An Image of an owner, a architect, and a contractor at a jobsite.

What Is an OAC Meeting and What Is Their Value?

OAC Meeting Meaning and Definition

OAC Meetings, also known as Owner, Architect, and Contractor Meetings, are meetings that bring together representatives from all three groups. Typically occurring on a regular basis – usually weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly – they are administered by the contractor of a construction project. The intended OAC meeting purpose is usually to discuss matters related to an ongoing construction project.

During the construction phase, the architect’s role generally shifts from that of a designer to that of an observer. While the architect may still be involved in resolving design issues that arise, their primary responsibility is now to closely observe and monitor the construction process, to ensure it is consistent with design intent, and to guarantee it meets any construction standards. Similar to the architect, the contractor’s role also shifts from that of an observer of the design process to that of a facilitator of the construction process, including the administrating of any construction OAC meetings. Meanwhile, the owner continues in their role as the ultimate decision maker responsible for all parties and for the construction project at large.

OAC Meeting Purpose

Construction OAC meetings provide a forum and opportunity for the project team to discuss and review issues related to the design intent of the architect, construction means and methods of the contractor, and the owner’s budget and expected delivery of the construction project by the contractor. Most construction OAC meetings will typically cover topics such as design intent challenges, methods and means of construction, project progress, budget and schedule updates, design changes, construction issues, as well as coordination between the parties involved.

Ahead of each OAC meeting, the contractor submits an agenda, material specifications, samples, shop drawings, and budgets to the owner and architect for either review, rejection, or approval during and/or after the meeting and prior to the next meeting installment. These submittals are absolutely critical to the construction process as they provide the necessary information and documentation to ensure that the project is being built in accordance with the original design intent, which is the OAC meeting purpose.

During OAC meetings and the construction process, the architect is responsible for reviewing and approving any submissions, ensuring that they are consistent with the design intent, meet the necessary standards, and comply with any applicable codes or regulations. If any issues do arise, the architect may also be called upon to provide guidance or make decisions to ensure that the project continues to stay on track. While the contractor is ultimately responsible for running the construction OAC meetings and managing the entire construction process, the architect’s role as an observer and reviewer is just as important to ensuring the success of the project.

During OAC meetings, the owner provides input and direction on project goals and priorities while the architect presents re-design concepts and plans in case changes need to be implemented and the contractor discusses construction progress and challenges. This collaborative approach ensures that everyone involved is aligned and working toward the same goals which can reduce project delays, minimize conflicts, and ensure a successful outcome.

So, what is the OAC meeting purpose? OAC meetings constitute an essential component of the construction process as they provide a regular opportunity for open communication and collaboration among owners, architects, and contractors. This can help to ensure that the project will be completed on time, within budget, and to the desired level of quality.

To fully understand the OAC meeting’s purpose and importance, let’s examine two scenarios, one of a hypothetical OAC meeting gone awry and one that went well.

OAC Meeting Gone Wrong

The construction OAC meeting was scheduled to start at 9:00 am on a typical Monday morning. The owner Paul, architect Larry, and contractor Jim all arrived on time, ready to discuss the progress and current state of their construction project. However, what was supposed to be a productive meeting quickly turned disastrous.

The owner was in a bad mood, not interested in hearing updates, and hadn’t reviewed the meeting agenda ahead of time. The architect then presented design changes without having first consulted the contractor, causing confusion and frustration. The contractor was behind schedule and struggling to keep up with the existing workload, but the architect seemed oblivious and was pushing for even more changes.

As the meeting progressed, communication between the three attendants became increasingly strained. The owner was unresponsive, the architect defensive, and the contractor agitated.

Finally, the contractor lost his temper, dismayed at the lack of progress and communication. The architect fired back, accusing the contractor of being unable to follow the plan. The owner sat in silence, watching the meeting devolve into a shouting match.

The meeting ended abruptly with everyone leaving in a huff, no closer to resolving any of the issues.

Soon, they realized that they had failed to work together and find common ground. The project was now in serious jeopardy, and it was clear the OAC meeting had only made matters worse, contrary to its meeting purpose. It quickly became clear that, going forward, they needed to find a way to work together, communicate more effectively, and get the project back on track.

OAC Meeting Done Right

Following their disastrous construction OAC meeting, the owner, architect, and contractor each took a step back and reassessed their approach.
The owner realized they needed to take a more active role and provide clearer guidance on project goals and priorities in the future. The architect realized they needed to consult with the contractor before making design changes to ensure their feasibility and budget adherence. The contractor realized they needed to communicate more effectively with both the architect and owner and provide more regular updates on their progress.

Over the next week, the three worked to recalibrate their approach, reviewing the project plan and identifying areas where communication and collaboration could be improved. They also set ground rules for the next construction OAC meeting, agreeing to review the agenda ahead of time, prepare questions and comments, listen to each other’s perspectives, remain open to feedback, and work together to identify working solutions.

When the next construction OAC meeting rolled around, it was clear from the start that things were different. The owner was more engaged, asking questions and providing feedback. The architect had consulted with the contractor before making required design changes and listened to concerns regarding implementation. The contractor provided meaningful updates on progress and was proactive in communicating with the architect and owner.

