Owners Guide to the Design and Construction Process – part 3

Who’s Who In The Building Process

The Owner is the individual or company that has equity interest in the project. This usually means the user of the facility.

The Architect is responsible for developing the outlined program into working plans and specifications. He has the responsibility for the functional features and aesthetics of the structure. By law he must be professionally qualified and duly licensed to perform these services.

The Landscape Architect specializes in the design and preparation of working drawings and specifications for landscaping and irrigation.

Engineers are professionally qualified and licensed people who perform such services as soils, civil, structural, mechanical, electrical, and sanitary engineering. There are further specialists for some projects, such as acoustical and industrial design engineering.

Governmental agencies such as city, county, state, and sometimes federal authorities will be in the process all the way. They will review all plans and specifications for compliance with codes, regulations, ordinances, and sometimes their own personal dictums before issuing the building permit. The building inspectors will follow each phase of construction until completion. You’ll more than likely be challenged by the zoning commission, planning department, architectural review board, public works department, fire department, air pollution control board, department of building and safety, and others.

The General Contractor is a licensed individual or organization with the overall responsibility to the Owner for construction of the project. Usually in East Tennessee the general contractor subcontracts a minimum of 60% to 80% of the work to specialty contractors (JOSEPH subcontracts approximately 40% on the average.) The General Contractor’s major responsibility is to manage the flow of materials and labor, and administer preconstruction and construction process planning, organization, cost control, scheduling, and subcontractor compliance.

The Subcontractors that the general contractor contracts with must complete their portions of the construction for a stipulated cost according to plans and specifications or to a performance specification.

A Design/Build Contractor assumes full responsibility for all of the roles and procedures in the construction process, in addition to schedule and cost control. He should be a licensed general contractor, involved at the start of the building process beginning with the Owner’s concept and consulting with the Owner on the engineering and architecture process. He has an overall or “single source” responsibility for the project. This means that he contracts with and consults with all professionals involved throughout the process and establishes and manages all costs.

The organizational relationship of these various roles depends on which of the four contract methods the Owner chooses to use for his/her building construction.