Broadly speaking, when it comes to architects interacting with clients, we see 2 major types of individuals: Client A and B
Client A? Who are they?
Client A is the gentle client who believes he needs an architect. He agrees that architects are the professional to deal with when it comes to architectural designs and services.
They normally don’t interfere with the architect’s work or design ideas. Mostly they trust that the architect knows what he is doing and will deliver the best result.
Client B? How are they different from Client B?
Client B is the informed/exposed client. He is confident in what he knows. Often desires to birth his ideas but is limited by his lack of architectural skills.
He requires an architects to help him make sense of his thoughts and integrate them into a workable plan.
What are the merits and demerits of Client A
Client A for me is every architect’s dream client. When they come financially empowered, architects are happier.
Therefore, if the client is not inquisitive enough he may not quickly detect these errors. Thus, the building will go on to be built that way.
Between Client A and B who is easier to work with?
These clients find it hard to work with architects who can not act and deliver at their level. Which often leads to a frustrating architect-client relationship.
Architects and these type of clients misunderstand their roles a lot. Most architects see themselves as the sources of building design ideas and custodians of the knowledge and experience required for building designs.
Thus, expect the client to respect that and give them the needed leeway to express themselves design wise. We the trust that whatever comes out will ultimately be for the good of the client.
Though sadly, this is seldom the way client B sees the operations of the architect. Some see the architect as a means to an end, the end which is the design document.
The mindset of some Client Bs.
- The client is the source of the ideas, concepts and inspiration.
- He gives these to the architect and pays him.
- The architect is the individual who puts these ideas together with his technical knowledge.
- And the design document is the end product.
Major merits and demerits of Client B.
One merit of Client B is that they regularly scrutinize the architect’s work, forcing architects to think deeply and explore all avenues to improve his design.
The major demerits are that the architect’s design may take long to finish because of regular revisions.
Unique ideas of the architect may be repeatedly altered discouraging him from trying to do anything unique for the remaining period of the project.
This can lead to a tiring and expensive design process and sometimes an aborted one.
What is the best way to relate with your client?
You don’t want him dissatisfied.
You could try coming up with a planned and periodic avenue for him to make inputs. For example, in the course of carrying out the project you may create stages of work and inputs.
Stages that can facilitate easy exchange of ideas between Client and Architects.
Sit with him to further discuss his ideals and try to extract more information on what he want.
Inform him that final drawings will be produced afterwards therefore subsequent major inputs will require greater effort to implement.
Too inputs may alter other consultant works on the project, delay the design process and cost more.
Several architects relate with clients in several ways and achieve incredible results. Therefore, it may not be proper to say that there is an ideal way for architects to relate with clients.
However, as a general rule every architect should strive to create a periodic channel that allows the client to sufficiently convey his desires and new information so as to give a satisfactory service.