Architecture / May 26, 2018 / .
The choice of the architect as lead designer is a key decision on any project and will reflect the clients priorities, particularly those related to cost and quality. Clients who plan to develop high quality or landmark developments often employ high profile design practices. Indeed internationally acclaimed architects including Daniel Liebskind, Santiago Calatrava and Dublin-born Pritzker prize-winning Kevin Roche have completed projects in Dublin in the recent past. The leading Irish architectural practices are likewise normally in high demand and clients are keen to buy into their signature. High expectations are usually linked to high prices and such clients will expect to pay a premium on prestigious projects. Nevertheless, they may not be prepared to provide total carte blanche to the architect. Architects, quite naturally, may be reluctant to drop quality standards and compromise their brand to reduce costs and it may difficult for the quantity surveyor to control costs in these circumstances. In this regard Ashworth refers to a cynic who described architecture as the design of beautiful buildings that satisfy only the architect and not the client. At the other end of the cost spectrum a client may require a practical, nononsense design to accommodate a production process. Such designs are often developed by architects operating within a design and build arrangement where providing an economic design is essential to winning the contract.
The quality of the building will express the clients ambitions for a prestigious development. This may range from a top quality building with minimal maintenance requirements where all matters relating to the design are controlled by the design team to developments such as retail or industrial process where the detailed design is not critical and can be undertaken by the contractor. It may be essential to use high quality materials in conservation projects or where planning conditions have been imposed. High standards of craftsmanship will also be required on alterations and extensions to listed or historic buildings.
The materials specified and the proposed construction details will have an important bearing on the cost of the project. The relationship of quality to cost has been commented on above, and buildings which incorporate high quality and innovative features are invariably more expensive than those which are purely functional. The choice depends on what the client is willing to pay. The materials, nevertheless, should be appropriate for their use; over-specification is wasteful.
Clients who prioritise cost over speed or who require fixed price lump sums will generally experience longer development programmes, as designs must be substantially completed before tenders can be obtained. This process may take a considerable amount of time as careful thought is required to develop and refine the scheme design. The design, in turn, influences the contractors construction methods which determine length of time taken to complete the contract on site.