The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and the excavators are roaring. It’s one of the best kinds of work days: a job site visit!
Watching a project go from an idea or sketch on paper to a physical reality is perhaps one of the most gratifying parts of our work. It’s fascinating to see the different phases a house goes through as it progresses in construction. The structure seems alternately bigger and smaller with each successive step. (That’s a huge hole! Or, the foundation looks so small!) Will it feel just right in the end?
It can be quite uncanny walking through a project in real life after having spent months in it while constructing the 3D CAD model. When the interior framing goes up and the house begins to receive its finishes, my first thought is almost always “It looks just like the model!” and “I feel like I’ve been in here before!”
Visiting the job site is not only fun, but also vital to the way a project realizes its final form. No matter how carefully we develop a set of drawings, it is inevitable that questions will arise during construction. When we as architects are available as a resource to the builder, we can make sure the design remains true to its intent by guiding the decision making process, providing details as needed, and assisting as final materials and finishes are selected.
For younger members of our profession (and older ones too!), essential experience is gained through site visits. Seeing how things actually come together informs how we’ll draw details the next time around to make things more efficient and successful. And the opportunity to work collaboratively with the builder and utilize their vast trove of knowledge to solve problems is invaluable.
The excitement of watching a project take shape and seeing our clients’ reaction is so much fun, but of course, site visits aren’t all fun and games! Some days are better than others…