Why a builder should not consider aesthetics / by Josh Brincko

As an architect I actually don't consider aesthetics in my own work, so it doesn't work with my concept when a builder considers aesthetics. I only consider the functionality of the building when designing. Whatever makes the building work the best defines how the building will look. "Form follows function."

It's often a disguise when a builder considers aesthetics. If a builder wanted to be paid to come up with stylistic options, they should have become decorators. The role of a builder is to build a building for a certain price, certain time, with a specified level of quality. When builders consider aesthetics, they are performing a scope of work which they were not hired to perform. Many builders have really good eyes when it comes to aesthetics, and many do not. It is best to leave opinions (like aesthetics) out of the conversation when building a building and only considering relevant hard data instead.

It's not the builder's role to consider aesthetics, and it opens extra liability. It is really only up to a client to decide what they want their building to look like. It is the design and construction teams' job to make that happen.

When considering aesthetics, it is likely that the decision is not based on facts or data but rather a personal preference. Knowing the big picture behind all previous decisions is necessary to make good recommendations for any part of a project, and aesthetics are subordinate to those. Once we have determined how something can perform its best, then we have "earned" the right to consider aesthetics, but I have learned that it's not usually necessary. Once something works well, it tends to also look great too. 

All of my design decisions are based on 20 or more factors typically. Things like sun angles, shadows, privacy, views, building codes, material performance, material availability, material cost, labor feasibility, etc. Truly understanding the problem is necessary when evaluating all the factors, and most times when aesthetics are cited as a design solution, that person has not evaluated all the other design parameters. I have seen builders recommend certain aesthetics simply because it would be the quickest thing for them to build. Quick isn't always good. I aim to do things right, and I insist on it. Sometimes this means being unpopular with a builder or client, but that is only for a brief time. Once they see the result of doing things right, they are proud of their hard work and perseverance.