Beyond the Drawings: Construction Administration (CA)

My previous blog post: Working with an Architect explained the design process and professional services performed by an architect.  Those services continue beyond completion of the drawing set, where the Architect performs Construction Administration (CA).

The construction process is just as important to the finished product as the initial design process.  It is the Architects’ role to assist the client in navigating the complexities of Construction; and plays an important administrative role during construction of the project.

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) sets standards for services and activities performed during construction.  These services include assisting the Client with bidding the project by way of distributing drawings to contractors and providing answers and clarifications throughout the bidding process.  

Once a Contractor is selected and construction begins, the Architect will:

-Answer questions or provide clarification as issues arise in the field; and produce additional drawings or supplemental information to support the design. 

-Perform periodic site visits to observe the work and its compliance with the construction drawings and design intent. 

-Approve or deny (after careful review with the Owner) any change orders issued by the Contractor.

-Review the project for completeness and create a punch list of any outstanding work to be completed prior to final payment.

The above doesn’t highlight every activity performed by an Architect during CA but it identifies the majority of what is done to ensure a quality house is built.  It is important to note that the Architect does not control means or methods of construction; that is solely the responsibility of the Contractor.  What the Architect is expected to do is spend time working with the contractor to ensure they understand the design intent.  Expectations for quality are communicated to those performing the work and ongoing communication ensures the work performed results in the best finished product.

Involvement by the Architect has a direct bearing on the quality of the finished product.  If not actively involved, the final result may not meet expectations.  Direct involvement ensures the Clients’ desires, Architects’ vision, and Contractors’ concerns are all addressed and coordinated to result in the successful completion of the house. 

Continue to follow my blog to learn about the phase before all phases: The Feasibility Study.