Why is architect-led construction administration essential for a job?

We recently had the displeasure of seeing an old, trusted contractor screw up a job and be fired by our client. The irony is that the contractor introduced us to the client.

The contractor first delayed then did an incomplete, substandard framing job for the gutted two flat near Garfield Park in Chicago. Somehow the contractor submitted a payment to the bank and was paid for work he did not do or work that needs to be redone. What happened? I don’t know but we the architect were not hired to provide construction administration services. Yes, we charge $150 an hour, but that’s a small fraction of the amount of money that client has lost. The client’s bank should NEVER NEVER have approved a $30,000 payout for structural 2x4 walls that were not directly attached to the subfloor or doubled 2x4 headers that had shims between the two 2x4s. WTF?

Somehow we were not included in the discussion on whether or not the work conformed to the specfications. I assume the bank had someone involved to approve the payment  but I do not know because the client did not share the contract with me. This contractor had completed many conforming jobs before and I do not know his state of mind or what happened but I do know that he NEVER should have been paid. Adding insult to injury, he placed a lien on the building when he was terminated for cause.

The lesson is to hire an architect for 4 or 8 hours of time at milestones in construction to verify that the work is conforming and built to code. That’s around $1000. $1000 is a lot less than hiring a $500 an hour attorney to claw back $30,000 that never should have been awarded. Construction administration saves the client money and time!

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AIA Construction Administration

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