Navigating through the maze of home building is easier if you understand roles and interests that drive behaviors. Each role has its rational interests, inherited interest, but also its personal, intrinsic interests.
Additionally, there are two variations of each role, whose intrinsic interest and following behaviors are different: principal and agent. Principal is somebody who does it for his own sake and receives all the benefits of the project’s success (e.g. owner), and the agent is doing it for somebody’s else sake and doesn’t receive all the benefits of the project’s success (e.g. employee of the owner)
Depending on the project’s nature and size there can be many roles and interests in the building process, but let’s go through a few typical ones:
Homeowner, investor, Developer…
….is a person or an organization that is paying all the bills and receives most of the benefits of the project’s success. Their interest is to make the whole project financially successful. They have inherited interest to make the future user of their building happy, but also a whole team happy which, in turn, gives them a better product. Their intrinsic interest is to have fun along the way and make a project that is going to leave a mark in the universe. Usually, their rational interest is the biggest driver of the project.
For an Architect, the rational interest is to make money working on this particular project. The inherited interest is to make the project financially successful for its owner, but also for the society. The intrinsic interest is to make a design that is going to be recognized by the community, and very importantly see THEIR design built, not consultants, or contractors, or owners, but THEIRS. Balancing and prioritizing conflicting interests is probably one of the hardest tasks and largest pressures for this group. Contrary to the common logic, they allow all too often for their rational interest to slip behind all others.
Contractor, Builder, Supplier…
Rational interest of this group is to make money on this project. The inherited interest is to make money for the owner and make sure that all subcontractors are making money. Their intrinsic interest to achieve mastery of the craft and do work they’ll be proud of. Squeezed between everyday reality, brutality of the construction site cash flow, and interests of other people that are not aligned with their own interests, very often, they are just fighting to stay alive.