Part of an Architect’s Scope of Services usually includes Construction Administration, which is the monitoring activities and question-and-answer sessions while a project is being built by the general contractor (the builder). The owners who will move into the project are seeing their house/building/hotel etc. rise up and it is usually an exciting time for them. For me too – seeing my design come to fruition.
But not always. Architects set performance expectations through their drawings, notes, and specifications that the contractor uses to guide the construction process. These often call for smooth, blemish-free finishes, quality woodwork, “x” size grout joints, straight walls, and much more. But I don’t know any Architect that would specify this:
Poor construction bugs me to no end!!
I snapped this photo with my cellphone camera while touring an almost-completed house not too long ago. I didn’t design this project but somebody did. And I’d bet money that that Architect didn’t ask the contractor to a) install the light switches crooked – the reveal line above them in the woodwork is perfectly horizontal as it should be, b) dent and damage the wood panel by the left bank of switches where you see the funky scuffs, and c) cut holes so large in the wood panels for the junction boxes that the black switch plates cannot cover the gaps. Yep, look at the dark hole under the right switch, or the same pit at the bottom right of the left switch. Yikes!
And it bugged me to no end that this appeared to be left for some unfortunate future homeowner to either pay to have fixed or put up with forever. This home was on the market for north of $2 million! Things like these are why you shouldn’t skimp on architectural services and go it alone during construction. Your Architect will observe these things, and hold the builder to the standard evident in the documents. Meaning the builder and I discuss, probably argue for a bit, discuss some more, and then finally one of us relents and we go our separate ways.
And hopefully the next time I am on the jobsite and look at switches like these, they are re-installed level and in a new wood panel with zero gaps. Hopefully.
And this goes on throughout the construction process if things aren’t quite right. Like a friend of mine says, “Pete, and repeat.”
This post was originally written before re-branding as Eckxstudio for Modern Architecture at the end of 2017.
At Eckxstudio for Modern Architecture, we design unique and stunning projects, individually crafted for our clients’ lives. We’re passionate about listening to your needs, wants and desires as inspiration to design the dream home you’ll never want to leave.