What’s Unique and What’s Not: Frequently Asked Questions

Do I really need an architect for my project?

Most state statutes define the scope of a project that needs to have a professional architect. Many municipalities also augment that requirement, so it’s best to check on this where you live.

Some minor projects do not require a building permit (again, check locally); however, most do.

If your project needs a permit, it needs –– and you will benefit from –– using professional architecture services. You can get a free report on “Why Architects” by clicking here. You can also download a video on the advantages of using an architect at https://youtu.be/FbR4_V1hzpg

What makes you and your firm unique? Why should we hire you over “Firm X”?

First, what is not unique: Every licensed architect has successfully completed a rigorous education, intern development hours and passed a three-day licensing exam that is very demanding.

Every licensed architect has experience, some more than others. Every architect has pictures of past work.

None of this separates one architect from another to any considerable degree. We are all licensed (though some may not be insured), we all have experience (much that is applicable to your project) but few or none of us have experience with you or your specific project.

What makes our firm unique:

Specialization: Expertise in design for special needs (autism, MS, mobility challenges), aging in place, in-law suites, senior living, assisted living, skilled care, memory care units, and clinics.

MBA in finance: Dollars matter; we can assist you with financing strategies. We consider energy, maintenance, re-sale, and long term costs as well as initial construction costs.

Former realtor: Again, dollars matter. We understand where you can invest money that will leverage greater resale value. We understand how commercial real estate works and where how you can negotiate to your advantage.

Broad interests: From being an adjunct professor and former pastor to singing, playing competitive tennis to serving on a number of boards, my world is bigger than architecture. The insights from all endeavors help me generate creative solutions.

Staff with specialties: We have individuals with passions in historic architecture (and who serves on a Historic Design Council), in contemporary design, and an interior designer. Internal collaboration with your participation in the design process helps generate optimal solutions.

You matter, not your project size; we value the client: The size of the project does not matter; we will work with you on the project that means so much to you whether its construction cost is in the thousands or in the millions.

Unique personalities: We will be working together with you as an integral part of the design team. When we meet, we will both better know if the “chemistry” is a good fit.

What are your professional fees for my project?

We all want to know how much things are going to cost, and architects want to provide the best answer they can to this question. The reality is that the answer is, “it depends”… it depends on a host of factors among which are the size and complexity of the project, the site challenges (which we do not yet know), the number of stakeholders involved (which we do not yet know), the architectural program (which we do not yet know), the project delivery system that best fits your needs (which we do not yet know) and how decisive the client(s) may be (you guessed it - we do not know that either).

We approach each project with a process that has been developed over 40 years of practice –– one that allows a client to take “baby steps” and maintain total control and at the same time enables us to streamline efforts so that construction cost overruns are minimized or eliminated. That process begins with a “Discovery Phase” that is hourly. In that phase, we work closely with you to develop your Needs and Options and Concept Design(s). The product of that Discovery Phase is a defined scope of work from which you can obtain construction budget numbers before proceeding.

If the concept and the parameter cost estimate are acceptable, we can proceed either hourly with an estimated fee investment or as a fixed fee. If the parameter estimate is unacceptable, you have limited your fee investment (we’ve not gone through complete working drawings) and can cost-effectively “tweak” the concept to better align with your budget.

We can also refer you to an independent website that offers typical professional fees if one knows the general type and scope of their project: http://architecturalfees.com/