Whenever people think about building structure, what always comes to mind is an architect. However, the architect’s role is only to design the building in such a way that ensures the building functions well and is aesthetically pleasing.
Someone needs to do to work for the building to be built. This is where construction companies come in. Since architects are involved in everything that is related to a building, is it possible for them to have their own construction company for their projects?
Yes, an architect can own a construction company. Architects are well-versed in materials and the construction process, making them amply qualified to be owners of construction companies.
Let’s examine in more detail to ensure you know what you’re in for if you’re an architect thinking of starting a construction company.
Construction companies and how they work in the “business”
A construction company provides the needed manpower and logistics to build a structure.
How construction companies get clients is by advertising themselves and partnering with architectural firms. As soon as the design process of a building project is finished and all the legal documents for the plans are signed, the bidding process begins.
The bidding process is the way that construction companies compete for clients. The architect releases the specifics. The specifications usually comprise quite a thick book containing details of what materials to use, what method of construction is recommended, dimensions of the building, and general utilities needed.
Construction companies compete by giving quotations based on the specifications from the architect. In almost all cases, it’s the client who will choose which construction company they want to go with.
The key to the construction business is in the connections that you have with suppliers and workers. Partnering with suppliers/workers allows construction companies to get discounted prices.
What responsibilities do construction companies have?
Here are some responsibilities that have to carried by construction companies while working on a building project:
- A construction company is responsible for ensuring that the plans of the architect are followed and constructed properly.
- The legal liabilities that are shouldered by construction companies is based on how well built the structure is.
- The construction company is liable for the materials used, the workmanship of the laborers, and the process of building the project. Faulty materials or faulty construction methods may lead to building failure. Building failure due to malpractice is a serious violation of the law.
- The construction company must ensure that the structure is built on time. There may be situations when this is not possible, especially in locations with frequent inclement weather.
What makes an architect capable of owning a construction company?
The curriculum of the entire course of architecture school tackles everything related to a building.
Architecture students are constantly learning everything about a building. This is not an exaggeration; architecture students learn about how things are built, what materials do, how buildings are constructed, the needed processes for materials during construction, etcetera. An architecture student is also familiar with the different utilities such as plumbing and electrical.
If you’re wondering how demanding an architecture degree is, feel free to read our post on “Do Architecture Students Have a Social Life”?
Architects need to learn about all the factors of the construction process because they’re the ones who design the building. They need to ensure that whatever they put on the paper can be built in the real world.
If a client were to give an architect a budget, the architect would design it in such a way that a construction company would not have to spend that many resources to build the structure.
If an architect owns a construction company, can they skip the bidding process?
You might be wondering whether architects can skip the bidding process by just recommending their own construction company to their clients on projects they’re working on.
Unless it is written down in the contract with the client, stating that the architect will also be responsible for the construction process, then no, it is considered unethical for an architect to deliberately mislead clients by offering their construction company without any other alternatives.
The entire point of the bidding process is to ensure that the building gets built in the best way possible and, at the same time, in the most economical way.
If the architect’s construction company can compete with other construction companies on price and quality, then there shouldn’t be a problem with finding clients that would be willing to use the architect’s construction company instead.
Does a construction company need to have everything?
Contrary to popular belief, a construction company does not need to have everything. It’s not uncommon to see different construction firms partnering with each other for certain parts of the construction phase.
A construction company, for example, could specialize in concrete by having its own concrete factory while another one may specialize in the installation of reinforcing bars.
Again, the entire point of the construction business is to build a structure in the best and most economical way possible. It cannot be expected that every company will be the best at everything that goes into the construction process.
For example, in a skyscraper project, there will probably be multiple construction companies coordinating with each other. One construction company may be in charge of the structural part of the building while the other may be responsible for the installations and another one for the finishes.
Do you need to hire an architect and a construction company if you wanna do a house renovation?
The answer to this question is that it depends on the scale of the renovation that you are planning for your house. You won’t need an architect if you just plan on changing some finishes or if you want to move some fixtures.
However, if you intend to completely change some parts of your house, such as an entire area, you would need an architect to work with you on this.
You need an architect because the scale of such a project would change some things that weren’t accounted for in the initial design of the house. Since the scale of the project requires you to hire an architect, it is already a given that you will also need to hire a construction company.
This may sound expensive; however, remember that the payment for both the architect and the construction company is reliant on the total cost of the project.
As a client, how should you work with a contractor?
Here are some tips to ensure that you can work better with your contractor and some ways you can better prepare for the construction phase of the project:
- Communicate with your architect.
- Be prepared to spend a bit more.
- Know what you should be paying for and what the contractor should be paying for.
- Go to the site as much as you can.
A good mindset to have is to imagine that it’s also your job to ensure that the project goes well. Contractors are competent and efficient; however, there may be times when communication can get tangled up.
It’s better that you always check on the project to see that everything is going as you envisioned it to be.
The business of building, from planning to construction, takes a lot of work across multiple fields. The art and sciences involved in the creation of a building require multiple experts to communicate with each other.
Sometimes it may be better to have a smaller team working on the project while other times, it may be the complete opposite. It really depends on the situation and the scale of the project.