure quality AND save you money. What we do during construction consists primarily of three things: answer questions from the contractor; visit the site to observe the progress and quality of construction; and review the contractor’s invoices.

Most remodeling projects run into conditions that were unexpected. A good contractor will call the architect and ask for direction, or input of some sort. The goal in answering the questions is to maintain the integrity of the design and minimize any additional costs.

When I visit a project under construction, I am looking to see if the building progress is on schedule, and to see if the construction is being done to the quality expected and that no short cuts are being taken, and that the specified materials are being used. Basically, ensuring you are getting what you paid for.

When a client receives an invoice from the builder, I can review it to ensure that the materials billed for are on site, and that the work being billed for has been completed.

Construction Phase services protect the owner; ensuring that the schedule is adhered to, that the construction is of the appropriate quality, and that the design is executed correctly.

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