You may have hope that your construction project will finish with no issues, but inevitably, there will be an unforeseen conditions or discrepancies during construction that are unexpected. For the ever budget-conscious developer, minimizing unnecessary spending on what may be the largest part of your real estate investment from ill-informed decisions becomes essential when developing a successful property.
The Importance of Construction Administration: How It Affects Your Bottom Line
Construction cost accounts for 61% of the overall ARV (actual retail value) of a home build according to the NAHB. Construction administration services provided by your architect can help you navigate construction effectively so that when changes and inspection issues occur, spending during construction remains manageable.
Your architect of record already knows the design and has the ability to produce construction sketches to your contractor and inspector throughout the process to adjust details. Utilizing construction administration can avoid costly changes to the original design and help simplify construction for the contractor, thus directly resulting in cost savings for you.
Additionally, architects can research and apply code to assist local jurisdictions in correcting judgments. Building inspectors occasionally like to have certain aspects of the building constructed to their standards. Because all code decisions are an interpretation of the International Building Code, your architect can assist in proposing beneficial code interpretations to aid in a cost effective solutions to the inspector's requests. By no means do we recommend cutting corners, but the building code can be interpreted just like the law, and having a licensed architect help discuss that law with the building inspector can be highly beneficial on your behalf.
In-Field Changes to the Plan
Existing buildings have skeletons in their closets....and walls. There are elements that can not be seen until full demolition is done to the building. After permits have been approved—and you are right in the middle of construction—you may have to make a design change to address an unforeseen condition.
In this instance, involving your design professional can ensure the design intent will be maintained, limit liability, and guarantee quality while meeting code requirements.
Minor changes in design and detailing can be mitigated by a construction sketch provided by the architect, while major changes may require a resubmission and permit amendment to the authority having jurisdiction. Major alterations that would require a resubmission of drawings may include changes in finish floor levels, alterations to building footprint, structural sizing and layout changes, occupancy revisions, and major adjustments to interior walls.
Knowing When To Pay Your Contractor
When should you pay your general contractor? Many new developers are unsure and can easily make a mistake. Generally, you should not pay your contractor until contracted work is complete. Exceptions to that rule include paying for materials that are fully secured on your site and where you have full access.
Architects can be most valuable to owners as an agent during the construction process. The architect is best suited for assisting in verifying and managing construction payments. In typical AIA documents, the architect will review G703 documents that either approve or deny contractors submission for payment based on percentage completion.
Getting a professional recommendation on when to release payment to the contractor assures safe payment of funds and that work has been completed to the approved permit drawings.
During most construction projects, special inspections should be involved according to the International Code Council. Inspections can range from rebar and concrete inspections to welding and bolting inspections. Your architect as the design professional in charge of special inspections can assist in the specification of these inspections, as well as selecting the correct engineer for such inspections. Although not all jurisdictions require these inspections, having a licensed professional help with the process will limit liability and headaches.
Hire an Architect with Construction Administration Services
Developing real estate has inherent risks involved—why leave anything to chance? Utilizing an architect's construction administration service will help limit liability, provide answers to questions when issues arise, protect the project from overzealous code officials, and guide the process pertaining to all inspections.