Managing complex projects
In fact, we're not even told about it because the client either isn't thinking about our issues or doesn't even know about them, and the general contractor isn't contacting us either. And remember, we don't pay the subcontractors, and they don't report to us, so they're not motivated to keep us informed of changes that affect us. In a best-case scenario, we'd find out about changes before the sheetrock or plaster is installed, so we could make any necessary changes to our design. And even then, we have to justify the changes to the client, who by now is a little sensitive to change orders. Regardless, in this hypothetical situation, let's say we've finished with the pre-wire and now it's time for the trim.
Typically, we're the last discipline to make an installation for the project. We have to exercise extra vigilance because at this stage things can really start to come apart. Let's say we find the sub-contractors did not follow our plans, and in many cases did not use them at all, so the systems aren't working to our specifications. Furthermore, we can't get information in a timely manner regarding the changes the subcontractors made. So now we have to determine what was changed by ourselves. That means troubleshooting all of our systems, in addition to troubleshooting the sub-contractors' systems, to make sure they are communicating flawlessly. Hopefully, we can get this done before the client settles down in his new home. We don't want him to find he can't turn on the HVAC from our touch panel or that the bathroom light comes on when he presses the dining room chandelier button. Of course, we're doing all of this troubleshooting as the client is moving in, and he's looking over our shoulder to see what's going on.