Many an architectural projects around the globe are affected adversely or sometimes even stopped mid-way due to disputes which arise on a daily basis during their construction. Most of these disputes are caused due to lack in communicating intent and hence an improper knowledge about the roles and duties of an architect. The purpose of this article is to provide brief explanatory notes on the basic services that an architect must provide in any construction project.
Architect Appointment: It is the duty of the architect to put down all the negotiated details of the project along with the architectural fees down on paper for the client and provide it as a legal document to be duly signed by both the client and the architect.
Cost Estimation: Once the design is finalized the architect will provide an approximate estimate for the project according to the client’s specifications. This estimate may change as the project progresses due to market fluctuations or project delay.
Progress: It is the responsibility of the architect to keep a check on the progress of the project and inform the client from time to time. Also, if there are any changes made, the client must be informed right away.
Regulatory Body Approvals: The architect shall keep in mind all the local building byelaws while providing the design for the building and also be responsible to apply for approval. However, the architect cannot guarantee any approval because this power lies with the regulatory bodies alone.
Monitoring Construction: Once, construction starts, the architect must pay regular site visits (as per the contract) to ensure quality execution of the build. The architect also needs to confirm that the dimensions and material are as per the drawings.
Other Consultants: In case the architect has agreed to provide an overall service with all the other consultants such as structural, plumbing, electrical, landscaping etc., then the responsibility of their smooth functioning also lies with him.
Certificates Issued: It is the architect’s liability to provide completion or quality certificates at the various stages during the progress of the project for releasing various payments and obtaining permissions.
Adequately Qualified: It is the architect’s responsibility to be up to date with the regulations put down for his profession by the governing body and be registered with the same, if so required.
Apart from the responsibilities of the architect, it is also important to have knowledge about the other closely related disciplines so as to be able to distinguish everybody’s roles and duties better. The number of experts involved varies according to the size and type of project. Some of the most commonly involved teams are listed below:
Structural Engineer: A structural engineer is involved at the preliminary stages to check the site conditions and accordingly provide the structure design for the project. He will provide the sizing for all the structural elements, keeping in mind the design put forth, along with reinforcement details.
Building Contractor: Responsible for the overall build.
Landscape Consultant: He is responsible for all the soft area design in and around the building, within the premises of the project.
Plumbing Consultant: To provide proper drainage and water supply drawings in suitable places to ensure smooth functioning of the building.
Electrical Consultant: This team is responsible for providing the detailed wiring and conduit solutions for all electrical appliances and points in the building.
Lighting Consultant: A lighting consultant will provide various lighting design solutions for different areas in the building as per their use.