I will help you envision and plan your project before any construction takes place. Think about it: building something, and then being unhappy with the results is frustrating and expensive. I will help you explore the possibilities before any construction takes place, then help get your vision built.
After renovating his house, a friend gave this advice: “spend a lot of money (and time and energy) getting the drawings right, then during construction, don’t make any changes.” This is like the old carpenters’ advice, “measure twice, cut once.” Changes during construction are much more expensive than changes to a drawing; and good planning saves time, money and headaches.
Once construction begins, I will help you manage the process. I will track the contractor’s progress, and – if you wish – evaluate their requests for payment. If unforseen conditions or expenses come up, I will help you evaluate them and will advise you.
My goal is always to understand what you want – in your living or working place – and to help you achieve it. I will listen and try to “hear” the problem, even if you can’t come right out and put it into words. Clients have told me “I don’t know how you did it, but that’s what I wanted, even though I couldn’t say it.”
“Why not just hire a builder?”
Builders are trained in how to build; I am trained in helping you decide what and why to build. You and I will explore the possibilities before you spend money on construction.
And then I will communicate with your contractor to get it built. This means that I will be the one answering questions from your contractor, coordinating the many details involved, and representing your wishes.
“Aren’t architects expensive?”
Compared to construction costs, drawings are inexpensive. I will help you create a cohesive vision for the final product, so that your construction money is spent where it matters to you most. Construction can be expensive; but money spent on planning is money well spent. I am also likely to find ways you could save money. Yes, an architect can actually save you money, and the result can be a better job and a happier customer.
For estimating purposes, on residential projects, the architect’s fee can be 13-15% of the construction budget. On commercial projects, it can be more in the 10% range. Because projects vary a lot, I am usually asked to do an individual estimate of my fee for that project before I begin work.
“I’ve heard that architects try to tell people what they should want.”
Yes, some architects do this, but this is not my philosopy. I will listen and help you focus in on what you really want; then help you make it so.
“How does it work?”
Typically there are 3 phases of the process: Design, Construction Documents, and Construction Monitoring.
Design: This is where you and I create the vision.
Construction Documents: I produce the drawings and specifications that communicate to the builder what is to be built.
Construction Monitoring: I follow and observe the construction process, clarify anything that is not clear to the contractor, evaluate additional costs if they arise, advise you on the process.
Sometimes there is a fourth phase, that is Bidding & Negotiation. This is where you seek prices from more than one contractor, and then choose the contractor you want to work with. I will help you present the information to the contractors so they are all bidding on the same thing, and help you evaluate their prices. This phase makes sense if you don’t already have a contractor; and it would take place after the Construction Document phase.