The vast majority of the posts that you will find here are about the designing of buildings. The goal of design, of course, isn't a design, but a building. The construction of the building isn't (normally) the Architect's responsibility - the General Contractor or Construction Manager has that role (hereafter referred to as constructor). However the Architect does have a role in seeing that what is built meets the documents that he/she has prepared, and that the Owner receives the building that he/she has paid for.
So here is an overview of the Architect's role during construction.
The Construction Administration [CA] Phase usually starts when the
constructor receives a signed contract or a Notice To Proceed [NTP]. The end of the CA Phase is often blurry, but is roughly when the Owner occupies the building. No two projects are the same, however the main tasks during this phase are described below.
As soon after the the constructor is selected as you can arrange, hold a kick-off meeting. This is referred to as the Pre-Construction Meeting. Here is a typical agenda. This is a one-time affair, but you might want to hold similar meetings just before the start of critical parts of the project to make sure everyone is on the same page, e.g. masonry, roofing. In each case the purpose of the meeting is to make sure the contractors understand what is required and expected of them.
Multiple times during construction there should be meetings to discuss progress and any issues/problems that have arisen. The tighter the schedule the more frequent these meetings should be, but they are normally held monthly, bi-weekly or weekly. The constructor is supposed to run these meetings, but it is not unheard of for the Architect or even the Owner to be in charge. The constructor often uses these meetings to remind his subcontractors of safety procedures, establish access to, and use of, the site and similar issues. The main purpose, though, is to discuss progress and what problems need to be overcome to stay on schedule. Sometimes the constructor needs 'help', and it is OK to offer advice; but be careful that you don't dictate ways and means, which are the constructor's responsibility. You could be held responsible for your directions if there are problems.
Some of the work is tested by a third party, who submits a report on the findings. You will need to review these reports promptly to determine if the work meets the specifications; and, if not, take action to have it corrected. Except for remodeling projects, the soil compaction and concrete strength are normally tested. Masonry mortar and grout, roofing, paving are often tested. The International Building Code requires 'Special Inspections' for many buildings, although the local authorities having jurisdiction often interpret this requirement in vastly different ways.
In Part 2 and Part 3 I will cover submittals, pay requests, site visits, RFIs, Change Orders, punch list, Certificate of Substantial Completion, close out, and warranty inspection.
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