5 Effective Ways to Improve the Communication Between Architects and Civil Engineers

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4 min read

Every construction project requires the expertise of architects and civil engineers. They are both involved in designing the building’s structure. However, while the civil engineer is dealing with the structural elements ensuring that the construction is durable enough, the architect is focused on the aesthetic appeal of the design and spatial functionality.

Regardless of their differences, these professionals must be in constant touch and develop good communication in order to ensure that the project will be properly done. Here are some effective ways how to achieve this.

Watch this video for a quick overview:

Admit that you don’t know everything

The first step to improving the communication between the team of architects and the team of civil engineers is that they all admit that sometimes they don’t fully realize and appreciate what the other one does.

This way, both sides will avoid unnecessary meddling and show respect for each other’s work instead of making false presumptions and diminishing the importance of their colleagues’ effort.

Once you’ve managed to establish mutual respect and trust, everything else will be much easier.

admit that you don't know everything
admit that you don’t know everything

Don’t shy away from asking questions

Asking relevant questions is the best way to break the ice and get off on the right foot with your co-workers. For instance, if you’re a civil engineer, feel free to show some initiative and strike a conversation with the architects who brought you on the project. This way, you’ll get a chance to ask different questions and find out what their plan is.

You should also focus on discovering what is most important for the client and what they want to accomplish, and use this moment to clarify all potential misunderstandings.

don't hesitate to ask questions
don’t hesitate to ask questions

Discuss all the changes

Changes appear naturally during the project and every single member of the team should be informed about them. So, for instance, when concept designs change, the architects should contact the team of civil engineers immediately.

Not only will this improve the communication between them, but the architects will get an opportunity to hear other team’s perspective and maybe even come up with a better solution that hasn’t occurred to them.

On top of that, an open line of communication between these two teams is essential because they need to work together on determining the safety requirements, such as earthquake resistance, which can have a strong impact on the design.

discuss all the changes
discuss all the changes

Keep all the relevant parties informed

Don’t forget that collaboration requires constant effort and that keeping all parties informed is of the utmost importance if you want to avoid having both teams and the client deeply disappointed and dissatisfied with the end result.

Even though this may seem hard to achieve, especially when you consider how many architects and types of civil engineers there are, you should remember that they all have a crucial role and represent a piece of the puzzle without which the whole project wouldn’t be possible.

For instance, professional quantity surveying is just a part of the process, but its role is extremely important. Owing to these professionals, the architects and the client will get a reliable estimation of the costs of the project and thus avoid any unpleasant surprises and unexpected expenses.

keep all the parties informed
keep all the parties informed

Opt for the right firms

The investors must make sure to carefully choose the best architectural studios and engineering firms. So, as soon as the initial meeting is set, you should be well-prepared and ready to ask as many relevant questions as possible.

In other words, you should find out about their previous clients, their past experience and show a particular interest in how they communicate. On top of that, it’s always advisable to ask for some references and contact at least several firms that they have already collaborated with.

This way, you’ll have a chance to hear about their experiences and decide if that particular engineering firm satisfies your needs and expectations.

choose the right firm
choose the right firm

As you can see, keeping an open line of communication between architects and civil engineers don’t have to be that complicated after all. It’s just important that both sides respect each other and are aware of their different perspectives.

On top of that, keeping everyone informed is essential in order to avoid any potential misunderstandings and complications which can only result in client dissatisfaction.

Finally, having different opinions is never a bad thing, but hesitating to discuss them can be detrimental to every project.

About the author: Mike Johnston is a home improvement blogger, DIY enthusiast and sustainability buff from Sydney. He is a regular writer at Smooth Decorator and a contributor on several interior design and eco blogs, always on the lookout for new ideas and latest trends in the field.

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