Finishing, and Finishing Well

I have worked for two decades as principal of an architectural firm, and I’ve witnessed many architectural design projects started and completed.

We appreciate every opportunity to be of service to our clients, and consistently strive to maintain high standards – of design, communication, and comprehensive nature of the construction documents.

Sometimes finishing is akin to a baserunner trotting toward home plate because another teammate has helped move his teammates forward with his contribution … whether a base hit or a home run.

On other occasions, finishing is like a runner racing toward home plate … guided by the coach’s signals … and sliding at just the right time to avoid the catcher but touch home plate.

There are almost innumerable ways to finish projects – any kind of project.

But what does it mean to “finish well”? 

Does it mean-

  • Finishing was relatively “easy”?
  • Completion was “on schedule”?
  • The final results (whether a report, a presentation, or a set of construction drawings) were thorough and well-coordinated?
  • The results encapsulated the essence of the directive given to the designers?

Based on my professional experience, 3 primary objectives are accomplished when a project is completed well.

Obviously, they are related to the 3 principal elements of an architect’s services:

  1. Program. Ensuring the client’s programmatic requirements are met.  This can involve a broad spectrum of requirements: from designing the building (or renovation) to accomplish the client’s general goals and objectives … to ensuring that specific equipment or product(s) are included.
  2. Schedule.  For commercial and institutional clients, the building design phase is a small part of the overall project schedule.  Before an architect is hired, there‘s an enormous amount of planning and communication between departments within the client’s organization … a continuum of refinement of the program, schedule, and budget.  When the architectural design is completed within the allotted time, other project milestones (not the least being the construction/renovation work) can begin as planned.
  3. Budget.  Completing the design and construction documents concurrently with ensuring the client’s budget needs can require detailed coordination of the design team and cost consultant … and parallel communication with the client’s project manager.  The ultimate goal of this portion of the process is to confirm the client’s budget or to guide the client in modifying the budget, or the schedule, or the program … to coordinate time, cost, and facilities into a comprehensive whole.

That’s our goal.  We aim for this target every time.

Sometimes our team’s batters hit a pitch and get a home run.

Sometimes our batters hit a pitch – and get a line drive. It’s a great event, but it’s not a home run.

We work to see a home run every time. 

Wishing each of you all the best,
Bruce Herrington