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Over Easy

Project Management

David Metcalfe Associates (DMA) was engaged with a brief "to develop some projects to launch the building" and subsequently as project manager to deliver the commissions including Over Easy. DMA's responsibilities were to:-

  • Propose a theme for the commissions at Arc and identify commission opportunities

  • Draft artists' briefs for the commissions

  • Suggest and manage an appropriate artist selection process

  • Draft contracts for the selected artists, in consultation with Arc's solicitors

  • Raise additional funding for the commissions

  • Represent the artists' interests to the lead officer and management of the client organisation, the building architects, building project manager and other professionals involved in the building

  • Represent the client's interests to the artists

  • Assist the artists to identify and appoint appropriate technical consultants as required by each commission

  • Lead and liaise with the artist's design team on behalf of the artist and of the client

  • Manage the project budget in liaison with the artist and lead officer of the client

In the case of Over Easy the role also included to:-

  • Assess and evaluate alternative solutions to engineering issues

  • Assess and evaluate alternative fabrication methods for the work

  • Negotiate with contractors on behalf of the artist and the client over the issues of liability, cost and scheduling

David Metcalfe comments that the last three areas of responsibility, concerned with the technical aspects of fabricating and installing the work and complex legal issues, needed more specialist knowledge, and required input from the building project manager. He felt that these areas of expertise went beyond his expertise and unrealistically extended his original remit "to develop some projects to launch the building".

From the outset, the clients, Arc, made an artificial distinction between "building" and "art", although Over Easy was a permanent intervention into the fabric of the building. This distinction was articulated in a complex and unclear line of contractual responsibility between the artist, the artist's team, the design team and the construction team for the Arc building itself. As a result, neither the in-house project manager nor John Laing Construction, the building construction managers, took on overall responsibility for project managing Over Easy.

The project should have been taken on more directly by Arc and the building project manager, possibly at the expense of buying additional project management time, whether through extending the contract of John Laing Construction or through taking on another consultant. The delays in fabrication because of the complicated issues of liability would have been avoided had this overall project management role for both the building and Over Easy been taken on by one person on behalf of the client.

© Copyright Joanna Morland 2000