Singapore, 3rd March 2011
Ducking responsibility often happens when it comes to projects. When we have multidisciplinary consultants involved all working in a team it is important to agree (and know) who is responsible for what! Most of the times however our contracts are made before the designs are actually completed. Yes there is an overall space planning but for many areas, specifically between front and back of house areas, or transition areas from inside to outside or from one building to another the responsibility may not be properly defined. In two of my projects there is another lighting consultant involved for the exteriors while I am responsible for the interiors. Where does each other’s responsibility stop? Who has the final say when there is overlapping responsibility?
Some contracts are limited when it comes to repetitive work. For instance an interior designer may have agreed to design one standard space (say a hotel room) only and leave it to “others’ to figure out the application (and implication) for the rest of the spaces. But if our contract stipulates that we are responsible for all spaces there is a lack of information to figure out the rest of the lighting required?
There are many of those contractually not matching responsibilities which leave grey areas that often only appear half way the project. We then have to decide whether we take these grey areas in our stride and add them to our scope of responsibilities as a measure of goodwill or we adapt a stubborn attitude more or less along the lines of “pay me if you want me to do this”. Obviously the latter will not make you many friends and may even rule you out for any further work in the future however professionally there is nothing wrong if you have clearly defined your scope of responsibility in the original contract. Under promise but over deliver is often a good recipe. A little goodwill with a good client goes a long way. The judgement call to make is whether the client is worth your goodwill as many take advantage…..
In Light Watch today one of the new iconic projects in Singapore where surely the responsibilities for interior and exterior lighting have to be well defined. With a totally glass landmark building as part of the Gardens, inside and outside are merged and without proper responsibility definition the end result may be compromised.
Light Watch 44: Gardens by the Bay, Singapore