Architects manage all aspects of project design simultaneously, their own internal resources, relations with the specialty consultants, the processes that deliver service to the client, and through that service, the programs of client needs through the development process to the creation of a built environment. The requirement that architects be capable businesspersons is, therefore, far-reaching. The need for good business sense and a thorough knowledge of the architect’s own cost is reinforced by the need to manage these costs throughout the duration of the project. Allocation, commitment, and monitoring of the expenditure of resources are of critical importance to the financial success of every project. Only when these are properly managed can quality services, proper advice, appropriate design, and state-of-the-art contract documents be delivered to clients.
As a businessperson, an architect is faced with acquiring personnel, advancing those who are outstanding, and removing those who are unacceptable. The firm should keep records of business expenses, file tax returns, provide employee benefits, distribute and account for profits, and keep accurate cost records for project planning and to satisfy government requirements. The architect must meet legal requirements for practice as an individual, partnership, or corporation. In many of these areas, the architect will be assisted by experts. It is impossible for an architect to practice effectively or successfully without a thorough understanding and complete concern for the business of architecture.
Once the resources required to deliver services are assured, the architect should provide management skills to see that these services are kept timely, wellcoordinated, accurate, and closely related to the client’s needs. This is especially important for work on large projects, in large design offices, or when dealing with the architect’s employees and consultants. The best talent must be secured, appropriately organized, directed, and coordinated to see that the project receives wellintegrated and well-directed professional service.
The objective is to produce an appropriately designed facility the client needs, within budget, and on schedule. While the contractor has the front-line responsibility for budgeted construction cost and schedule, the architect’s resources and the services provided should be helpful in managing the construction process for the benefit of the client. The architect’s management of materials and technology and relationship with the client and contractors will account in good measure for the success of the project.