Hughes Associates Architects adds a little “Witt”

January 27, 2009

Hughes Associates Architects, an architectural and civil engineering design firm has joined in collaboration with the Architectural Division of MarshWitt Associates, P.C.  under the Hughes Associates banner.

Hughes Associates specializes in architecture and civil engineering design projects for religious assembly, retail, commercial, elderly and healthcare and high-end residential private clients. Donald Witt of MarshWitt Associates specializes in architectural projects for state, municipal and government agencies. This collaboration will ensure that Hughes Associates has the best of both worlds when it comes to architectural and civil engineering projects.

A bit of irony is that Hughes Associates Architects will be celebrating a 25 year anniversary this year and MarshWitt Associates is closing on their 25th year in business.

From Time to Time

May 30, 2008

A newsletter from Dick Hughes to communicate various issues relating to the practice of Architecture and Engineering.

In recent years what we as Architects have long considered our normal and prudent "Quality Control" procedures have been adapted by the building codes and termed "Special Inspections". Although these Special Inspections do not materially differ from the Quality Control procedures formerly specified by this office, the "what" and "how to" are now more specific.

The Code requires that the registered design professional in charge of the project prepare the building permit applicant's statement of Special Inspection requirements. The Code further states that the special inspectors shall be employed by the owner, or the registered design professional in responsible charge acting as the owner's agent. No longer can the contractor provide the testing services. There are some exceptions to the requirement for Special Inspections; however, most projects requiring our services will also require these inspections. Some jurisdictions are not enforcing the building permit requirement relative the applicant's statement and the furnishing of reports to the building official. The fact that these jurisdictions do not specifically follow the code does not relieve the applicant, or us, from the requirements.

Procedures relative to preparation of construction documents and contracts as well as construction administration procedures have certainly been impacted by these requirements. We are also discovering that the newly defined accountability for the testing agencies has substantially increased the cost of the services to the owner. There are reportedly cases where the Special Testing has exceeded the cost of the structural design (which I suspect to be the lack of control over the testing agency).

We as responsible design professionals must be familiar with all aspects relating to this issue, adequately inform the owners and insure that we are in control of the Special Inspections and the agencies providing these inspections.

Our procedure for this is first to make certain there is funding for the Special inspections by having an owner/architect controlled allowance in the Contract for testing and inspections. Second, we make sure that the testing/inspection agencies are employed and are in attendance at the pre-construction conference with the owner where we thoroughly review expectations and requirements. Third, all invoicing comes to the owner in care the Architect and is directed to the design professional (i.e. project manager) personally in charge. It is then reviewed and sent to the contractor and copied to the owner. Payment is then made by the contractor from the owner's allowance.

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