There were still some disagreements and challenges, however, everyone was actively listening and working together to resolve them. By the end, the OAC meeting participants had identified a clear path forward and each group member had taken responsibility for a set of specific tasks and agreed to provide regular updates and communication.

In the weeks that followed, the project progressed smoothly, with fewer delays and less conflict. The construction OAC meetings continued to be a productive forum for communication and collaboration. Looking back, the owner, architect, and contractor realized that the disastrous OAC meeting had truly constituted a turning point for the project.

Creation of OAC Meetings – Who Does What, When, Why, and How!

To avoid ineffective OAC meetings, it is essential that clear expectations and responsibilities for each team member are established early on. Here are a few recommendations:

Contractor Responsibilities: The contractor should take responsibility for creating and delivering a meeting agenda to both the owner and architect well in advance of any OAC meetings. All agendas should include specific action items and topics to be discussed.

Architect Responsibilities: The architect should review the agenda and provide feedback to the contractor as necessary. They should also come prepared to discuss design changes and provide updates on the progress of their work.

Owner Responsibilities: The owner should review the agenda and provide feedback to the contractor and architect as necessary. They should also come prepared to provide feedback on the project’s progress and make decisions about any challenges, conflicts, or issues that arise.

Communication: All team members should be willing to communicate regularly and proactively. It is crucial to establish clear lines of communication and ensure everyone is on the same page in relation to project goals and priorities.

Follow-up: After the conclusion of the meeting, all team members should follow up on action items and decisions made. The contractor should provide regular updates on progress, while the architect and owner should be available to provide feedback and make decisions as necessary.

By setting clear responsibilities and expectations and ensuring that communication is proactive and effective, it is possible to avoid ineffective OAC meetings and ensure smooth progress of any construction project.

OAC Meetings – The Costs, Fees, and Advantages

Let’s talk about fees and how they relate to OAC meetings. OAC meetings can form part of the original design contract between owner and architect. This just means that the architect’s fee for OAC meetings is covered by the fixed fee stated in the contract. Thus, the owner is not billed separately for construction OAC meetings but against fixed fees from the contract.

In this scenario, the clear advantage for the owner is that they have a clear understanding of the project costs right from the beginning. They know exactly how much they will be paying for the architect’s services, including any OAC meetings, which prevents any unexpected costs or fees arising down the line.

The advantage for the architect is that they have a stable and predictable source of income. They know exactly how much they will be paid for their services and can plan their work accordingly. However, a clear disadvantage for the architect is that if the number of OAC meetings exceeds what was anticipated in the contract, they may need to attend additional meetings without receiving corresponding compensation.

By contrast, sometimes construction OAC meetings are not included in the original design contract and are instead billed hourly as the project progresses. In this case, the architect bills the owner for any time spent on OAC meetings.

Here, the advantage for the owner is that they only pay for time the architect spends in OAC meetings. If fewer meetings are required than anticipated, the owner pays less overall for the architect’s services. The disadvantage, however, is that costs associated with OAC meetings can be difficult to predict, so the owner may face unexpected fees or costs if more meetings are then required than originally anticipated.

The advantage for the architect is that they are compensated for time spent in OAC meetings. However, the disadvantage is that their income may be less predictable as they cannot rely on a fixed fee for their services.

In the end, the decision on how to account and bill for OAC meetings depends entirely on the needs, preferences, and agreement between the owner and architect. Fixed fees can provide additional stability and predictability for both parties, while hourly billing can be more flexible and cost-effective for the owner. Regardless of the billing method chosen, it is important to establish clear expectations from the start and communicate regularly to ensure that everyone is in agreement regarding the total costs and scope of the project.

The Risks of Omitting OAC Meetings

Let’s examine a scenario where an owner decides to forgo OAC meetings altogether to save costs on their construction project. Despite the architect’s warnings that regular meetings are crucial to ensuring the project’s success, the owner is insistent they do not wish to spend the additional money. As the construction project progresses, issues keep arising, including unexpected field conditions, misinterpretations of the contractor’s drawings and subsequent conflicts with the architect, as well as delays in the delivery of materials. Because there are no regular OAC meetings, these issues are not addressed in a timely manner and left to fester, snowballing out of control and causing bigger problems over time.

For example, imagine that the contractor discovers a problem with the building’s foundation. Without the architect present to discuss potential solutions, the contractor is left to make a decision on their own, leading to costly and time-consuming delays. The project continues to encounter setbacks and problems, causing frustration and disappointment for the owner, contractor, and architect. Eventually, the project is completed but far over budget and behind schedule.

Had the owner contracted the architect for regular weekly OAC meetings, these issues could have been addressed in a timely manner, preventing them from escalating into larger problems. The architect could have been present to discuss potential solutions and the contractor could have received immediate feedback on their work. By forgoing construction OAC meetings, the owner may have saved on fees in the short term, but ultimately paid a much higher price in the long term.

So, what is an OAC meeting? To summarize, an OAC meeting is a critical component of any successful construction project. They allow for open communication, timely feedback, and collaboration between the owner, architect, and contractor. By skipping these meetings, the owner runs the risk of encountering costly delays, errors, and setbacks that are easily preventable through open and regular communication and planning. If you have made it this far in the article and are now interested in seeing successfully completed projects that we have been involved with on an OAC basis, please consider exploring our portfolio.

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