New Years Resolutions for Our Clients by @FrankCunhaIII

2013 is going to be great ~ Sending you lots of love, hope, peace, health, happiness and prosperity! Sincerely, Frank & the I.L.M.A. Team

2013 is going to be great ~ Sending you lots of love, hope, peace, health, happiness and prosperity!                               Sincerely, Frank & the I.L.M.A. Team

1) Pay more for design

Benefit to client:          Save more money on construction

Usually, given more time and money designers can provide Owners with a higher level of detail.  Ultimately, more detailed construction drawings result in less unknowns and contractor change orders.

2) Spend money upfront on construction

Benefit to client:          Save more money on monthly bills

Spending money upfront on higher-end, premium energy-efficient items can ultimately reduce operating costs.  Work with your Architect to see where you can get your highest return on initial investment.

3) Be flexible with the look and feel

Benefit to client:          Get what you pay for

Some times clients have preconceived notions on the outcome of their projects, which is fine (I like to collaborate), it actually helps us narrow down the look and feel of the project.  However, the professional has undergone many years of training in most cases 8-10 years before earning a license to practice Architecture.  If you are serious about your project you should stay flexible and strongly consider your Architect’s suggestions to help work toward achieving the best design possible. 

4) Engage your Architect for Extended Construction Administration Services

Benefit to client:          Only the Architect can interpret the construction drawings to ensure that the design intent of the project is being met; The additional cost for the Architect will likely result in overall savings to the Owner

Whether it’s a small project or a large one and whether it’s a new build, repair and restoration, or alterations and renovations it is important to have the continuous support of your Architect.  The money you spend on professional services will likely pale in comparison to the change orders that may result if the Architect is not involved.  Since the Architect has liability, the Architect will be the strongest advocate for the Owner while working with the Contractor to ensure that the intent of the design is upheld.

 5) Be Creative

Benefit to client:          Stand out from the competition

Sometimes it’s OK to blend in and sometimes it is not.  If you want to stand out and be noticed, try to let loose and work with your Architect to come up with something fresh and exciting.  Great design doesn’t necessarily have to cost more money.

6) Build a Team and Have “Charrettes”

Benefit to client:          Conventional design build methods creates tension between the Owner, Contractor, and the Design Team

Teamwork is extremely important in design and construction because getting a high-performance project requires that builders challenge conventional ways of doing things. Integrated design focusing on a holistic design approach can include what Builders and Architects call a “charrette,” a meeting or series of meetings bringing together the designer, builder, and subcontractors to discuss the project and swap ideas.  This approach is much more successful and can save the Owner money since the team is working towards a common goal instead of protecting each entity’s own interest.

7) Don’t Panic: Assign Accountability not Blame

Benefit to client:          Integrated design will help achieve greater results

Things can and usually do go wrong in any relationship. When a crisis arises the primary need is to correct the problem, not to affix blame. “Accountability is important—but the most important thing is to find the solution first. It’s best not to panic.”

Also Check Out:

We would love to hear from you on what you think about this post. We sincerely appreciate all your comments.

If you like this post please share it with friends. And feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss ideas for your next project!

Sincerely,
Frank Cunha III
I Love My Architect – Facebook

FC3 ARCHITECTURE+DESIGN, LLC
P.O. Box 335, Hamburg, NJ 07419
e-mail: fcunha@fc3arch.com
mobile: 201.681.3551
direct: 973.970.3551
fax: 973.718.4641
web: http://fc3arch.com
Licensed in NJ, NY, PA, DE, CT.


How Do Architects Calculate Their Fees?

Ask the Architect


by Frank Cunha III

There are a few ways, but here are a few true and tried techniques that may work for you:

1.  Hours & Hourly Rates
Calculate the fee based on actual hours of service.  It is important that even if you are a single practitioner or small office that you calculate the fee based on different rates based on the work being done, even if by the same people.  For example, you should bill a higher rate to do “principal work” like reviewing and signing and sealing drawings and specs vs “field work” like documenting existing conditions or “designer work” like drafting details.  Have set prices for each level of service (so as not to under-bill or over-bill for different tasks).

2. Cost of the Construction Project
Take a percentage of the overall “brick and mortar” cost for a project.  The percentage may change as the size and scope of the project changes.  This is tricky as some clients may or not be ready for the soft costs associated with design fees.

