Getting down to detail

A thorough knowledge of procurement and contracts is essential to a successful practice. Christopher Brummitt explains.

Procurement and contracts encompasses the diverse knowledge needed by an architect in practice to successfully plan, set up, control and complete projects on site, from detailed design to completion as identified in the RIBA Plan of Work. 

This detailed knowledge is fundamental to run a practice competently and successfully, both for you and your clients.

‘In this ever more legislative environment it is essential to be able to find sources of information and knowledge quickly’

Such a broad subject requires constant information gathering and breaking it down into potential topics can help. For example: 

> Procurement and tendering methods 
> Forms of contract and sub-contract, design responsibility and third-party rights
> Claims, litigation and alternative dispute resolution methods
> Collaboration and briefing in construction and provisions for team working
> Site processes, quality monitoring, progress recording, payment and completion
> Project management  

It’s a list that practising architects will recognise and that will be part of their daily administrative workload but keeping up to date and well informed is vital. 

In this ever more legislative environment it is essential to be able to find sources of information and knowledge quickly. There are so many diverse methods of procurement, construction management and partnering: the list and the variations are bewildering. How do we find what we need?
General, in your lunch hour or in your own time.

The green overlay and BIM overlays to RIBA Plan of Work are available as free downloads from www.ribabookshops.com, for lunchtime or commute reading. 
More generally, RIBA Bookshops is replete with titles on contracts, procurement, processes and more. In particular, look at the books every architectural practice needs on http://tinyurl.com/c54e635

In the RIBA CPD Providers Network, solicitor Berrymans Lace Mawer offers a well-regarded seminar on getting paid: http://tinyurl.com/cq99ytr.
Over the next five years BIM will fundamentally change the RIBA Plan of Work, influencing procurement and contract procedures. Architects can prepare for this through CPD, identified in emerging research and development work accessed through the NBS, www.thenbs.com, and RIBA websites.  

 

Greater detail

Robert Shawyer of Silver Shemmings LLP Solicitors will deliver more seminars in the RIBA Core National Programme this autumn. His topic is contract procurement strategy and awareness. Shawyer will look at the selection criteria when considering what form of contract your client should enter into with a main contractor. Procurement techniques and how to consider tenders and deal with tender amendments will also be discussed, as will European procurement guidelines and the effect of qualitative criteria scoring. Go to www.architecture.com/cpd

 

More specialist

The RIBA Certificate in Construction Project Management has been developed by architects and is an intensive, hands-on, modular, 
part-distance-learning course. It is intended for architects and other construction industry professionals and managers who wish to consolidate their existing qualifications and experience with specific project management training. It offers a professional level of competence, personal confidence and a demonstrable level of qualification. 

The course focuses on effective techniques and procedures for meeting clients’ needs, avoiding problems and finding solutions, the culture of communication that makes this a practical possibility, and the systems and tools for the job. Details at www.johnstonmather.com.
A changing political landscape and advances in technology have brought opportunities for small practices to work in exciting new ways. 
Whether overseas or with a local community, the RIBA small practice conference Guerrilla Tactics, on Tuesday 6 and Wednesday 7 November, in association with HP, will explore these new frontiers and how to get the most out of them with good practice management. 

Following the conference on 6 November, the CPD day on 7 November will offer a range of seminars on pertinent issues in this topic. Go to www.architecture.com

 


Also 

Your local branch or region, RIBA’s CPD Provider’s Network, RIBANet and RIBA Knowledge Communities all offer free forums  to share tips and expand your knowledge, as does Constructing Excellence at www.constructingexcellence.org.uk/

Christopher Brummitt is the principal of Christopher Brummitt- Architect, a small chartered practice based in Ponteland, Newcastle upon Tyne, and is a member of the RIBA NE Regional Council and RIBA CPD Group.