Risk response & loss of relevance

Over the last 6 decades, the single most significant cause of the erosion of relevance has been the constant and ever-increasing prospect of risk. More precisely, it is our response to risk – essentially avoidance – that is the cause.

The bottom line is that clients – private and public – want certainty over project outcomes, particularly with regard to project cost and time. If designers can’t offer that certainty, clients will go to, and pay, people who do.

What control do architects have over construction cost and time?

Simple answer: More than most know. But let’s look at the two main options:

  • Procurement methods
  • Design & documentation approaches

Procurement methods

In conventionally-bid private projects, architects may be able to exercise some control over construction cost and time, but this option is not available in public projects where open bidding is mandated by law. Certainly, public authorities have tried a range of modifications to open bidding (eg selection panels, Quality-Based Selection, etc.) but none of these have really solved the problem.

Since the rise of the design-build (D/B) movement, the AIA has pursued the idea of “architect-led” D/B. There are 2  problems with this idea that limit the number of successful projects:

  • The architect has to be completely experienced in construction
  • The architect has to carry the risk

There are over two dozen construction procurement models that have been tried with varying degrees of success as far as providing time and cost certainty to the client. There is an overview of this history in the Project Management section.

Design & documentation approaches

This page is still under construction. Keep your eyeball to the hole in the site fence.

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