I’ve recently had more than a few clients change critical project criteria after construction documents are complete. I’m puzzled, and I’m struggling with a number of issues:
- how to help the contractor maintain proper records on site; equipment changes are being made after the building permit has been issued
- help the client understand that a seemingly “harmless substitution” for a piece of owner-provided equipment requires rework of the mechanical system for proper building functionality
- how to charge for the additional services provided without my team looking like the bad guys
There are other issues, as well, too specific to mention.
It is frustrating. I feel like Charlie Brown trying to kick the football when Lucy pulls it out of the way; “AARRGGHH!”
Anyway, I understand that my client’s perception is their reality and I embrace that and typically work well with it. I also understand that my contract does at least two things: it is based on owner-specified equipment which my team designed to incorporate and it provides a mechanism for additional services compensation. I am continuing to work through the reality of assisting my client with their project goals.
I do have a few questions for my colleagues:
- Are you seeing an increase in client changes and/or redirections which are done to “save money” at the expense of the architect’s services? If so, how are you responding?
- When your clients ask for additional work to be done, are you handling the financial implications any differently than you normally would with the current economic conditions?
- Do you have any additional observations within your practice?
—Lisa Stacholy, AIA