Texas Architect Sept/Oct 2011: Design Awards
The September/October 2011 edition featured the Texas Society of Architects’ Design Awards. Jurors – Steve Dumez, FAIA; James Russell, FAIA; and David Salmela, FAIA – gave awards to: Arthouse by LTL Architects; Brockman Hall for Physics by Kieran Timberlake; Cabin on Flathead Creek by Andersson-Wise Architects; Rainwater Court by Dick Clark Architecture (with Architecture for Humanity); Sam Houston Tollway NE Toll Plaza by RdlR Architects; Singing Bell Ranch by Max Levy Architect; Sisters’ Retreat by Mell Lawrence Architects; and five projects by Lake/Flato Architects—Arizona State University Polytechnic Campus, Armstrong Oil & Gas, Brown Residence, Cutting Horse Ranch, and Full Goods Warehouse and Il Sogno. Other articles covered Fountain Place as winner of the 25-Year Award, Texas Accessibility Standards, Houston Mod, the North Texas Sustainability Showcase, Bob Borson’s “Life of an Architect” blog. Jim Atkins and Grant Simpson outlined roles as specified in AIA contract documents.
TEXAS ARCHITECT 9 / 10 2 011 98 PRACTICE As we observed in Part I (published in the previous edition) of this two-part series, the term “the Work” in the construction contract comprises more than labor and materials. In fact, the success of a project relies heavily on the contractor’s ability to plan, coordinate, and execute the means, methods, techniques, sequences, and procedures required to put the Work in place. This is not a new concept. Ten Books on Architecture, written by Marcus Vitruvius Pollio in 30 BC for Roman Emperor Augustus, emphasizes planning as being integral to good building construction. In Part I we identified many of the components of the contractor’s Work Plan. We referred to several available resources and pointed out various indicators to look for as one administers the construction contract, including how to tell if a plan is in the works. In Part II we take the next step to examine alternatives and actions to take if there is a weak or nonexistent plan, including a look at efforts by some contractors to manipulate work scope to avoid conformance. We will conclude with a successful case study followed by suggestions for managing the risks and liabilities that so often arise when the Work is not properly planned or managed. AS INCREDIBLE AS IT MAY SEEM, there are contractors who attempt to construct a project without an identifiable or adequate Work Plan. They may be construction brokers who do not self-perform the work, or they may simply be overwhelmed by the project’s complexity due to inexpe- rience. Such circumstances almost always result in poor construction quality and project delay. One public project in Texas was of such poor quality the owner stopped the Work just short of completion, sued the contractor, and eventually razed the new building because it was found to be uninhabitable. With this public project, some tell-tell signs of the impending catas- trophe included no prior project experience documented at the time of selection (although experience was verbally represented), no licensed surveyor laying out the Work and setting grades and elevations as speci- fied, and other lingering construction problems that could not seem to find resolution. This debacle may not have been prevented since the industry tends to rely on contractor representations during interviews, but indica- tors of a weak Work Plan often arise early during the construction phase. (See sidebar on the next page for the elements of a good Work Plan.) Many owners and architects think it inconceivable that a contractor would attempt to construct a project without a complete and identifiable Work Plan. However, many contractors do not prepare and use Work Plan elements such as submittal schedules, coordination drawings, or quality- control plans, and they do not conduct pre-installation conferences or openly discuss critical planning topics in progress meetings. Moreover, The Work, Part II: Contract Obligations and Options AIA contracts are clear on contractor requirements by JAMES B. ATKINS, FAIA, AND GRANT A. SIMPSON, FAIA