Architecture / June 26, 2018 / .
Many people will choose a new home because they want to be as maintenance-free as they can. They do not want the headache or hassle of failing systems. But when you choose lesser-quality finishes in appliances, tile, flooring, roofing and windows to achieve size, these items, too, will fail sooner than a higher quality item.
The notion of quality is multidimensional and includes aspects which may be appraised subjectively. The Latham Report identified a number of quality aspects which clients may seek in a satisfactory construction project: pleasing to look at; free from defects on completion; fit for the purpose; supported by worthwhile guarantees; satisfactory durability and customer delight. Several of these aspects are inherent in the design of the project, while others relate to how successfully the contractor constructs that design on site. The designers will aim to produce an effective and attractive spatial and structural solution to the clients brief. This should provide sufficient, well planned accommodation, using appropriate materials, components, equipment, fittings and furnishings to enable the building to perform effectively and efficiently. Ideally it should generate a sense of delight amongst it users and the public at large.
The payment arrangements adopted on a contract directly affects the level of risk borne by the contractor. Where the contract is let on the basis of a drawings and specification lump sum the contractor assumes the risk for both the quantity and pricing. In lump sum contacts based on bills of quantities and remeasurement contracts the contractor assumes the risk for the pricing only. With reimbursement contracts the client assumes the risk for the quantity and pricing. The payment arrangement, therefore, directly motivates the contractors efforts to carry out the work in an efficient and economic manner. This in turn has a major impact on the final price paid by the client.
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.