I do all the time. Luckily, the vast majority of my screw ups are small and don't affect anyone else.
When you make a mistake as an architect, the ramifications can get alarming very quickly. That is why admitting to the error even before the proof lays it at your feet is the best advice you will get.
Once you take responsibility and take charge of correcting the situation, the Owner is relieved. The problem is already resolved in his mind.
We once undersized the second floor air conditioning because we didn't take into account the roof load. This was a regional airline's HQ. They wanted COOL. When we discovered the root of the problem, the only discussion was about how quickly it could be fixed. They paid the extra cost without any hesitation.
My experience is that private clients are almost always like that. They are just relieved that there is a solution and that they don't have to live with the problem or solve it themselves.
Public clients can be more interested in finger-pointing and laying blame at someone's feet. It is morre likely that you will be asked to shoulder any cost because "they have to be good stewards of the public's money". That is only fair. But the result is still the same, they focus more on the solution than the problem and are very likely to cooperate with you.
This approach doesn't fit the Fight or Flight reaction that we are hard wired for. It takes a bit of courage and character. But you will be treated completely differently than if you run for cover. You will be treated like part of the team.
orig post date May 2013