The Changing Relationship Between Designer and Contractor

The Changing Relationship Between Designer and Contractor

When a costly and time-consuming problem occurs because of a design mistake, the contractor assumes his role as repairman, and attends to the matter. Several precedents are offered for contractors to consider taking a more a pro-active position.

It has been interesting to watch interior design programs showing designers and construction crews working together from the beginning of a project. The designer shares the scheme with the crew and they work out how the scheme will be accomplished. Everyone understands the design objectives, and knows how their tasks dovetail. In just a few days, the project—usually one room—is finished with client, designer, and crew pleased with the outcome.

Another instance demonstrates how the designer/contractor relationship worked during the design stage, when an intern architect requested assistance from a furniture broker to help specify furnishings for an 83,000 square foot courthouse. With the broker’s assistance, specifications were completed and design objectives remained intact. However, the furniture broker’s long experience with how things work in their industry contributed valuable information. When the broker won the bid, as a sub-contractor, the intern continued to work with them through project completion. With few mistakes, and an absence of change orders, the results exceeded expectations.

There appears to be some change in the traditional relationship between design and construction professionals. A piece, published in the “International Interior Designer’s Association” journal, takes a first-time position. In the article, “Busting the Great Construction Myth,” by Michelle Bowles, he quotes Damion Pourciau, Construction Operations Director for the Dallas Division of MAPP Construction LLC, who discusses how their relationship with architects and designers affects budgets and design details. The article quotes him as saying, “Generally speaking, general contractors have a reputation for being just builders who are unable to provide design assistance. Given the opportunity, general contractors have much to offer regarding details and best field practices.” The article’s author writes, “By not involving the construction professionals in the early planning stages, the team may experience costly mistakes on the project’s back end.”

With these examples and opinions in mind, it is possible for contractors to picture themselves in a new role. For example, by assembling a pool of contractors—with enough experience to be knowledgeable —who offer consulting services to design professionals, a far-reaching, positive result will be achieved. It may take some marketing skill, but worth the effort when mistakes could be avoided. By making themselves available during the early design phase, contractors will be poised to intervene at critical junctures, providing valuable information to design professionals.

Whether the pool of contractors offer consultation without fees, or individual contractors charge a fee, either way, an important service is rendered, and, client, design professional, and contractor stand a good chance of reaping the benefits.

This may be an idea whose time has come.

Tags: , , , ,

Leave a Reply

database management software