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How to be on the same page as architects

Understanding a project’s vision is key to successfully working with an architect. Managing Director Scott Clements shares the top three things he’s learned about staying on the same page as architects. Scott talks about the importance of developing a mutual sense of trust and respect with architects, and the need for open and honest communication during a project’s lifespan.

1. Open Communication

Develop a mutual sense of trust. This can take on many forms – face-to-face meetings, social events etc. It’s all about understanding each other and trying to drive the best solution.

We need to understand the project from an architect’s perspective. That’s where many engineers fall down – they don’t understand what the architect is trying to achieve, nor the time and budgetary pressures they’re under. Often, the architect is under the same or more pressure as the engineer, and are simply trying to achieve the best result for their client.

Honest communication means nothing gets lost in translation, and changes can be made quickly. This not only saves time, but saves money – money that can be used to benefit the architecture.

2. Look at the bigger picture

The engineering industry, in particular, tends to excessively focus on detail (it’s part of the job). Though these details are necessary, their importance doesn’t necessarily translate across disciplines such as architecture and construction.

Engineers need to focus on each project from a holistic perspective, so the architect and client’s vision aren’t lost in the detail. Every day I ask myself, what does the client want from the project and how can we achieve the best result?

Be inquisitive. Seek to learn more about the architect’s design intent. Visit great architecture. Take a step back and ignore the technical for a moment. Appreciate the vision. These things sound basic, but are the cornerstones of being on the same page as an architect.

3. Start working together earlier in the project

When engineers and architects work together from the very start of a project, both parties have more design flexibility.

When working in this way, architects and engineers have the opportunity to build up their understanding of how each piece of the project fits into the whole. They design it together, they become creatively invested in the project and are more accepting of changes.

If we start working together earlier and communicate honestly and quickly, we can save time, money and push the boundaries of possibility.