Architecture / June 24, 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 site topography i.e. the natural site features, ground conditions and obstructions, existing and adjoining building, and underground and over-ground services all impact on how the building is designed and subsequently constructed. The nature of each site must be individually checked to establish potential problems. Greenfield developments cost less than brownfield sites which may incur significant demolition, site clearance and remediation costs. Heavily sloped sites require extensive stepping or cut and fill operations and such sites may be dangerous and adversely affect the working conditions and productivity of operatives and plant output. Sites with poor loadbearing capacity will require more expensive foundations while exposed or waterlogged sites will also reduce overall productivity. The cost of dealing with unforeseen ground conditions, archaeological finds and encountering uncharted buried services may be substantial and will be borne by either the client or contractor, depending on the form of contract employed.
Many construction projects involve the design and construction of a building which is tailored to meet the clients specific requirements. No two construction projects are identical - there is no such thing as the average building project. The cost of the building will depend on its particular characteristics and these are largely determined by the architect. The design options are almost limitless and the resulting costs can be difficult to forecast reliably in many cases. On the other hand, certain types of buildings such as schools have well established cost histories and are usually subject to a cost limit.
The issue of the cost of construction work is one that is rarely far from the minds of construction clients, design teams, constructors and, of course, quantity surveyors. The cost of constructing a building project is a primary concern for the vast majority of construction clients. Indeed one of the most common initial questions a client has is. What is it going to cost me? often followed closely by. can we do it any cheaper? Providing answers to such questions is a key objective of quantity surveyors, whose task it is to predict the likely cost of building work and to manage the evolving project design to ensure that the clients approved budget is not exceeded. This is a challenging task, which frequently involves one-off, unique, purpose made buildings, and the QS typically operates within a design team brought together specifically for that particular project.