Klyftan mellan byggare och arkitekt : markentreprenören och landskapsarkitekten
Abstract: In my work I have received a lot of concrete advice about improving the cooperation between landscape architects and contractors. Here is a list of suggestions from both cathegories: Landscape architect's advice: • Be humble, show respect. • A practical approach makes cooperation easier. • Call together a startup meeting with all the consultants and builders. • Establish a network of contacts with serious contractors whom you can recommend to customers. • Don't hesitate to ask the contractor for advice; they often have lots of useful knowledge. • It is important to have clearly written and thoroughly worked out documentation. • Never let a newly graduated landscape architect visit the buiding site without the company of an experienced colleague. The culture clash may otherwise make prejudice and myths worse. Contractor's advice: • Approach each other with an open mind and no prestige. • Meet with the architect at the start of contruction work, to look over the project together. • It is good if our viewpoints are considered at an early stage. • Meet regularly on site to share experiences. • Improve coordination between architect's and constructor's paperwork. As you can see, some advice is identical from both cathegories, e.g. meeting at the start of a project. They also agree on the need to provide more occasions for meeting and sharing information. The only person who can make this happen is the customer. Society tends toward increasing specialization and a narrowed scope for each profession. This increases the need for coordination and cooperation in construction projects. The customer plays an important part, actually the decisive part, in bringing contractor and architect together. The customer controls the money and has the power to change traditional work patterns. For example, he can try an unconventional project organization with contractor and architect working together. But this does not relieve the landscape architect and the building contractor of their responsibilities. Landscape architects have vast opportunities to grab control over the construction process and demand influence over other areas than the traditional role as project designer. It is also thinkable that architects and contractors can join forces in order to influence the customer to provide a wider contact area between the two professions. In my opinion there is much to gain from having a corps of landscape architects who work closely with the contractors. I have previously mentioned knowledge feedback in different building projects. Which parts of the drawings actually worked? What did not work? Getting feedback on one's project design work, whether positive or negative, is immensely important in order to shape successful and skilled landscape architects. And of course this can also be measured in money. It's expensive to correct errors in the plans, once the construction work has started. If the contractor understands the ideas underlying the project, and the landscape architect's vision, he may understand the reasons for "weird" or unconventional solutions, and make an effort to realize them well. Architects are often innovative and creative, which is not always popular with contractors. The best way to bust myths is to confront reality and examine their veracity. When the landscape architect or the contractor "gets a face", it becomes much more difficult to keep any negative prejudice about them. Cooperating landscape architects and contractors will very probably lead to better constructions – at a lower cost. It may seem self-evident that landscape architect and contractor need to show each other respect. Many of the landscape architects who have responded to the questionnaire think that what is needed för a good cooperation is mutual respect for each other's professional knowledge, together with open mindedness and an ability to listen. Understanding, dialogue and trust are other words on the same theme. Contractors talk about "an open and prestigeless attitude to each other" and "that both can give and take". All this is important in order to acheive the best possible cooperation. The landscape architect and the contractor should regard each other as co-workers, not counter-workers.
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