Architecture / June 13, 2018 / Oriane
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 contractor is selected on the basis of competitive tendering on most building contracts. The price which the contractor quotes for the job is heavily influenced by both the amount and intensity of the competition expected. In an open tendering arrangement the level of the competition is at its most intense and contractors must submit highly competitive bids to have any chance of winning the contract. This usually secures a rock bottom price. With selective tendering a limited number of competent contractors are invited to tender for the job, this limited competition arrangement results in a keen price being obtained. In the case of a negotiated tender there is no explicit competition and the parties seek to agree a fair price for the work, implicit competition exists, however, as the employer can break off negotiations. If there is no competition the contractor can, in fact, name his price. The tendering arrangement is, therefore, one of the most cost significant decisions a client will make in the course of a building contract.