When discussing the design of a structure and what makes it stand apart and endure, it’s often 
been quoted that, “God is in the details.”  Owners expect a high level of quality, and to get that, 
there has to be attention to detail, both in the design and application at the jobsite.
An architect strives to make his/her structural designs stand apart, and most often, it’s the details 
that make this happen.  This is where his/her reputation is earned and the money is made.  A 
contractor, on the other hand, would probably prefer working on a simple square structure, flat 
walls and roof, and with as few details as possible.  The job would proceed faster and there would 
be less chance for leaks or failures.  This is where his/her reputation is earned and the money is made.
Are these two views at odds with each other?  Yes.  Should they be?  No.  Should you even care what the contractor needs to build your design properly?  Definitely.  While some have taken the attitude that, “I designed it, let the contractor figure out how to build it,” this will only lead to problems.  When the contractor doesn’t understand what needs to be done or can’t make money doing it, he’s liable to take a shortcut.  Then when there’s a failure, your design may get the blame.
Everyone in the construction industry needs, and deserves, to make a profit.  If you inadvertently make it difficult or unclear as to how they will make that profit, they’ll find a way.
This is one of the reasons that architects are finding themselves spending more and more time in the field.  It’s the on-the-jobsite presence that can’t be replaced or ignored, looking for problems, answering questions, last minute design alterations, and constantly checking the details.
ou design the structure, get the approval of the owner, walk the plans through the building department, turn them over to the contractor, he gives the job to one of his foreman who is supervising a crew of construction workers, who in turn are training apprentices who may or may not have finished high school.  Your carefully drawn plans, the ones you spent night after night pouring your heart and soul into, are being implemented by someone who may not be able to read a newspaper, let alone a detailed blueprint.  I’ve always said that a project is only as good as the last person to have a hand in it.  Do you need to be on the jobsite?  You bet. 

Marcus Dodson
editor & publisher
On-Site Presence
The Success of a Project is 
Due to the Attention to Detail