Wednesday, July 21, 2010
I got word yesterday from Sven that I'm going to be doing the CA on the 1st and 9th floor Gestalt HMO clinic renovations. As I nodded and said thank you, it occurred to me that I hadn't really done CA since...good Lord, almost since starting this blog. The last decently-sized CA project I had was MHRC back in 2007 and a little of 2008. Good heavens, no wonder I've been feeling so out of sorts--I have architectural blue balls.
For those of you new to WAD, CA is short for "construction administration", which is what we call the actual process of building the stuff we just designed and drew. It's usually the most frustrating and also most rewarding part of any project. As the contractor asks you questions about your drawings, you start to feel as if you couldn't draw your way out of a wet paper sack, and then you want to answer each RFI with the words "Just build it already!" But you really learn the most in CA, when someone has to build what you designed with the clients on board and then drew and thought through and then drew some more and maybe even redrew a few times. CA means that you did the thing you set out to do--you drew something that got built and now it's getting lived and worked in and used. It's the natural end to a project, and when you draw stuff and work on master planning projects and space planning layouts for 2+ years and never do CA...well, you feel kinda empty.
Unless you work for a starchitect; then you just keep on drinking merlot and drawing things you'll never build and you never know the difference in your life. And that makes me drink. But I digress.
So, now I get to do CA on the CDs (construction documents) that I just drew, which means I get to amp up my learning curve a little more, and I get to feel real and useful and annoyed and frustrated and overworked all over again. To wit: Guy is dead in the middle of doing CA on the building he did with Scooby Doo & Associates, and for him, "cutting back" his time at work right now means only working 45-50 hours M-F. He has so many RFIs that whether he works 45 hours a week or 60, he can't make a dent in them. (Evidently, the Scooby Doo Disease has spread to some of the subs on his job.) But there's a silver lining: if I'm doing CA and Guy's doing CA, we finally having something in common to talk about at home...like we didn't already.