For many of our larger projects, we offer Acoustical Consulting Construction Administration Services as an additional option. Unfortunately, not all clients invest money on this service. Our frustration extends well beyond the revenue side of the project (the CA services are usually a very reasonable addition to the project budget, relative to Design Services). Sometimes our clients opt out of CA services, ending our involvement with the project after a review of the construction drawings and the specifications. We find that many clients view the additional services as non-essential. After all, “all the information is in the drawings and the specifications.” I would completely agree with the sentiment in an ideal world, but experience has shown this world is rarely, if ever, ideal. There are some clients, however, that have welcomed this form of service from our company, and I’d like to share one of their successes.
We are currently working on a high end hotel/residence with some commercial retail and restaurant space in the building. Because of the multiple uses of the building and a strong desire to create a 5-star atmosphere, the client enlisted our CA services. These services primarily allow us to address change requests for “similar” products used during construction, site-visits to inspect the work as the project progresses, and deal with any other issues that arise during construction.
So far, we’ve made several visits to the above mentioned project, and at every visit we’ve found errors in the construction or materials that contribute to the noise isolation and room acoustics. Because we were able to be on-site, we could identify potential problem areas and make recommendations, as well as partner with the installers to make sure that construction is performed to specification and that the acoustical performance of any specified system will perform to the expected design criteria. In this particular case we found the same errors in back to back visits even after the particular tradesmen were initially notified and they reported them as corrected. Left unchecked these errors would have drastically reduced the acoustical performance of the wall systems, potentially resulting in very expensive renovations and fixes after the project was finished.
The construction manager for the project has welcomed our input and told us that he often has trouble getting his sub-contractors to read the specifications and ensure they are being followed. This news is troubling, but it is a reality that exists, especially in projects where budgets are tight and the time frame for a completed project is short. The point here is not to disparage the crews working on your projects, but to be realistic in our expectations and realize that buildings are often extremely complex and specialized requirements are often difficult to follow.
At Acoustics By Design, our goal is to be actively involved and represent the client to ensure that the design recommendations we worked so hard on during the project design get implemented in a way that meets the goals and expectations of the client. In short, Construction Administration Services save time and money in the long-run. We know and understand that budgets are tight, and it is easy to overlook this important service for other pieces of the budget puzzle. We’d like to encourage you to consider using the full services of all your consultants, whatever their specialty, to protect your investment and to ensure the comfort of your new space.