It is 4:29 am, and I could not stop thinking (since yesterday) about writing this post.
There are very obvious differences between the two minds that must come together, as seamlessly as possible, to make a building happen efficiently.
The Architect (the ‘creative mind’) could learn a thing or two from the Contractor (the ‘practical mind’), and vice-versa (though that post is for another day), ultimately to run a more effective practice (or project) :
1. Think Money, not Time.
Architects seem to have a single daily resource focus : time. Contractors, in the other hand, focus every day on at least two separate though equally important resources : time & money.
There is nothing wrong with thinking of time, except we all tend to forget that “time is money”
Architects tend to function trying to beat a clock, their deadlines, continuously inflating their work within that time… therefore minimizing significantly their yet-to-be-received or reserve money resource. Contractors, unlike Architects, are keenly and constantly aware of their yet-to-be-received or reserve money resource, and continuously make stride to minimize their use of the time resource, which in turn inflates their money resource (and not their work).
So, think more like a Contractor, and run your practice (or project) with both resources in mind, or even better… think Money, not Time. You might find yourself probably being more efficient, and potentially pocketing some of that cash or buying that new printer you always wanted.
2. Think Building, not Design.
The design phase… to some a very abstract idea. And, what is design?
Architects all know it is the process of conceptualizing and developing better spaces, to be included in the project. At times this is a difficult pill to swallow for people. They cannot grasp why this may be a valid (or valuable) process.
Architects should think of their work more as Contractors think “Pre-Construction”… what I mean by that is stop thinking about the “conceptualizing of a better environment” and start thinking of the tools for a better building.
Thinking of the end product will help you regain control of the value of your own work, and the profession. Of course, design should always be inclusive… but that is a given for any good architect.
Still, remember to Think Building, not Design.
3. Think Owner, not Building.
The last and crucial piece.
Architects focus so much on the design (not even the building – see #2), that they may loose grip of the client and reasons why there is a project in the first place. It may not seem so as you read this but think back… Most Architects, as you may have once or twice, see Owner meetings as tedious work and designing as the fun work.
What if Architects could shift their train of thought : Owner meetings are fun, and designing is just the project’s requirement?
By doing this, Architects could better hold on to the “Business” that is Architecture, like Contractors have held on to the business of building. Regain the ability to deliver a tangible valuable asset to the Owner, while being profitable, effective and efficient through this delivery process… Think Owner, not Building.