Thursday 29th March, 2018
Getting the very best from the specialists involved in your project
By Mark Dawes, Managing Director, CAD Architects.
In order to have a successful design and construction project, it is vital that the work of all the specialist consultants that are involved in the building is closely coordinated. This important service of consultant coordination can be provided by your architect, so at the outset of your project you should ask them to explain how they will manage this on your behalf.
Depending on the complexity of your building project, it could require the services of a wide range of consultants, such as civil engineers, structural engineers, geotechnical consultants, party wall surveyors, landscape architects, ecologist, environmental specialists and heritage consultants (In fact, we have our own heritage consultancy in house). Getting all these independent consultants to work in harmony and to schedule requires clear vision, excellent project management skills and outstanding powers of communication.
Consultant coordination begins at the very start of the project, at the first meetings with the client and any consultants, and it continues until the project is completed. This is necessary in order to ensure that the design meets your brief, responds to the context of the site and mitigates any potential impacts. The appointment and advice of good sub-consultants is essential in successful planning applications.
When it comes to the role of lead consultant, architects are uniquely qualified to carry out this role. Their training and experience equips them with the skills needed to bring the various parts of a complex project into a coherent whole.
Furthermore, when a planning officer or building inspector is aware that the project is properly coordinated with the correct range of sub-consultants, it gives them confidence that the approach taken will be thorough and in accordance with all the necessary statutory requirements.
At the very heart of consultant coordination is clear communication. The architect needs to manage the communications between the client and the various consultants engaged on the project. They need to ensure that any design decisions taken have been clearly instructed to the consultants. They must continually review the work in progress to ensure that it meets with the client’s brief. If any issues arise with compliance they must take the lead in identifying and resolving these. They will also ensure that as each stage in the project reaches completion, it has client sign off and approval to proceed to the next phase.
At CAD Architects, when we carry out consultant coordination, we always establish clear procedures for managing the flow of information among all the consultants involved in the project and all other key parties. We also make sure that we accurately capture all client comments and feedback and then communicate these in detail to the relevant consultants so that the appropriate actions can be taken. We hold regular project management meetings with the specialist consultants that are working on the project, giving plenty of opportunity for two-way communication and dialogue. By planning ahead in fine detail, we can anticipate any issues that may arise, recommend the appropriate action to the client, and deal with them before they become problems.
When you work with CAD Architects, you can also benefit from the large network of specialist consultants that we have built up over the last 20 years. Whatever type of project you are considering, we can recommend the best team of specialists to be involved, with the skills and expert knowledge needed to deliver the result you need. We also understand the way that these consultants work, how to communicate with them, and how to build constructive partnerships with them so that they can perform at their very best.
You can see from the above that effective consultant coordination is absolutely pivotal for delivering outstanding buildings. Done effectively, it ensures that all the talent and skill involved in your project is fully reflected in the end result. For CAD Architects, it is one of the key ways in which we add value for our clients.