Architectural concrete requires much attention to detail from both the designer and the builder. A realistic awareness of concrete's potential and limitations will help the architect prepare design details that the builder can execute at reasonable cost. It is virtually impossible to do vertical cast-in-place work that is completely uniform in color and free from bugholes. Smoothly formed surfaces can also be blotched by color changes, poorly consolidated concrete, and leakage at lining joints or corners. To overcome these problems, some designers specify patterned and textured surfaces rather than smooth ones.
Although quality and detailing of formwork are of critical importance for architectural concrete, other factors are vitally important in influencing architectural effects. Uniformity is a key player in achieving pleasing surfaces with minimal defects and variations in color and texture. The contract should leave no important items open to the imagination or interpretation of the builder, yet leave room for the builder to use his expertise. Also, a prebid conference among architect, engineer, and prospective bidders is a good idea so the owner's expectations and requirements can be discussed. A preconstruction mockup could be built before starting construction of major work. Joint treatment, dimensional tolerances, and camber should also specified in the form design.