Monday, February 4, 2013

Yes, I'll wait while you balance your checkbook.

St. Ermahgerd went on hold for a couple of weeks so the health system to which St. E belongs (and which is funding their project) can find a way to reduce the budget a little bit. This sort of thing is a fact of architecture life, but that doesn't make it any less irritating. First off, we were just a couple of weeks away from finishing DDs. DDs (design development) are great for the contractor to price, and if we gave the architect two weeks to finish the DDs and then gave the contractor a month to price the DDs, we could have a realistic number to work with when adjusting the budget. Instead, we're looking at the project budget like an abstract set of digits at which to hack randomly, like clearing undergrowth in a jungle.

Second, St. Ermahgerd has one of the biggest project teams in the office due to its sheer size and the added pressure of its fast schedule. So when someone says, "hey, you 14 people need to stop everything for two weeks that you've been doing for eight months," it's like the taking of Pelham 123--good luck bringing that shit to a screeching halt. In the ensuing slowdown, we lost two people, quite possibly for good, which will hurt when the DDs start up again in the next week or two. Some folks we lost partially--we're loaning them out, and they'll come back full time once we're given the go ahead.  But in truth, we couldn't fully stop.  Even without the slowdown, there was a lot to do on the DDs that wouldn't be affected by cutting budgets, and there is in fact some work being done already on the construction site.  We have foundations going in for some outpatient treatment spaces, and there's grading and utility and sitework going on, so it's not like we can just stop working altogether.  We got shit to do.

So yet again, the architect straddles the line of not being crazy-busy while still staying occupied and not letting the project get more behind than necessary.  Once we start up again, the schedule will slide to accommodate any changes we need to make (or so the client has assured us).  In the meantime, we're answering questions from the field and figuring out casework elevations and equipment coordination while the health system runs the numbers.  Or goes to Vegas and puts it all on black.

No comments: