PM and architects - a spanish outlook
An article by Miguel Ángel Álvarez
Project Management and Architecture have often clashed with each other in the history of Spain. It was believed that a Project Manager (PM) has to do more with the aspects of property and often sounds out “no” to the architect’s ideologies. On the other side, the architect was believed to be more concerned with the look of the building, the design, the functionality and with the possibility of having the work published (especially in architectural magazines), rather than focusing on the cost, quality and timely issues of the project.
For many years, architects in Spain considered the PM as their enemy – someone who was there to damage the architectural work and is only concerned about money and time. Of course, none of the “real” architects were ready to take over the role of a Project Manager as it might have been a betrayal of the ‘sacred’ principles of their profession.
Fortunately, the situation has changed now.
Crisis sometimes brings opportunities. Spain’s deep economic crisis, especially in the construction industry, many young architects have begun to prepare themselves as Project Managers. Numerous classes and Master degrees have proliferated on the subject across the rural area.
For 25 years during my practice as an architect, I was completely ignorant about Project Management. But then, I had a chance to consider this necessary evolution about 12 old age ago. Since then, I have worked for the implementation of PM techniques in Spain, as I firmly think that our country needs to improve in this direction. On the other hand, I do believe that architects have the fundamental abilities from their education to become Project Managers. Thus, they should embrace this new field not only in Spain, but also in the rest of this global world.
The building process is a complex and an intricate jungle. In the start, it is hard for somebody who does not have sufficient preparation to face that process with guarantees of success. The client wants to make a profitable business and perhaps he also has the commercial abilities to put the product in the market. But normally, he lacks the know-how to construct the building itself and will need help to analyse the possibilities of a specific operation.
For that purpose, the Project Manager’s experience will come into play to lead the customer along the building operation. The PM will be the technical eyes and mind of the client and will produce the correct product with the cost, quality and time needed to reach success and desired financial gains. Therefore, the delegation by the client to PM is extremely important as without a good co-ordination, it is impossible to produce an efficient implementation plan required for the project success.