Pay the Architects to Do It Right

I was not so convinced by the case for building commissioning as I expected to be when I began reading the article in


Vol. 9, No. 2.

While I, too, am concerned at the high level of preventable building failure, my instinct is rather to increase the professional design fee and the scope of work that we expect building designers to perform. This, rather than to tolerate the downward pressure on professional design fees and remedy the problem by adding yet another consultant to the already complex mix of professionals involved in the building procurement process. You quote J. David Odom as saying the “construction industry just doesn’t have the resources to deal with the complexities of modern buildings.” If that’s true (and I don’t believe it is), then building commissioning won’t change it because building commissioners must consider themselves a part of this industry rather than apart from it. Better, more durable buildings are produced by integrated design teams —not by further fractionation.

As an architect, I am wide open to the charge that I am simply trying to preserve traditional “turf” on the one hand, and that I am defending a professional cast that has dropped the ball of serious engagement in building design performance. There is a degree of truth to such charges, but not so much that I accept the independent building commissioner route as the most intelligent course of action for creating better buildings. Rather I think that building designers must be charged with delivering the standard of care that your article describes, and that those capable and experienced building commissioners be integrated into this design process as an integral part of design teams, and not as a caste of independent watchdogs.

Bruce Coldham, Architect

Amherst, Massachusetts

Published March 1, 2000

(2000, March 1). Pay the Architects to Do It Right. Retrieved from https://www.buildinggreen.com/op-ed/pay-architects-do-it-right

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