Communicate Early and Often // Meredith Stoll
These words are uttered far too often within the KSU Design+Make Studio. As projects have arisen and some have disappeared, we, as a studio, have gained a vast amount of knowledge about project coordination. Specifically within the Alma pavilion project we have encountered many unexpected obstacles, such as material specifications and poor time planning. Not all of these problems could have been avoided, but I am sure that some of them could have been with proper communication between all team members.
Granted, this is our first time developing a project of this nature, we have a natural learning curve in order to produce a sustainable project. As the current project coordinator for the Alma pavilion I have seen how communication can make or break a project timeline. One of the first tasks that I undertook was simply creating a schedule of all the deadlines. Now with few weeks left of the project I look back and see how the timeline was advanced and pushed back, purely from a communication standpoint.
One example of where communication was lacking was when we were pouring concrete on site. The pouring of our concrete on site went smoothly besides one factor that we were unaware of when we were in communication with our contractor. We had been under the assumption that he was providing the concrete and a couple days before we were scheduled to pour, we were told that we had to order the concrete ourselves from an outside provider. This was a miscommunication between us and the contractor. Eventually everything worked out, but as somewhat inexperienced workers, we failed to ask that simple question, which put us a day behind in pouring the concrete.
As fifth year architecture students, most of us have done some work in an architectural setting and have realized that the degree to which communication plays a role is vital. As we have worked through several projects this year as a studio we can see how communication is key when obtaining clients or projects. How an architect interacts with clients and communicates their design can be crucial to the success of the business and/or the project. Day to day relations between team members and contractors can be essential to the progression of the project. If deadlines are missed and the timeline of a project shifts, it can lead to the client being unhappy and can reflect poorly on the firm. Needless to say communication skills may be the most important in an architect’s realm.
Only a few weeks till graduation and as our reality of working in the architectural profession nears, we need to realize that the days of testing our skills are over. Once deployed into an architecture firm, real clients, real money become really real! Time is money and any error or missed deadline costs the client, the firm and ultimately you. So remember the timely advice of: communicate early and often!
Written by Meredith Stoll