A Common Language
There are several tongues spoken on any project, threaded together through the course of design and construction. The list includes:
- Architecture--the language of program, of design and the detailing, hardware and finishes.
- Contracts--who has to do what by when, and whom gets paid when, for what. What to do if promises aren't kept.
- Construction--the sequencing of trades, resolution of conflicts, and getting different systems to fit and work with each other. Translating the two dimensional language of plans to a three dimensional structure (the "full scale model").
- Interiors--finishes, fabrics, and interpreting light.
- Public approvals, and code interpretation--what needs to be approved to satisfy requirements, and
- Spanish is now a requirement, as it seems 60 to 80% of the workforce here in Northern California is Latino.
With all these languages, the potential for misinterpretation, and the fact that our industry is largely peopled with non-verbal male, action-oriented professionals, listening and problem resolution are key skills at all levels. And the key contribution of a project manager is to understand these tongues, and to translate, tie together, and provide a unified picture of where you are at present.
The only common element that should course through all these threads is trust and respect. It makes the rest of the job much easier.