​I’ve noticed that many of my clients speak to me about designing a building that looks good. Later, the very practical aspect of finances comes into the discussion because, whatever you are doing, there’s a limit; budget and aesthetics matter. But what if there were a way to get more for your money? What if your budget meant as much to your architect as the aesthetics of your project?

I’m looking out my window and I see a lot of houses. In the residential realm, there are a lot of things to make the project cost less: the dimensions of the room or in the laying out of plans. During construction, you want the dumpster to be as empty as possible. As a result, never do a 15-foot room, always 14 or 16 because all is done off of a 2 foot rule of thumb. After all, why not use everything you just bought? Then there’s maintenance and the energy cost ... but that’s not a differentiator.

This comes to mind because my wife and I just bought a house outside of Omaha. So, in addition to our Chicago location, we have a Greater Omaha office. When you decide on new construction of a house, there are a lot of ways this can be accomplished. It helps to determine the project delivery system and you’ll be better off if your architect or builder has the ability to bring about different options. For example, there’s finance-design-build, negotiated bid, or design build. If your architect or builder only has one way, you might want to think about that. Maybe there’s more than one way to do this. As a professional service, options make a difference.

When it comes to institutional projects, there are even more ways to finance these projects. Consider a memory care unit or housing for autistic kids; will it be for profit or not for profit? That decision will open up different lists for how to finance. Then there’s fundraising, private financing, government oriented (TIFs) financing, grants, and a number of other methodologies.

Budget and aesthetics matter. You need a trusted advisor who’s interested in you financially succeeding. You can then continue your mission of serving more people. You don’t just need a pretty building; you need a pretty building that will operate efficiently so that you succeed.