As the age old saying goes..you get what you pay for. As a licensed architect and practitioner myself, I often get asked by prospective clients what I can offer them and how my services compare to that of designers. What they often fail to realize though is that they are comparing apples to oranges. It is proven that an architect can help save a significant amount of money on a project by accurately understanding the clients anticipated budget /desired program and site constraints from the get go. This all results in avoiding errors or conflicts in the drawings and hence reducing time and money spend on costly redo’s and alterations during construction. A big no no…
Let me give an example of a residential project for which a client decided to interview an architect and a designer. After the interview it turned out that the architects fee was twice that of the designer. As you might have guessed the client decided that they would rather pay less money on design so they could use that savings towards a brand new pool they had planned in the backyard. What could possibly go wrong right? So the design began…….
During the development of the floorpan, the designer failed to notice that there were some platting issues with the property as well as an existing utility easement that cut off 20’-0” of the Northern corner of the property. Furthermore the designer did not pay attention the drainage issues on the property resulting in flooding during the wet season. Hey ..wait a minute…why would he… this was not included in his design services right?? Let’s fast forward. When the time came to submit the drawings for permit review with the city, the client anxiously wanted to get started as soon as possible. As you might have guessed, the project got delayed by 3 months due to the platting issue, and the picture perfect house the client had worked on so hard with the designer needed to be drastically altered to fit on the site, thereby reducing the beloved family room that looked so perfect. All of this ultimately added….you guessed it….a substantial amount of money and time to the project, not to mention the countless aggregations and even a tear or two. After 9 months the house finally got finished, but it did not turn out as the client had hoped. It was a compromise! Furthermore, the project had blown the budget thereby saying…. bye bye to the highly anticipated pool.
What I want to point out with this story…..Architects are design professionals who take great pride in the work they do! They hold degrees and licenses similar to doctors and lawyers. You wouldn’t trust a non licensed doctor to operate on your body, so why would you let someone without a license design your dream home which is supposed to keep you and your loved ones safe. Architects approach design as an all inclusive approach taking all facets into account. The client-architect relationship tends to be very personal, involving discussions of habits, hobbies, tastes, and even relationships. Why is all of this important…Because the architect is trying to gain an understanding of who you are..in order to design a space that best fits you and your financial needs.