Who’s Protecting the Vision?

With signs of economic recovery and housing stability surfacing more often in recent weeks, many of us in the housing market are hopeful once again. Sure, there are setbacks, but they are outnumbered by forward movement. As the situation slowly improves, architects and designers are feeling a resurgent need to take control of residential construction projects and become the master builders their professional ancestors once were.

Take, for example, Luis Jauregui, AIA, who operates a leading design/build firm based in Texas. Jauregui believes that architects must assume full responsibility for the final product. To do this, Jauregui recommends in his June 2010 editorial on page 8 of Residential Design & Build, that architects provide builders with complete sets of construction drawings so little or no room remains for interpretation and on-site design “guesswork.” Clear, complete construction drawings, Jauregui asserts, are the keys to protecting an architect’s vision.

Architects, however, must respect the roles of their builder colleagues. Jay Grant, a builder from New Jersey who also writes a column in this magazine, says that when on-site design-related issues arise, his plan of action depends on who retained whom. In these situations, he always focuses on maintaining the client’s confidence in both builder and designer. Grant writes on page 12 of this issue, “I am in practice regularly called upon to complete the vision of the client in the three-dimensional world. My ability to create a win-win-win between the client’s vision, the architect’s plan and the final product is what distinguishes me and other successful custom builders from the rest of our competition.”

It’s not necessary to choose sides on this issue, because it’s not a fight. As I see it, Luis and Jay are making the same point; the designer’s vision must be protected when possible, but ultimately, protecting that vision boils down to availability and communication. A design will be protected if its creator is available to discuss it with the builder. Only then can that vision successfully be made reality. Speaking of success . . .
. . . 2010 Design Excellence Awards

Browse through the winning projects in this year’s Design Excellence Awards starting on page 20, and be inspired by what you see. The quality level exhibited in the entries submitted this year awards was as high as ever. Take advantage of seeing all these winning projects in one place and spend a few minutes to appreciate the efforts that went into each one. I even suggest filing this issue in your ideas or inspirations file for future reference.

If business management is where you excel, remember to enter the 2010 BUSINESS Excellence Awards. Winning firms will appear in the October 2010 issue of Residential Design & Build. For more information, turn to page 18 or visit rdbmagazine.com/awards to enter.

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