An architect was asked to design a retail strip mall in Southfield by a developer/potential client. Although the client had completed similar projects in the past, this was the largest one ever considered.
The architect realized that this project could lead to other opportunties while also being highly profitable. However, the architect was hesitant to accept the job because the archtect’s expertise was limited to single family home, including the client’s residence.
The project program anticpated approximately 90,000 square feet of retail space. For reference, the client provided drawings and specifications from pevious projects to provide an idea of the complexity and specific requirements.
The client also employed “in house” staff to provide assistance with estimating, material selection, bidding and negotiating with contractors, and construction supervision. As such, the client told the architect that construction administration would not be required.
The architect completed the contracted work. A mechanical engineer, recommended by the client, was hired as a consultant and the structural engineer relied upon the soil tests provided by the client.
The project proceeded normally and the architect was paid per agreement upon delivery of the construction documents.
When the project was released for bids, the costs exceeded the owner’s budget by 25%. Subsequently, the owner asked the architect to redesign the project so it would be within budget.
The architect informed the client that the immense amount of construction activity in southeast Michigan has caused extreme cost escalation, a direct result of labor and material shortages. To make the project meet the owner’s budget, a scope reduction would be necessary.
Despite the recmmended solution from the architect, the owner proceeded to build the project without any revisions.
For the first two years after the project was completed, the mechanical system never operated correctly. Ultimately, all of the primary HVAC units were replaced.
Additionally, evidence of concrete slab cracking became evident due to cracked ceramic tiles in several retail units. Although not substantial, tenant complained about the cracked tiles and demanded the owner to make any necessary repairs.
From the architect’s perspective, what were the ethical issues involved with this project? What should have been done differentl?