How a finished project looks is important, no doubt, but it’s unfortunate just how much emphasis and attention is given to the final appearance of a project at the expense of so many other key factors. Due to all of the design blogs, publications and awards in our information saturated lives, the finished architectural image has never been so ubiquitous and infectious. Which is great in some ways; it promotes architecture and keeps the discussion active.  A gorgeous finished product gets people excited and engaged. But how a project looks is only one factor; how it looks on completion day does not, on its own, make a project successful.

Today’s post reviews 5 important factors that should be taken into account for any given project. It is all of these factors (and probably a few more) that should be considered when determining the success of a project.

1. Did the project come in on budget and were the client’s financial concerns respected? Quite possibly the most important factor on any project; and at the same time probably the least publicized factor on the list. A beautiful, well published, award winning project that comes in at twice the owner’s budget is not a successful project –we don’t care what it looks like.

2. Does everyone get along after project completion? Are the architect, the builder and the owner(s) friends once all the business has been completed and all the bills have been paid? Lasting friendships may not be necessary for a project to be a success but, to us, this is a great indicator of the type of projects we like to work on.

3. Were the tradespeople on site treated with respect? This is a big one for us because, as a design-build firm, we directly depend on the electricians, the plumbers, the drywallers and finish carpenters over the course of many jobs –maybe even an entire career. Respect is an indicator of clear communication, diligent work and expectations being met. It’s also makes everyone’s job a heck of a lot more fulfilling.

4. Did the junior architects learn from the project and gain valuable knowledge? Or did it take an army of miserable, poorly paid interns to complete the project? As architects we have a wide range of duties; one of them is properly teaching the next generation of architects how to be professionals.

5. Did it make the built-environment a better place? A project can be a smoking-hot work of modern architecture in the finished photo but if it’s entirely out of context it can actually be harmful to a neighborhood.

Those are 5 on our list, what’s on yours?