Role of The Client In Design And Construction

Above Article points out that administration of building construction is difficult, as a result of which some clients, or owners, engage a construction manager or construction program manager to act as the owner’s authorizing agent and project overseer. The reasons for the complexity of construction administration can be seen from an examination of the owner’s role before and during construction.

After the owner recognizes the need for a new building, the owner establishes project goals and determines the economic feasibility of the project. If it appears to be feasible, the owner develops a building program (list of requirements), budget, and time schedule for construction. Next, preliminary arrangements are made to finance construction. Then, the owner selects a construction program manager or an architect for design of the building. Later, a construction manager may be chosen, if desired.

The architect may seek from the owner approval of the various consultants that will be needed for design. If a site for the building has not been obtained at this stage, the architect can assist in site selection. When a suitable site has been found, the owner purchases it and arranges for surveys and subsurface explorations to provide information for locating the building, access, foundation design and construction, and landscaping. It is advisable at this stage for the owner to start developing harmonious relations with the community in which the building will be erected.

During design, the owner assists with critical design decisions; approves schematic drawings, rough cost estimates, preliminary drawings, outline specifications, preliminary cost estimates, contract documents, and final cost estimate; pays designers’ fees in instalments as design progresses; and obtains a construction loan. Then, the owner awards the general contract for construction and orders construction to start. Also, the owner takes out liability, property, and other desirable insurance.

At the start of construction, the owner arranges for construction permits. As construction proceeds, the owner’s representatives inspect the work to ensure compliance with the contract documents. Also, the owner pays contractors in accordance with the terms of the contract. Finally, the owner approves and accepts the completed project.

One variation of the preceding procedure is useful when time available for construction is short. It is called phase, or fast-track, construction. In this variation, the owner engages a construction manager and a general contractor before design has been completed, to get an early start on construction. Work then proceeds on some parts of the building while other parts are still being designed. For example, excavation and foundation construction are carried out while design of the structural framing is being finished. The structural framing is erected, while heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning, electrical, plumbing, wall, and finishing details are being developed. For tall buildings, the lower portion can be constructed while the upper part is still being designed. For large, low-rise buildings, one section can be built while another is under design. 

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