DESIGNER COLUMNS & BLOGS / Architecture

Posted in Architecture on March 26, 2014 5:47 pm EDT

The Art of Teaming for Architects

"The farmer and the rancher can be friends" ... and both can win

When teaming, it's important to identify each company's responsibilities and the division of duties, Jerry Halcomb, FAIA, notes.


 

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TAGS: business, collaborative design,

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By Jerry L. Halcomb, FAIA

Over the years my firm has had a number of opportunities to team with other firms. Our firm specialized in planning and designing churches across America and occasionally another firm would contact us to join with them [in going] after that project. The other firm felt [that] our experience with church projects would help [in getting] selected for the project. Many times, our firm would not have known about the project or the opportunity to be considered for the project.

Also, there could be times when you know about an upcoming project, have the design expertise, but as a small- to medium-sized firm, the client may want a larger staff for the project. Especially on a large project, clients [may think] it takes a large firm, whether [that] is true or not. You always hate to share responsibilities and fees, but it is better to have some of the responsibilities and fees [than] none at all. Most of our firm’s experience with teaming has been successful, but it is good to know [and consider] the benefits and pitfalls along the way.

... there could be times when you know about an upcoming project, have the design expertise, but as a small- to medium-sized firm, the client may want a larger staff for the project.

Reasons include having the right expertise to do the project—and the ability to get the job done. When I received an invitation to join with a firm to get a project, I would let the other [know] my clear and honest expectations right up front, including:

• Are the two firms compatible?

• What is each party’s responsibility (division of duties)?

• How will the fee be split?

• Will one of the firms be prime or will it be a joint venture?

• If a joint venture, be aware [that] you will be responsible for both firms.

• Will you have an exclusive agreement?

• Can you honestly deliver (staff, schedule, etc.)?

• Have you done due diligence about the other firm (qualifications, etc.)?

• Can you gain experience with a project type you don’t now have?

There are advantages and disadvantages to consider when entering into a team project. Be careful and have fun!

 

 

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