Increasing influence of the main contractor; Even when it comes to aesthetics

Architects in Europe are divided about the role of the main contractor in the construction process. In Europe, aesthetics is often seen as the primary task of the architect, but the influence of the main contractor is increasing in countries like Belgium, France and Italy. In countries like the Netherlands, Poland, Spain and the United Kingdom, this is less often the case. This is one of the results of the Q2 report of the European Architectural Barometer, entitled 'Future role of the architect', based on 1,600 successful interviews with architects.

More influence of the main contractor
The aesthetics of a building is originally the exclusive domain of the architect, but in some countries main contractors are increasingly seen as a (co) decision maker. In this article we will describe these differences.

Most influence in France
The main contractor in France has the most influence in the decision-making process regarding the aesthetics of a building. About 69% of the French architects mention that the main contractor is the co-decision maker/decision maker when it comes to aesthetics. Not surprisingly, in France the architects are more often working together with main contractors, engineers and principles than in other countries. Not only when it comes to aesthetics, but also in the entire building process.

Belgium, Germany and Italy most divided
Belgian, German and Italian architects are more divided. In these countries, a significant part of the architects state that the contractor plays a role in the aesthetic choice in a project nowadays. About a third of architects see that contractors are partly responsible in the decision making process. However, more than a third of the architects in these countries indicate that the contractor has little or no influence in this area. This clearly shows that the contractor's role in this area is increasing, but there is also a large part that does not notice this development .

Lowest influence in Spain, the UK, The Netherlands and Poland.
Only 6% of the Spanish architects believe that the main contractor participates has a role when it comes to aesthetics. This percentage is the lowest in Europe. The majority of Spanish architects (77%) indicate that the main contractor has no influence at all on the decisions when it comes to the aesthetics of a building.

In the UK, the majority of British architects (72%) indicate that the main contractor has no role in the decision process regarding the aesthetics of a building. The same applies to the Dutch and Polish architects. In the Netherlands, 61% of the architects believe that the main contractor does not play a role in the decisions around aesthetics and in Poland this is 47%.

Conclusion
Aesthetics is seen as the primary task of the architect, but the influence of main contractors is increasing. In the full Q2 2017 report of the European architectural barometer this is described in more detail. Overall, the influence of architects in various stage of the building process is declining. Besides main contractors, there are other parties gaining influence as well (engineers, installers and so on). It is clear that this differs per country.