The client , the Designer and the contractor each has a role to fulfill...
There is a strong triad that controls every design project-namely the client, the designer, and the contractor- each having his or her distinct role to play. The client is, in my opinion the visionary and the prime facilitator for a project, whether he is the end user or not. The designer is the 'visualizer' for this visionary who takes the initial thoughts and articulates them, the contractor is the executor who takes the vision of the client and its articulation by the designer and then proceeds to actually mould the desired edifice in three dimension.
Although it is common today to see the roles of the designer contractor merging in what people like to call a ‘ turnkey’ solution, there are some like myself who don’t subscribe to this school of thought. I like to believe that whenever any two of the above roles are handled by the same individual or group of individuals, a conflict of interest will result in a less-than perfect solution. If the client is the designer, the design will be fraught with aspirations, and often the temptation to create a medley of design schools rather than a purity of design will win. If the client is the contractor then design will always take a backseat to cost-cutting, and if the designer is the contractor then naturally the ability to do quality checks would be tempered with the desire to generate wealth.
Thus I feel that it is critical that each person handle his or her individual role in isolation and then come together as a part of a whole that aims to transform a vision into reality. It is imperative that each person handle his/ her role with sincerity and honesty, minus any desire to take the upper hand in the design and execution process.
Often one finds that the client assumes that since he is the visionary and the financier, he has the right to take control of the project. Unfortunately, if that were the case , he would never have needed the other two parties, Yes he is the final person to be satisfied with the end-result, yet if he has hired the other two he must give them their due and allow them to perform their riles professionally. The client needs to be clear in his vision, that the end- product is only as good as the brief that the client project. If the designer believes that the client project. If the designer believes that the client is just a piggy-bank to withdraw funds from, then he is guilty of arrogance... Yes, the designer does have the ability to articulate a vision into an executable data and he does have an edge in technical and experiential knowledge, but does that mean that he has the holistic knowledge to understand and translate all aspirations ? Does he know about the aspirations and applications of the client ?
The designer must be a good listener and a good translator of all the hints and directional pointers that a client may cast his way to translate and articulate his client’s wishes. The contractor must take his role seriously as well, and bring his knowledge of execution to the table so that while he can suggest improvement, he should not become a hurdle in the design process just because of his experience and his inability to change and experiment.
The designer too must be open to taking these or other suggestions to the client with honesty and openness of course, I can’t stress enough on the importance of honest critique and open communication channels for any project undertaken.
So where does this leave the situation? As long as everyone is fulfilling his or her role and is not trying to step into the other’s space or swindle his of his wealth (be it knowledge of funds), I am confident that the project is in very safe hands. So play your role with responsibility and don’t bring half-baked knowledge to the table and don’t try to cheat anyone. Be honest in what you do and respect the role of the other. Your project will be a success in the end, whether you are the client, the designer or the contractor.