This is one of our B2B (business-to-business) web pages. If you’re an owner looking for information about our architecture services and related topics, please visit our Start Here web page. If you’re a contractor, builder, subcontractor or related trade, this page is for you!
Our work as the owner’s advocate gives us a unique perspective. We have a different relationship with the owner, different conversations and different set of responsibilities that give us great insight. We use this insight and experience to compliment our contractor partners.
Here are the top six things you should know about us:
1. Collaborative Design
We prefer to bring our contractors, subcontractors and vendors into the initial stage of the design process. This lets you contribute as the project develops rather than waiting to see it during the bidding stage. Collaborative design can yield better communication, tighter bids and a more efficient construction process by leveraging the experience of the entire project team.
2. Value of Design
Design should be effective and efficient in three dimensions. For us, that means design isn’t just about appearance. It’s about integration of the site plan, floor plan(s), form, style, function and details. If one of those doesn’t succeed, it diminishes the others.
Collaborative design allows you to provide cost and schedule data in the design phases. That helps us create a more efficient design: we search for solutions that make the best use of the project budget. For example, finding efficiency in the plans, structural package and buildings systems allows us to include higher quality components and put more dollars into the wow factor things like kitchens, baths and finishes. That makes our projects more competitive against others delivered at the same price.
Design is especially important for our renovation and addition projects. We can’t just focus on what appears to be the immediate scope of work since these projects so often have a significant impact on the building systems of the property. In these situations, effective design means delivering creative solutions that appear original to the property while solving the problems that made the work necessary.
Integration is the most important aspect of design. It’s not enough to have a vision for the project – that vision has to be built. Integrating the parts of the building, from the structure to the building systems, continues to become more complex as our building codes evolve and more owners are considering voluntary green building programs.
Integration starts from the first visit to the site, before any lines are drawn on paper. If we want to be successful, we can’t just throw in some sustainable or more efficient systems at the end of the design or during construction. We focus on passive systems, durable components and design that incorporates natural attributes like day lighting with buildings systems.
That keeps subs from having to design systems on-site as they go or respond to the work of previous subs who didn’t anticipate the needs of other project team members. Using a collaborative design method to anticipate issues before they arise yields a higher level of integration, reduces construction time and helps avoid call-backs for all sorts of issues.
4. Why We Draw
We draw to document decisions made by our owners though drawing also empowers members of the project team. It gets everyone on the same page: since we’re all looking at the same thing we know what other members expect. This encourages each team member to offer suggestions that improve the design, anticipate challenges and coordinate work.
We occasionally encounter a contractor who views detailed drawings as a waste of money. This we’ll-build-it-as-we’ve-always-built-it mentality doesn’t allow for the exploration that produces good design or integration. It also fails to account for evolving building codes and leaves the contractor with little or no opportunity for enforcement since fewer decisions were documented.
Contractors who view detailed drawings as a waste of money may be wary of drawings used just for enforcement or maybe they’ve had a bad experience with an architect on a prior project. While there’s no perfect set of drawings, we view the drawings as a tool that will help our team members get the work done right the first time. That’s how we all make the money (including the owner) and avoid problems while delivering a project of which we can be proud.
5. Complimentary Services
How many times, in the course of chasing a job or during a project, have you found yourself doing something that’s outside the skill set that you’d like to offer? Have you offered design and other services just to keep an owner from getting away from you? If you’re having to figure out how to bill for your time (like a consultant) or you’re giving away time helping an owner get ready to sign your agreement, you may be outside of your typical scope of work… and you’re probably losing money.
You’ll be most successful when you identify the core skill set that you’d like to offer and stay within that limit. We compliment that skill set by working with owners on all sorts of issues that would otherwise take up your time and be outside of your competencies. With the owner’s permission, we can write your company into our agreement with the owner to create the expectation of a negotiated bid from you – this allows you to work on the project only when needed rather than spending time and energy trying to keep yourself attached to the project. When the design and other issues are resolved, you move into bidding just like a typical project.
If you’ve read the previous points, you know that we’ll save you more than just time. Our interest is in building partnerships with contractors and our collaboration makes us all better project team members.
6. Education, Networking & Forecasting
It takes a tremendous amount of time, energy and resources to keep up with the continuous evolution of our industry. In addition to our state and professional association training obligations, we consume a significant amount of information through continuing education events, community service, fellowship and social media.
The benefit to this company and to our partners is our ability to forecast emerging issues so that we can be proactive rather than reactive. This gives us all a much better sense of how our time and resources are best spent.
We hope the spirit of this page, just like the spirit of our practice, is one of partnership and collaboration. As you can read on our About page, we believe good architecture is only possible through the efforts of a dedicated and gracious team. We’re thankful for all the teams of which this company has been a part and we look forward to establishing many new relationships.
If we don’t already know you, please take a moment to send us a note through our Contact page and use our social media links to get connected. You can also find more information on our Services page. Thanks!