The focus of this blog is construction-related topics. The purpose is discussion, so please feel free to comment! See Specific thoughts for thoughts from the daily life of a specifier.

28 September 2012

How have the architect's responsibilities changed?

About a hundred years ago, when AIA produced the document that eventually would become the familiar A201, the architect was firmly in control of construction. The 1915 AIA general conditions state, in Article 9, "The Architect shall have general supervision and direction of the work….The Architect has authority to stop the work whenever, in his opinion, such stoppage may be necessary to insure the proper execution of the Contract." Article 11 required the Contractor to "give efficient supervision to the work", and Article 12 required the Contractor to "provide and pay for all materials, labor, water, tools, equipment, light and power necessary for the execution of the work."

Those basic responsibilities remained essentially the same until the 1960s. Since then, a lot has changed.

04 September 2012

Are specifiers weak in faith?

The main reason we've been doing things the same way for the past hundred fifty years, is - that we've been doing things the same way for the past hundred fifty years. It's human nature to keep what's comfortable, even though it may no longer work, or even if something better is available. I'm fairly certain the original versions of the contract documents we use, and the way we write them, made perfect sense when introduced, but is that still true?

Along the way, there have been many changes in building products, construction techniques, communication, and other technologies used in construction, perhaps the most significant being the expanding use of computers. If we were starting over today, with the current status of products, industry and government standards, and the increasing application of powerful computers, what would our construction documents look like? There would be some similarities, but I suspect they would not be what we have today.