Original Artwork by Papa, Azhan and Nine (click image to link)
‘In the Name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. By Time, indeed humanity is in a state of loss. Except those who believe and do righteous deeds, and (join together) in the mutual teaching of truth and in the mutual teaching of patience’ (Surah al-`Asr, 103:1-3)
"Professional Architect lives almost by faith. When called upon he can do the job without fear or favour. He possesses aspecialized skill and lives by a code of ethics cloaked in honour andintegrity. He is expected to speak his mind and give his views. Whenfaced with absolute wrong, he can resolutely disagree and walk away." quote from THE PROFESSIONAL MAN by Ar Dr Tan Loke Mun PRESIDENT PAM

Sunday, 28 October 2007


Picture by Todd Huffman

There was once a project that had been put on hold by the client. They like the design intention and would agree to proceed anytime. However due to their mistakes while calculating the return and profit of the project it will soon suffocate the whole process.

In any commercial development, the early projected profit return is really essential as it will ensure the viability of the project. This could also be applied for any other kind of project. However most of us neglect this kind of procedures. This process is usually beyond the procedure of estimating the project's cost and budget. Profit projection is an indication of whether the job is worth to carry out or not.

Though the project has been paused, the client has assured that payment for job that has been done by the architect on the preliminary stage will be made as promised. This is why we as architects must follow the schedule of work, not only to avoid delays but to keep our work on the right track and not to move the job too far from the agreed stage.

"Good plans shape good decisions. That's why good planning helps to make elusive dreams come true."Lester R. Bittel, The Nine Master Keys of Management

The situation is applicable not only for small job but also mega projects. I had been given the opportunity during my previous employment to work together on overseas mega project. Given the 'mega' nature of the project, the viability study of a mega project is even more complicated. The ability to predict the situation is important in making decision for the next design stage on whether or not to proceed or the cost is still within the budget.
I had emailed an architect about this:

I'm curious to know why these payments have been pending for so long. I'm trying to understand how the process works rather than just receive the payment. Iwant to learn the procedure that makes it so difficultto release a small amout of payment on such a megaproject.

the architect replied:
FAZLAN, Thanks for your email reply,just to answer your question of why payments are slow on Mega projects : To answer the said question the answer is simple "MEGA" projects are on glamour vocabulary where clients are only fishing for the work , they don't really pay us though they promised to pay, that's the problem we are facing.

For your information none of the projects you did for us went ahead , even the XXX project. We have not been paid for all the cost incured by us but we have to pay our friends! Even the YYY project we have yet to receive complete payment .

This is reality Fazlan : so we have to dig from our other resources to pay you and the others.But be assured you will be paid by us where I have involved I must apologise for the inconvenience to a friend who helped us when we needed heip ! This is my guiding principle !
I've replied to his explanation with more curiosity:

Thank you for your explanation and information. I do understand your situation. It is sad to know none of the project went ahead. How do the client get away by not paying the cost incurred? Not only the cost of my work, but the bigger cost to your staff and company as total. I do understand some "fishing" job didn’t do well, but the client should pay the expenses occurred during the preliminary process, or any stage for the project.

If this reality is explained to me since day one, I would have proposed a better method of claim. If I were informed of the actual budget allocated for the visuals, it would give me a better picture of scope of work needed to carry out, I would also organize a team within the budget and provide advice or alert you better.

In my current working office, we all have the access to know how much the company will earn for any particular job. It also shows how much each person involve in the project had spent for the job. So our task is to minimise cost and work within the budget allocated. The more the office gains profit, the more perhaps we will get bonus.....

So, at the end of the day, the decision to put the project on hold is a wise decision in deed as the director made a decision with the good interest of the company in mind. They put aside their own personal interest on the design for the benefit of the company. I've more to learn from this real life scenario...

and the architect ended the conversation with this:

Noted the many observations you have made from our recent communication .Well I can't say much but I always enjoyed all my undertakings.You too have been a good friend always and thanks for your kind thoughts. That what makes you different from others !!!

And the more different I will be!!
"Men are wise in proportion, not to their experience, but to their capacity for experience." James Boswell, Life of Samuel Johnson, 1791Scottish author & biographer (1740 - 1795)

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