The Modern Architect-Developer: Benefits of Owning the Entire Process
Architect-Developer Jonathan Segal shares his insights about how Architects can regain control of the building process and return to the role of ‘Master Builder’ in a video interview with The Skyline Forum.
In many cities in the late 1800s, the role of the architect encompassed the modern responsibilities of a developer including the purchase of land, strategic masterplanning and the design and build of homes, for example, which were often constructed without the specific end users in mind. The architect-developer was then also responsible for the selling properties and acquiring more land for the next development.
Today, the process for large building projects has changed. In the design/ build model, a land developer will often hire a general contractor to have the majority of control over the build, including the appointment of architects for the original design concept, architects for the delivery of a design, and the coordination of subcontractors for construction.
To regain power over the process, Segal encourages architects to readopt the responsibilities of the developer and own the construction management process.
There are new financial models available today which make it easier for architects to consider purchasing their own sites. With professional advice, the financial viability of a potential development project can be assessed and equity partners can be sought out to invest in the land purchase, design and construction.
By assuming the role of construction manager, architects can translate their design into construction information to be used directly by the builder and provide close site supervision. Removing the middleman of a general contractor can save time and cost and help to ensure that the original design is not lost in translation along the way. At Segal’s practice, “if you draw it, you build it”. In this way there are fewer opportunities for costly misunderstandings that compromise the quality of the finished product.
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