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Imagine that you hired a builder or architect for your project. Among the next things, you’ll notice is- that neither comes with an owner’s manual. So how do you get the best out of them? Yes, conversations with folks that have been through it before are valuable…AND how do they get the best out of you to assure a great experience and fantastic project? https://seconarchitect.com/i-wish-i-knew-that-before-the-project-began/

Expectations/agreements

Human nature means that we all see the same thing from multiple viewpoints. So having different understandings of the same project is inevitable-and helpful to some degree.  So, having a clear set of expectations and goals is critical on both sides. It helps both parties remain focused and proceed with purpose and direction.  The “project” is just one thing among many other duties which Owners have on their plate. WE GET THIS…So – remaining efficient and directed is our goal too.

The best tools we have found are a summary meeting and a clear well-written agreement with the goals, parameters, costs, and schedule contained in a concise contract. We worked with a well-regarded construction law firm in order to get our agreement letter reduced to 3-4 pages written in layman’s language. ( It covers about 95% of the standard AIA owner-architect agreement which runs over 18 pages and creates confusion among many). https://seconarchitect.com/do-we-need-a-construction-contract/

Answer questions promptly and clearly. Copy all affected parties (preferably in writing). 

Regular communication allows issues to be addressed promptly.  Since construction is very costly to correct it is important to answer questions quickly and document changes early in the process rather than letting issues fester which usually creates resentment, friction or passive-aggressive behavior.

Of course, routine meetings are one answer, but with the benefit of telephone and video conference calls, screen share and digital bulletin board/file sharing the simple weekly check-in is fairly painless and can avoid most misunderstandings.  ps://seconarchitect.com/contractor-mia-and-other-scheduling-mysteries/

Schedule

Get it in writing and decide in a reasonable time period.

Because construction is so intrusive, costly and disruptive- construction schedules are almost always trying to be shortened or at least contained.  So it is essential that a written is maintained.  This also holds true for keeping the flow of information flowing so the builders can also plan for their schedule.  Many owners hold up their projects with indecision or frequent changes.  Then, the contractor loses interest in the project and staffs the job accordingly- and things spiral out of control.  https://seconarchitect.com/contractor-mia-and-other-scheduling-mysteries/

Onboarding

Since many owners have not been through the construction project experience before, it is wise for Newbies to speak to others who have. Get their vibe, speak to other players in the project: builders, loan officers, building inspectors, other designers to understand their vantage point. With a sense of humor, realistic expectations and sensible planning,  it should be an enjoyable experience and produce wonderful results.

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Article by Steven Secon