By Sara Runge: Not everyone is as lucky as I am. In my career, I’ve gotten to work on a multitude of industrial and commercial projects; some forever stay in the planning phase, some move forward into design, while others go all the way and get built. The built projects are the ones you see driving down the road and you think to yourself or say to your family “I designed that”, or “I worked on that”. I never get to say “I built that”, but the projects that tend to be the most successful are the ones where the designers are involved in Construction Administration, or CA for short.
CA is vital to the outcome of a project, whether it’s a building, a landscape, a park, a trail, a plaza, etc. As designers we know the intricate details of a project, which have been laboriously translated into a set of documents for the contractor to use for construction. If involved during construction in the review of submittals and providing answers to questions that arise, valuable input can be provided to the contractor. Many times issues arise that were unknown during the design process such as an underground utility that needs to be relocated, or unsuitable soils that need to be removed or mitigated. We work as a team with the construction manager, the Owner, and the contractor to provide solutions to problems based on our intimate knowledge of the project from the very beginning. Not all Owners choose to extend CA contracts to their design teams, some choose to provide CA services themselves, utilize the construction manager, or use other professionals such as engineers to provide landscape architecture CA services. However, it is my opinion that the most successful projects have representation from each area of design (civil engineering, architecture, landscape architecture, etc.) providing those services during the construction phase of the project.