Architects and engineers are crucial members of nearly every building project. There are very few jobs where you won’t need the ability sets from both. The division of labor between architects and engineers is a well-known and approved notion, but have you ever believed, who leads the project?
For anyone in construction, this may seem clear, but it happened to me it might not be as obvious to everybody else. So today I needed to have a little time to go over the differences between an architect and an engineer and describe why one is extremely qualified to direct the other.
It may surprise some to hear that architects are responsible for the misuse of engineering systems.
To better understand this, it’s important to reassess the education, training, and assessments required of architects and compare that to the education, training, and examinations required of engineers.
Engineers start their academic careers in overall engineering classes but shortly concentrate their education in one of several major disciplines. An engineering student can choose a major in Mechanical, Electrical, or even Civil engineering (just to list a couple ). Every one of these concentrations focuses on education on a specific group of physical properties where students specialize. After graduation, those who choose to enter the building, learn how to apply those concepts to specific building systems aligned with their engineering major. When it comes time to become a certified Professional Engineer, the examinations required by licensing boards are tailored to the engineering field. In short during an engineer’s profession, the concentration they select stays with them during their lives. I will not make a blanket statement saying that engineers do not know more than 1 discipline, but I will say that I have encountered very few who either practice or even dabble in a different.
Before I jump into the meat of the discussion, I wish to talk about an experience I had several years ago. A higher education customer was devoting their university’s central power plant. Given the significant engineering this project demanded, the Owner picked an engineer that was exceptionally proficient with the various building systems affected by the job. The firm was hired directly from the operator and set up to direct the job. The engineer realized that while the job was primarily an engineering project, many architectural elements would also be affected. Not needing any in-house architects, the firm turned into an external architect and hired them as a sub-consultant with the principal engineer at the guide.
The company I was with at the time obtained the award to supply the architectural services. I had been assigned the project and worked together with the engineer to finish this undertaking. This was the only project I worked on in which the architect did not have the lead role.
This was the single worst job experience I’ve ever had.
I’ve got a lot of friends that are engineers. My wife is just one. A number of my closest friends are engineers. This means that I have endured decades of jabs about architects and generally being the only architect in the room, I don’t have any recourse but to laugh along. The fact remains that architects do push the bounds of engineering. Often to the point of mockery. We tend to do so out of ignorance. In the end, we certainly do not understand each system of how our engineer coworkers do. For more details, Click here.
Regardless of this, there’s one thing my fellow engineers don’t fully appreciate. Without proper coordination and equilibrium between all of the engineered components, the entire project would fail to come together.
Coordination between the various construction systems is a vital part of every undertaking. If left reversed, a lack in coordination stands to wreak havoc during construction and subject the owner to change orders, additional expenses, and flaws.
On the other hand along with center design and architecture theory classes, architecture students need to attend many years of courses in structures, building systems, and construction training. When a student graduates, among the first duties (pun intended) assigned is detailing bathrooms (where all construction systems come together). When it comes time to get licensure, an architect must pass a set of examinations (seven at last count) that include building systems and structural processes. One of those projects is flats for rent Bicester and new homes Bicester.
In short, the only licensed professional in the design team that’s educated in all the major systems of a construction is the architect.
On my disastrous old-school project, the engineer did such a bad job of communicating, his own people would come to meetings frequently oblivious of the impacts that changes in a different in-house engineering field had on their work. Frequently these guys sat just across the aisle from one another.
I surely didn’t understand it at the moment, but the Owner’s mistake of selecting the engineer as the project lead doomed that project to collapse.
It looks like a reasonable assumption that on a job that is mostly about replacing building systems, the engineer would take the lead, so I don’t fault the proprietor for making that assumption.
I know what a folly that choice can be and hope I’ve helped a few of you prevent this mistake.
Now, every time I’m forced to hear another architect joke from one of my brazen engineer friends, I take solace from the fact that with no me, the various systems they are such experts in would neglect to suit their intended purpose.
I trust you now have a better understanding of the interplay between engineers and architects. Next week we’ll discuss whether it’s better to employ everyone directly or possess one subcontract.