Building Design Consultants



Engaging, instructing and working with building design consultants ranks in second place to finance as the aspect of real estate development students are most concerned about.


Let me get this concern out of the way immediately by reminding you that as a developer, or as I will call you, a Development Manager, you are 'not' an expert; building design consultants are the experts ... you just manage their activities to achieve what you want, within a specific period of time.


This is worthwhile reading once again by the way. It says, you 'manage' the experts. They know what they have to do and all you have to do is tell the architect what you require him/her to design for you.


You don't even have to use technical language; just express yourself in lay-man's language and the architect is trained to interpret your wishes and translate your instructions into plans and a specification.


Ok, so who are these building design consultants?


The Architect:The leader of the building design consultant team is the architect. Just as nothing happens until you decide to develop a property, well nothing happens in building design until the architect puts your instructions on paper in the from of a plan.

(read more about architects)

Later on I'll talk about Preliminary Plans, which are the first plans that are created in the whole design process.

Structural Engineer: The second in rank of importance in the building design consultant team is the structural engineer.


He/she takes the architect’s design and creates a structure to ensure it stands up to the elements as well as foundations that will take the weight of the building.


The structural engineer is specifically involved with buildings, while a civil engineer is involved in the design of roads, bridges, car parks and in the United States is involved in the design of subdivisions for housing or industrial business parks.


Both the structural and civil engineer belong to the same branch of engineering, it is just that they specialize in different aspects of engineering.

(read more about structural engineers)

Electrical Engineer: Their degree of design involvement is really dependent on the degree of sophistication of the building.


In the case of a small townhouse development the electrical engineer is usually not involved. Their work will be covered by the architect's plans and specification in most countries.

Once the architect's design goes above, say three levels the electrical engineer becomes more involved.

HVAC - Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning: I would assess the same involvement for HVAC as I would say for the electrical engineer.


Quantity Surveyor: This profession does not exist in the United States, but does exist in all countries that were part of the British Commonwealth, as the quantity surveyor profession was created in Britain.

(read more about quantity surveyors)

For developers in the US the nearest equivalent to a quantity surveyor is a Building Cost Estimator. I have never developed without having a quantity surveyor as a member of my design team.


For small developments in the US I would always engage a building estimator and while he/she would not usually be part of the design team; I would supply drawings and the specification for costing and other services they provide.


Without going into great detail these guys are the construction industries 'number crunchers.' I am not interested in a builder giving me a figure to build my project; I am interested in having the builder's construction cost examined in all the elements that make up the total construction cost.


Hydraulic Engineer: This profession is involved in anything that involves water, air and gases. In fact, any service substance that involves pipes is the concern of the hydraulic engineer and once again their design contribution is dependent on the degree of sophistication of the building.


So small domestic developments don't require hydraulic design input. However when you think about their design work, you should appreciate the fact that their impact on our modern way of life is profound.


For example, if you could not hot water to flow from a faucet (tap) on the 50th floor of a hotel bathroom, the building could not be built ... because nobody could live in it without the supply of water.


Imagine therefore the degree of design capability it takes to not only get water on instant demand on the 50th floor at the correct flow rate; what about getting hot water on demand?


There are other members of the building design consultant team that can be called on depending on the sophistication of the project such as landscape architects and interior design experts, but the member mentioned above form the core members.

(read more about hydraulic engineers)

Building Design Leads To How To Become A Real Estate Developer

Author of "Residential Real Estate Development Made Easy"



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