What does an architect do during construction?

See all articles

The architect can provide very useful support during construction, there is a break-down of possible roles

Large basement excavation underway for a Dulwich estate home construction

Construction stage

We usually act as the Contract Administrator during the construction stage. This is a very specific role linking up the client and the contractor. It is a professionally impartial role with the main aim to provide clarity as to whether the works are being carried out in accordance with the agreed scope set out in the contract. We always aim to be as proactive as we can in this role – a non-compliance spotted on site early can often be rectified much more easily than later on when the element in question is completed.

At the beginning of this stage, a pre-contract meeting is held to review contract particulars and site practicalities.

A formal contract is set up between the clients and the contractors. These contracts are industry standard documents and set out scope, cost, payment terms, roles and responsibilities, liabilities and insurances. They are written in a collaborative spirit but also set out how to terminate a contract in case the project does not progress as expected. Generally the contract provides clarity of what is expected of each party.

The Contract Administrator then performs variety of tasks such as:

  • Visiting site periodically and comment on accordance with the specifications and drawings, comment on level of quality
  • Holding regular progress meetings with contractor and client
  • Preparing notes from site visits and meetings
  • Issuing instructions to the contractor as required, logging variations and associated costs
  • Reviewing and certifying interim valuations submitted by the contractor, usually monthly
  • Completion visit (s) and preparing defects list at end of works

In parallel, we continue to act as the architect, helping out with technical and design advice on site. This can include:

  • Amending drawings and documents to include scope changes
  • Reissuing tender drawings as construction status drawings if required
  • Reviewing setting out on site with the contractor
  • Responding to contractor’s site queries
  • Review contractor design information and comment
  • Assist client with procurement of client supply items

Post completion

Most building contracts include a 1 year defects rectification period during which the contractor monitors the building and rectifies faults that occur. At the end of this period a final inspection is carried out to certify Final Completion.

It is also a period in which the building performance can be measured and compared against the design criteria set out early on. Collecting this data to see if any adjustments are required to systems, whether materials are performing well.

Read more about the design process here

Large basement excavation underway for a Dulwich estate home construction