There are two situations where an architect comes into our business. The first is when an architect approaches us before the projects start and ask us for advice. We take great pride and feel honored when an architect contacts us because they value and trust our knowledge and experience.
Architects have a tough job because they have to be an expert on many different scopes of work. They have to be more knowledgeable than the flooring contractor about flooring, they must know more about plumbing as the plumbing contractor and that is not always possible or practical. So, we consider it a badge of honor when we are approached by an architect, and they explain what their mission on a project is and asks us for some counsel. This is the best part of the process for us, because we get to try and understand, before a building is built, when it is just a drawing on a piece of paper or brainstorming through the head of a designer, we get to insert ourselves into the project and see how we can impact this project to help them accomplish their goals.
The more frequent situation that we are involved with an architect is after we’ve been invited to bid a project through a general contractor. We may get introduced to the architect before we are selected as the contractor through the “Request for Information” process, or at the time of submittals.
During the RFI process, there are different schools of thought when dealing with ambiguities and vagueness in plans and specifications. Molnar believes in going with a transparent, open and honest approach. Some firms may take a more opportunistic approach when changes are made down the road, looking at the potential financial benefits of making changes once a contract is in place. We prefer to build a stronger long-term relationship by addressing any ambiguity or vagueness that needs to be clarified, we want to clarify it before we enter into a contract. There is no sense in entering into an agreement where neither party is 100% sure what they’re supposed to do. If we see some discrepancies between the plans and the specifications, we will get introduced to the architect at that point and ask for clarification. Our goal is to maintain solid lines of communication and to be as thorough as possible.
During the time of submittals is where the architects really like their interaction with Molnar. Because if they put in their submittal portion specifications that they want their submittals to look a certain way, we respect it. We know that when an architect has to review 30 different submittal packages from 30 different scope or trade contractors for a project and they all have a different format, that will be more time consuming to review and approve for construction than if they all looked the same. If they are all formatted identically, it will be much more efficient for the architect to peruse and review the submittal packages for compliance with the bid documents. We try to respect their time and give them what they ask for, even if we think it is excessive. We give them what they ask for, so it is the least painful on their end.