The construction of the building isn't (normally) the Architect's responsibility - the General Contractor or Construction Manager has that role. 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.
Continuing from Part 1 with the Architect's tasks during construction...
Submittals consists of shop drawings that show how the fabricator plans to implement the Architect's drawings. There are also Product Data Sheets and Samples that will be submitted for approval. Within a week or ten days of receiving these submittals, the Architect reviews them, marks them with any deficiencies, and returns them, while retaining a copy for his records. See this article. It is common for the subcontractors to submit documents showing the way they always do things instead of the way you have specified. It gets really messy when you approve a submittal and later realize it is wrong. Attention to detail can save you time in the long run, not to mention the 'egg on your face'.
Usually once a month the constructor submits an invoice for the work completed. Nearly everyone uses the AIA forms for this or a spreadsheet formatted in the same way. This Request For Payment should show a logical breakdown of the costs of the project so that it is easy to determine if you agree that each aspect of the work is complete to the extent claimed in the pay request. You might want to visit the site to see if you agree with the breakdown. Allowing the contractors to be paid for more work than they have achieved reduces the only leverage you have for good performance - the money. If you disagree, tell the constructor to change it. Modifying it yourself, while legitimate, invariably creates accounting headaches for the parties involved. They would rather change it.
Periodic site visits and reports varies in frequency by project and also by the work in progress. For example, earthwork may take months and may be tested by the soils engineers, so a monthly visit is more than enough. Concrete work on the other hand covers any evidence of faulty work as they go and you may want to be present before every pour. I am always curious about what work is expected to be undertaken in the next two weeks in case I want to check on the way it is completed. It is normal to prepare a Field Report about your visit, which notes date, time, weather, who is present, work in progress, your observations and any instructions you may have given to the superintendent.
Requests for Information
When the constructor has a problem, a formal Request For Information may be used to get direction. The Architect needs to act on these requests as soon as possible. It is not unheard of for the Architect to be sued for delaying the construction. The direction you give must be in accordance with the construction documents. If not, a change may be required to the contract.
In Part 3, I will cover: Change Orders, punch list, Certificate of Substantial Completion, close out, and warranty inspection.
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