As his FSB colleagues finalize their designs on a project, Wes Brannon’s work is just beginning. In his role as a contract construction administrator, Brannon is the voice of the architects and engineers at FSB, once drawings are handed over to the construction team to translate them from the page into the real world.
“You can put a window in many different ways,” Brannon said. “Clients want someone there who can have some judgment on whether the work performed meets the intent of the design. We keep the contractor from taking shortcuts or overlooking steps to make certain the Owner gets the quality product they are paying for.”
Not every project needs enhanced construction administration. The more complex a project is, the more clients benefit from the presence of an experienced construction administrator on the job. Brannon has more than 30 years of experience. He is one of three full-time construction administrators at FSB, each with backgrounds in either architecture or engineering. FSB construction administrators solve a lot of problems in the field and know when to call and which expert or discipline to involve when something doesn’t look right.
“Buildings are getting smarter and smarter, and that makes the construction process more complex,” Brannon said. “Even homeowners are controlling their thermostats from an iPhone. Multiply that by a thousand for a complex building project like a hospital, where life-saving equipment needs to work perfectly every time.”
Construction administration is a service some Owners choose to add on to their design projects, and the firm works with its clients to figure out the right level of involvement an administrator should have on the project, depending upon the complexity and nature of the building. The mistakes Brannon may prevent can save owners millions by pre-empting the need for expensive do-overs.
For example, on one worksite, he noticed a worker cutting windows to be fitted into place on the side of the building. They had been prefabricated and sealed in a factory, but because the wall had been constructed slightly off, the windows weren’t fitting. Had Brannon not been onsite, the compromised windows would have been placed, and vapor would soon have seeped between the sheets of glass and created a film inside the windows. No one would have known what had happened, and the Owner would have had to spend their money to replace them after the fact. The catch was worth about six figures to the Owner.
“When you are working on a $40 or $50 million project, one mistake on the worksite can be in excess of a million dollars,” Brannon said. “Construction administration is sound insurance for the client compared to a mistake similar to that.”
Not only is Brannon the voice of the architect on the work site – he’s also another set of eyes and ears for the client. Where many large companies once employed experts on their building maintenance staffs that would understand and oversee construction projects, they have scaled back. Many clients now rely more heavily upon construction administrators to advocate for the agreed-upon design. Brannon provides regular analysis to his clients about the progress of their projects and flags any concerns he might have from reviewing monthly pay applications, construction schedules and walking the site.
Brannon said he appreciates that at FSB, he is allowed to do his work the way he believes it should to be done — thoroughly and responsibly.
“I think that’s pretty rare,” Brannon said. “When a project goes smoothly, everyone wins.”
To learn more about how construction administration services can save you money on your next project, contact Laure Majors at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her direct at 405.840.2931.