Owner’s Selection of Architect and Contractor

Among the owner's chief concerns to ensure the successful completion of a construction project is the selection of the project's architect and general contractor. Without such key personnel in place the project would never get off the ground. Further, ensuring the quality of workmanship on the project starts with the architect's design of the plans and specifications and carries forward through the actual construction process under the auspices of the contractor.

With respect to selection of the architect, the first thing to be examined are his qualifications. The architect must have the necessary training to complete the project including an appropriate degree and license. Additionally, experience in the type of construction contemplated is important. For example, an architect who specializes in the construction of bridges and has no experience in any other field of construction would likely not be the best candidate for an owner seeking to build a shopping mall. On the other hand, the architect with several mall projects under his belt would be much better suited for the owner's purposes here. Another key component to selecting the best architect for the project is his reputation in the construction industry in general and the architectural community in particular. Further, previously satisfied clients would be a good indicator of the architect's level of skill and service.

The selection of the right general contractor for the job can greatly impact the quality of construction and adherence to the construction schedule. As a preliminary matter, the owner should investigate the contractor's license status as well as his ability to obtain the proper insurance and bonds for the project. Additionally, if incorporated, the contractor should be in good corporate standing. Once the contractor's status as “legally qualified” has been established, the owner should examine the contractor's qualifications for quality construction. As with the architect, previously satisfied clients are a good indication of the contractor's abilities. Additionally, the contractor's level of experience in the completion of relevant projects will help in the selection process. Whether the projects were completed according to schedule, on budget, and in compliance with the plans and specifications is of critical importance in the selection as these components are crucial to the successful completion of a construction project. Another area in which an owner might take interest is the contractor's safety record. If major injuries occur on many of the contractor's projects, and the contractor has a history of OSHA violations, the owner may consider another contractor with less risk of safety problems.

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