Architecture / June 22, 2018 / .
The contract documents set out what work must be done, and how, and under what conditions it is to be done. They identify the contractors obligations and liabilities and form the contractual agreement to do the work for the stated price or at the agreed rates. Many if not most financial problems in building originate in inadequate or unclear tender and contract documents, often culminating in disputes between the client and the contractor over what is included in the price for the work.
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.
Construction involves the production of large scale capital assets which affect not only the client, designers and constructors but also users, the public, and the environment at large. Common law regulates the rights and obligations of the contracting parties not only to each other but also their duties of care to society in general.
It is clear that the purpose of a building will have a major bearing on its cost. Housing has a very different cost range to apartments and commercial development. Likewish the cost of providing public amenities such as conference centres, theatres and sports stadia cannot be directly related to the provision of public infrastructure such as hospitals or schools. The cost of each building must be related to its individual design, which may be benchmarked against similar national and international projects.