Working With Your Building Designer
You've found the right building designer for your project. What happens next?
This planning process is known as developing a "program" an outline of construction objectives, tailored to your specific project.
ESTABLISHING A PROGRAM AND BUDGET
A building designer will ask many questions during the initial stage of planning a new home or addition. Keep an open mind as you work together. Discussions may lead to creative design proposals which you never thought possible or , perhaps, considered beyond your construction budget.
Of course, any project must be designed to comply with applicable building codes and regulations within a given community. But ho-hum living spaces are not the result of restrictive building codes. A professional member of AIBD offers and experienced, educated eye to solving unique design dilemmas, incorporating the best applicable technologies in his or her design solutions.
Staying within an established budget can be one of the most frustrating aspects of construction. Just about everyone has heard from a friend or relative that their new home or addition cost substantially more than they first expected. Obviously, this can happen when some portion of the construction materials or labor has been underestimated, or perhaps overlooked altogether. But other times people assume an "if you're going to build it, build it right" position, and they make the decision to overspend their budget, fully aware of the extra financial burden they're assuming.
Frankly, there are so many variables involved in construction that preliminary estimates are rarely 100% accurate considering that estimates must be recalculated after each design revision. Knowing this, building designers typically establish a contingency amount for each line-item in the proposed construction budget. By doing this, the client is made aware of potential cost overruns during design development, and can render informed decisions accordingly. After budgetary decisions are finalized, a building designer can work to secure the most value from available construction dollars.
THE DESIGN PROCESS
Working with a Professional Building Designer, your dreams and ideas are transformed into a refined set of construction documents which accurately reflect the scope of the project. This step-by-step process is outlined below.
Next, a select group of potential contractors are given an opportunity to bid on your project. Each is issued a complete set of drawings, specifications and bid instructions. Unfortunately, things can get confusing from this point on.
Clients can find themselves in a sea of unintelligible jargon as each contractor attempt to woo them into their camp. And furthermore, a low bid doesn't necessarily mean a contractor is best suited to do the job. Making sense out of all this is where a Professional Building Designer can prove to be your best ally. As an experienced construction councilor, a designer's comments and recommendations will better prepare you to select the best contractor for the job.
The contractor awarded the bid is in charge of construction and accordingly, is responsible for the Work, which includes accountability for workmanship and materials. A building designer providing project administration services will observe the contractor's methods and progress and report back to his or her client.
Additionally, when the client receives a request for payment from the contractor, the building designer will be dispatched to inspect the work before a check is issued. They will certify that work has been completed as indicated on the requisition for payment; that any conditions spelled out in the contract documents relating to this particular payment have been satisfied; and that a progress payment can be released to the contractor.
ADVANCEMENT OF BUILDING DESIGN
The journey to your "dream home" can take an unfortunate wrong turn if drawings are less than thorough and specifications are left in limbo. Contractors routinely refer to construction documents to justify an action, or lack of action. Any resulting squabble can bring construction to a screeching halt while high-priced attorneys iron-out a settlement. A Professional Building Designer tries to avert such conflicts before work begins: first, by exploring design solutions with their client on paper, and then by meeting with contractors bidding on the project to answer any questions regarding a specification or drawing detail.
Be it a new home, addition or renovation, thorough planning and good design go hand in hand. The American Institute of Building Design exists for that reason. We strive to promote national unity in the design profession; to improve design educational standards and methods; and to increase public awareness of the building design profession. Why not secure the services of a qualified, experienced specialist for you next building project: a Professional Building Designer who is a member of the American Institute of Building Design.
Published by The American Institute of Building Design