• Duane C. Barney

Architect’s – Why your next project is better served with an owner’s representative


An Owner’s Representative is the operations officer of the project, there to impart their experience in construction to manage the team for maximum efficiency. Your client is the team leader and most likely you are one of the first hires of a large team that will construct the dream. Without the services of an Owners Representative a large portion of this oversight will fall on you as the first hire and trusted advisor a role you will perform mostly without compensation. If construction management is included in your agreement it is most likely for oversight of your portion of the work only and will exclude outside agreements such as site development, landscape and interior design.Added to the complexity will be the simple fact that as you are overseeing construction of your portion of the work and the contractor does not work for you nor are you a party to the contract. Two independent entities working as a team for a leader with no experience in this line of work. You can only point out issues and concerns, leaving your client in the position to resolve or disregard under their agreement with the contractor. Then, swirling around, there are outside consultants and designers in the clients employ for whom you have no oversight; all who are occupying the clients time and the impacting the project outcome such as site development, landscape and interior design.



Are you best serving your client by letting them go it alone with the rest of the project? Ask yourself, if there was one experienced person representing the owner’s interests with responsibility for management of the entire team, there to coordinate the flow of information and oversight of the entire process, how much easier would your job be? Your client is very busy and is committed to the project but as the months and years bear on they lose focus, mainly because they have a business and life to attend to. Everyone is pressing for their time with an assortment of issues they do not clearly understand. You have been there, seen it lived it; frustrating and exhausting, for you, the client, the contractor and everyone else involved.


Added to the complexity will be the simple fact that as you are overseeing construction of your portion of the work and the contractor does not work for you nor are you a party to the contract. Two independent entities working as a team for a leader with no experience in this line of work. You can only point out issues and concerns, leaving your client in the position to resolve or disregard under their agreement with the contractor. Then, swirling around, there are outside consultants and designers in the clients employ for whom you have no oversight; all who are occupying the clients time and the impacting the project outcome.


Neither, you nor your client would set out to establish your business structure in such a chaotic manner, yet we blithely proceed with multi-million-dollar projects as if they will somehow manage themselves. Everyone will work it out, but each independent party has their own business and interest to protect including you. Your role is design and to ensure the construction meets the design intent, and that typically means the building alone.


Are you best serving your client by letting them go it alone with the rest of the project? Ask yourself, if there was one experienced person representing the owner’s interests with management of the entire team, there to coordinate the flow of information and oversight of the entire process, how much easier would your job be? Your client is very busy and is committed to the project but as the months and years bear on they lose focus, mainly because they have a business and life to attend to. Everyone is pressing for their time with an assortment of issues they do not clearly understand. You have been there, seen it lived it; frustrating and exhausting, for you, the client, the contractor and everyone else involved.


Are you best serving your client by letting them go it alone with the rest of the project? Ask yourself, if there was one experienced person representing the owner’s interests with management of the entire team, there to coordinate the flow of information and oversight of the entire process, how much easier would your job be? Your client is very busy and is committed to the project but as the months and years bear on they lose focus, mainly because they have a business and life to attend to. Everyone is pressing for their time with an assortment of issues they do not clearly understand. You have been there, seen it lived it; frustrating and exhausting, for you, the client, the contractor and everyone else involved.


So, the question comes down to; are you honestly advising your client? When you see that client, with that project and you know the road ahead, give them some honest council and recommend and Owners Representative, even offer to pre- interview to sort through the right member of the team, your position will not be diminished and will most likely be enhanced with your expert advice. You will remain as the key member of the team in charge of the Project Design, the role you signed on for, your job will be easier, the client will be better served, and the project will be well managed.


Win-Win is achieved with one simple bit of advice from you.




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