Technology in Architectural Practice

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The AIA Technology in Architectural Practice Knowledge Community (TAP) serves as a resource for AIA members, the profession, and the public in the deployment of computer technology in the practice of architecture. TAP leaders monitor the development of computer technology and its impact on architecture practice and the entire building life cycle, including design, construction, facility management, and retirement or reuse.


Sharing the risk and reward with a builder

  • 1.  Sharing the risk and reward with a builder

    Posted 10-10-2022 01:21 AM
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    Hi Guys, I am from Australia, and we do things differently from you, which enables the designer to mitigate risk on each project and encourages collaboration with downstream participants.

    In Australia, a tradesperson (Carpenter Plumber Electrician) must attend college One day/wk for three years out of four and then apply for a licence. A Builder or GC must spend another three years at college to qualify for their builder's license. Holding a license is a privilege, and in most cases, builders must put up collateral (Usually their home or assets) to be eligible to build a project over $15000

    I recently attended Sketchup Basecamp and got talking to several architects. I was informed that a tradesperson in the States does not attend college, and experience is solely gained on the job site. Really? This changes my outlook on the risk of designing in the US and probably explains the argument we often hear about the Builder vs. Architect squabble.

    It seems to me that many of the architects I spoke with were reluctant to put too much detail into plan sets, and many were designing the project and engaging engineers to specify simple things like stud sizes and joist sizes... OUCH, The cost to a client would be staggering, especially if the design was rejected and a redesign was required.

    I also spoke with several builders about Integrated Project Delivery contracts & I was told in no uncertain terms that a builder wouldn't sign an AIA IPD contract as the risk associated was higher than the reward. Hmm, it seems as though either A. I don't have my facts right, or B. the cost to build a custom home is outside the reach of most Americans.

    It sounds like you guys have a conundrum that needs solving. Yes, it is expensive to build Downunder, and yes, we still have disputes, but in general, the construction standard is high, and I think that is a good thing. When formal qualifications are required to be licensed to build, the associated risk is passed on once a project moves from design to construction. The tricky thing to overcome is getting a builder to bid on a project drawn by an architect. I'm told that many builders in the US now sidestep the architect and design in-house, which is not a good thing for the industry.

    Andrew Dwight
    Designer/BIM manager AAD Build
    BDM RubySketch
    Sydney Australia
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