A construction manager is required to liaise effectively with many different people involved in a build across each working day including clients, contractors, builders, local government and architects.
Architects design buildings and draw up detailed plans to assist with construction of a building. As a construction manager, you will work closely with the client’s architect, or team of architects, liaising with them before the project begins, as well as throughout the building process.
When it comes to working with architects, communication is paramount to developing an effective off-site and on-site relationship. For a successful project outcome, all parties must communicate openly and quickly with each other. The client, construction manager, architect and any other stakeholders involved need to be committed to open and result-orientated communication.
Therefore, good project planning and project management are essential. Developing a clear plan and delegating tasks upfront means every stakeholder knows what needs to be done and gives the construction project the best chance of success.
When working with an architect, there will usually be an initial meeting to set expectations about the project and discuss the client’s needs and wants.
Firstly, it is up to the client to decide the overall scope of the building project and desired result, based on their requirements.
From here, the role of the architect is to design a build which is in-line with these needs. The construction manager will frequently be working with the architect, as well as the client, builders and contractors to make plans come to life.
For a successful project to be achieved, it is important that any expectations are realistic. Establish a time-frame which is achievable by all parties, taking into consideration all the tasks and processes which need to be carried out. As mentioned above, these should be communicated clearly to all involved.
Using professional knowledge and experience, the construction manager may advise the client or architect in areas such as:
- Permits required
- Feasibility of the build
- Time-frame expectations
- Types of contractors required
- Costings and budget information
When working with any stakeholder on a large project, it is inevitable that issues will arise. If challenges are handled in the right way, they can strengthen the working relationship. However, if small issues aren’t handled well and promptly, then they have the potential to create more problems and lengthen the time frame needed to complete the build.
When dealing with issues, it is important to do so professionally using these tips:
- Raise any concerns as soon as possible
- Speak openly with all parties involved
- Arrive at a conclusion which is fair for everyone
- Always stay calm and respectful
- Seek mediation from a neutral third party, if required
Managing the Customer to Architect Relationship
The customer-to-architect relationship is an important one as there needs to be trust established by both parties. Your customer wants the best build possible, and it’s your job to be the middleman who liaises between the architect and client.
The client and architect will also meet directly, particularly at the start of the project. However, it isn’t always possible for them to liaise frequently throughout the build due to time or location restraints.
As a caring and committed construction manager, it is your responsibility to effectively communicate between the client and architect to ensure that the needs of your client are being met and that the architect is supported by the construction team.
Working with architects is one of the many important relationships you’ll come across during your exciting and rewarding career as a construction manager. With the right skills and effective communication, you will be highly regarded and respected in your field.