The final 20% of an architect’s work

Once the design is complete, the drawings are done, and the building permit is approved the architect can go home and put his feet up, right? Not so fast! Up to this point only about 80% of our work is done and we can’t go home yet. “Services During Construction” make up the last 20% of the project. Here’s what you can expect.

Review shop drawings

Shop Drawings are submitted by equipment and component suppliers to make sure that they understand what we are asking for. It could be something like a list of door hardware, or a fabrication drawing for a steel stairway, or a catalogue page showing the options for an air handling unit. The architect and engineers review these submittals for their accuracy, to make sure it’s exactly what we wanted, and that it will properly fit into your new building. It’s a last chance to catch any mistakes before the contractor installs the component. A new building can have dozens of shop drawings that need review.

Proposed Changes & Change Orders

During construction the contractor or sub-trades may say they can’t get the exact product we specified, but can supply an alternate product which is just as good, and perhaps cheaper. It’s our job to evaluate these proposed changes based on their performance, cost, availability, and more. Sometimes there is a fair amount of additional research that needs to be done in order to make an informed decision. Once a decision is made, with the client’s approval we’ll go ahead and either reject the proposed change, or approve it as an official change. Sometimes the owner gets a credit for a less expensive option, and sometimes the alternative costs more, but it is the architects job to track these changes.

Site meetings

The architect and engineers periodically meet with the contractor on site during construction to discuss the project progress. We review the schedule. We work to avoid project delays. The construction drawings may contain discrepancies or incomplete information so we clarify any questions and supply additional information as needed. Generally we strive to make sure the contractor has the information he needs in a timely fashion so construction can proceed on schedule and on budget.

Progress reviews

Field Reviews are a legal requirement that architects and engineers must comply with. We must review construction at appropriate stages to ensure that the project is being built according to our plans and according to the Building Code. We need to be able to answer questions such as: Is there enough concrete to cover the reinforcing? Is the under-slab plumbing installed correctly before concrete is poured? Do the walls contain the correct amount of insulation before the drywall is installed? We’ll document our review so at the end we can confidently say the building is safe for occupancy.

Built as designed

The services we provide during construction are not necessarily difficult, but they can be time intensive. We represent the owner so that the building they are expecting is exactly what is delivered at the end, so they can put their feet up. For more information contact David Parker or Kelly Seminoff at


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