Learning to work with designers is both challenging and beneficial to your business. The keys to success may be hidden but can open doors of opportunity to builders willing to nurture the relationship.
Design is usually considered to be a right-brain function - the creative side of the brain. However, construction documents need accurate details and organized information; characteristics more common to left-brain function - the analytic side. I can’t deny that some designers possess adequate amounts of both characteristics, but a look at many of the best creative professions reveals this is not usually the case. As a builder given the choice, I choose the one-sided, right-brain, creative designer.
The motivation of this article comes in response to recent negative comments directed toward residential designers, accused of producing less than adequate construction drawings. Since I prefer creative designers, I realize there may be limitations to the documents I receive.
Construction drawings are part of an entire package of information that I use to manage my projects. Additionally, I need contracts, specifications, scopes of work and a construction schedule. I’m extremely good at managing projects my way, hence I like to control all of the information and keep it organized using our typical routines and procedures.
The quality of construction drawings that we’ve worked with over the years have been as varied as the designs themselves. Sometimes we get what we pay for, which may be not much or perhaps more than we need. Keep in mind that great designers may not have a strong aptitude for creating working drawings and this is fine with me.
I want to be the one responsible to ensuring that all of the documents I use have the information that my team needs to perform their duties to the best of their abilities. I need documents that are thorough, complete and accurate, and anticipate the needs of everyone that will be using them. How can I possibly expect an architect or designer or any third party to provide that unless I’ve done a good job of first describing everything I need.
Additional articles will address more thoughts and ideas for working with architects and designers. - Keith Groninger