Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Today, we're supposed to get sign-off for two departments in the remodeling of the Bierstadt Building for Gestalt HMO. But just yesterday, I got several emails from the Gestalt project manager I'm working with--she reviewed the plans with her boss, and her boss had changes at this late hour. Thing is, we're about to make these changes and then walk into the sign-off meeting and say "oh by the way, someone else at the Facilities Department of your institution decided we need to move this storage area over here and flip the check-in line for your department all the way across the room. Ready to sign off?"
Sign-off is important for a design team. We present a plan to the users of a department, and all the people who have a say in the project sign the drawing confirming that they agree with this plan, and that they will be consulted if it changes in any major way. We now have a document that says we all understand what the users need and want and have asked for, so if at any point in the future we've forgotten something, they users can point to the plan and say "see? there it is, you forgot this and we need it." Conversely, if the owner or a user complains about some part of the plan, we can point to the drawing and say, "well you agreed to this four months ago--if you want it changed in any major way, you will owe us additional services."
The other thing is, we need sign-off so that we can move forward on the rest of the drawings for the project. When we stop changing the floor plan, the engineers can start doing their stuff, and we can start making the drawings that allow the contractor to price and build the project. And work is so hard to come by right now that we'd really really like to start working on this project right now--that goes for architects, engineers, and contractors.
But I bet we're not getting sign-off today. Not with these changes.