The project manager who directs the construction of a building for the client, the owner, follows the realization in the rules of art of a defined sequence of steps that maximize the quality of the final work. Thus, most often, it is the architect, who is the designer of a building, who also ensures the project management and supervises all the stages of an architectural project, possibly in collaboration with a technical consulting firm, an economist or other partners, depending on the particularities of the project in question.
The architect is the only one legally entitled to carry out a design mission leading to a request for a Building Permit for buildings beyond the thresholds defined by law. Although missions that do not require the intervention of an architect may be entrusted to other professionals, the architect is the most qualified to carry out all missions, from design to construction to acceptance.
1. Feasibility of the architectural project and authorization
At the first contact, the project owner expresses his expectations to the architect who helps him to specify his needs and his program in order to carry out his architectural project in the best conditions. The architect informs the project owner about the conditions relating to the land, the construction and the functions of the building, any additional expertise to be contracted as well as the administrative procedures required. He inquires about the project owner’s budget and possibly assists with the financial arrangements. The architect describes all the services he proposes to provide, the guarantees he provides and the corresponding fees, in agreement with the client. If the client does not already have one, the architect can also assist the client in the search for a suitable plot of land.
The architect then offers his services for an initial feasibility study and the realization of a sketch that summarizes all the requests formalized jointly with the client, for a limited cost. If the project owner accepts the architect’s terms, the latter then initiates the classic sequence of steps in the realization of an architectural project.
The architect presents the results of his first feasibility study of the desired building and makes a first sketch according to the different parameters related to the land, the options of the construction envisaged by the client and his financial constraints. This initial sketch allows a first visualization of the project inserted in the site. In case of rehabilitation or renovation of an existing building, the architect also provides his technical and architectural diagnosis study to carry out the desired modification and the required works.
The architect also specifies a first estimate of the cost of the various options that meet the expectations of the client, he may possibly propose several options that emphasize one or another condition evoked by the client: minimization of construction costs, minimization of use and maintenance costs, maximization of the longevity of the construction, optimal insertion in the natural or urban environment, architectural quality, etc…
2. Detailed building design
The architect then prepares detailed plans of all levels of the building(s), elevations, facades and possibly additional perspectives that ensure a good understanding of the entire project down to its smallest details. According to the specific needs of each project, technical design offices selected by the client on the advice of the architect conduct in parallel the development of their action plan, in close collaboration with the architect for a successful integration of their expertise in the whole project.
3. Construction planning
– Implementation plans
The purpose of the execution studies is the technical realization of the project: the execution plans at the appropriate scales, the calculation notes and the specifications of use for the building site allow the execution of the work by the different contractors for the construction of the whole building.
Beyond the architectural plans, the project owner can possibly entrust the architect, assisted by technicians of the required specialties, to carry out the execution plans and detailed quantitative specifications of certain lots, in a complementary mission to the execution studies. However, the architect’s plans do not in any way replace the technical plans of the workshop, assembly and implementation during the construction site, which are always due by the contractors.
4. Selection of construction companies
The architect consults the companies capable of intervening and analyzes the offers of the contractors according to well-defined procedures. Negotiations can be conducted on behalf of the client and modifications can be made to fit within the allocated budgets.
– Consultation file of the companies – DCE
Once the design is finalized, the architect prepares a consultation file for the companies, which details all the technical and administrative characteristics of each project lot and estimates the respective budgets, so that the intervening companies can propose solid estimates. This file also specifies the framework of the intervention of the companies and their relations with the project owner and the architect.
The architect assists the project owner in the selection of the various service providers of the construction according to the criteria agreed upon with the project owner. He can suggest the services of such or such company according to past experiences and guarantees of seriousness which he has already had the proof of. Following the selection of the companies, the architect prepares the contracts for each of the companies; these companies contractually commit themselves with the client on costs and deadlines that they will have to respect.
5. The building site
The architect prepares the implementation of the building site and organizes the participation of the different specialties to ensure that the rules of the art are respected, the commitments of each one and that the plans are carried out correctly.
– The management of the building site
The project manager intervenes in the field with the various companies to ensure the proper execution of the different phases of the building construction:
– Earthworks of the ground and connection of the roads and various networks (VRD)
– Structural work: stability and solidity of the building (foundations, structure)
– Second work: waterproofing, aesthetics and comfort
The project manager leads the site meetings and prepares and distributes the minutes to all the parties concerned. The architect also supervises the payment of the intervening parties and the accomplishment of the corresponding services within the planned time.
Scheduling, coordination and management of the construction site – OPC
The analysis of the elementary tasks that make up the execution studies and the works, their sequence and the critical points of this sequence of interventions, constitute the mission of scheduling and planning, which is complementary to the project management. This one aims at carefully planning the optimal interweaving of the different interventions of the companies for a construction as fast and as cheap as possible.
6. Delivery of the building to the client
The architect controls all the work carried out and the realization of the services up to their final details. He also takes care of the general settlement of the invoices of the various service providers and balances the accounts of the building site.
The project owner must certify that the 2012 Thermal Regulations have been taken into account by means of a certificate issued upon completion of the work. Established by the architect or a qualified thermal engineer according to the characteristics of the building, this certificate ensures consistency with the certificate submitted when applying for the Building Permit and the requirement of results (bioclimatic need, primary energy consumption, summer comfort).
The architect then closes the file on the work carried out and thus confirms the conformity of the work in order to comply with the terms of the guarantee contracts. Penalties can be applied to companies that exceed the duration of their intervention.
Once all the work has been validated by the project manager and the client, they agree on the final acceptance of the building, and the complete handover of responsibility for the building(s) to the client.
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