3. By sheets
Take the number of construction drawings and put a “per sheet” price on it.  This works for simpler projects often referred to as “bread and butter” design work which can include repeat fit out work, small residential or commercial projects, or repeat work where you can anticipate the amount of effort required to successfully complete a project.  (Hint: You may want to have different prices established for sheet sizes and typical notes and standard details -vs- non-typical design work).

4. Combination of 1, 2. 3.
I like this method best.  Using the techniques developed above work backwards and forwards to check and cross check your fee.  If that doesn’t work, here’s one more technique that might be useful:

Image: (C) Ed Arno, New Yorker Cartoonist

5. SWAG
Take a “Scientific wild @$$ guess” based on your experience with projects of similar size and scope.  Often Architects will go back and look at previous projects to determine how many hours is required to complete a project.

Further Reading: Calculating the Architect’s Fee: Is There a Better Way? By Mike Koger, AIA, July 3, 2018

Good Luck!

We would love to hear from you on what you think about this post.  We sincerely appreciate all your comments.

If you like this post please share it with friends. And feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss ideas for your next project!

Sincerely,
Frank Cunha III
I Love My Architect – Facebook

FC3 ARCHITECTURE+DESIGN, LLC
P.O. Box 335, Hamburg, NJ 07419
e-mail: fcunha@fc3arch.com
mobile: 201.681.3551
direct: 973.970.3551
fax: 973.718.4641
web: http://fc3arch.com
Licensed in NJ, NY, PA, DE, CT.


How Can Architects Generate More Work and Make More Money? by @FrankCunhaIII

Ask the Architect


by Frank Cunha III

Architects should be the leaders in the building industry, not just a consultant or a small part of a team. The simple truth is that taking on more work and taking greater risks is not for everyone. Owning a firm and taking on responsibilities beyond design is not an area you might want to dive into – or – it might be. Architects have the power to create their communities and shape their destiny. However, an Architect must be “proactive” instead of “reactive” and face larger risk in order to see larger rewards. The Architect is one of the first team members to have the ear of the client on a project and should not immediately hand the work over to other team members and lose a larger piece of the pie. Take a deep breath, understand the power you have at that moment and be creative about how you can become a stakeholder in the project. You can invest your fee in the project or go as far as become a stakeholder by financing the project or becoming one of the financiers of the project. Of course this philosophy is not for everyone. Not everyone is a risk taker so it is important to know yourself and the level of risks/rewards you are willing to accept.

Architects have the power to create their communities and shape their destiny. 

Architects should be”Builders” instead of reducing the scope of their work and being specialized players in the development of a project. One approach is to be the “Construction Manager” on the project. The beauty of this philosophy as that you can calculate and manage your risks and determine how to proceed by educating yourself and the client. Of course you must have the proper insurance for your venture. There is insurance available for almost anything for a price so it’s important to make sure that you speak to your insurance agent to make sure that you are properly covered before embarking on your venture.  As the Architect’s responsibilities shrink so does his/her control and his/her rewards. By simply taking on the role of a traditional Architect your fees are immediately reduced.  The Architect can even take on the role of cost estimator by creating a data base from recent schedule of values and contractor’s application for payments. Again, we have this knowledge and experience but are we using it to it’s fullest extent?

Another way to gain control of a project is to include a simple bar chart in the specifications and/or in the General Contractor’s contract.  Avoid submitting “builder sets” because complete drawings will help lower your risk dramatically. The developer’s/contractor’s vision of a project may not be the same as yours so make sure that all the important details are properly illustrated in the construction drawings regardless if it is a public bid or a developer’s builder set.

Another crucial step in becoming a larger stakeholder in the project is to know your Banker. You can do this by joining an advisory board for your local bank or having lunch with your banker. Bankers can be valuable in educating Architects on how the finances of a project work. Your Banker will probably tell you that he/she will need an appraisal, an estimate, sketches of the proposed project, and a history of your persona! assets to determine whether the project is even feasible. So take you Banker out to lunch and it will help you learn about current market information. Remember that Banker’s like to lend the bank’s money to professionals because they know that professionals are educated, responsible, and cautious, which means that the bank’s money will be safer.

It is important to understand OPM – other people’s money – and what it can do for you. So take your accountant out to lunch! It is important to learn how to use other people’s money to help you realize your project.  Investors and bankers allow the Architect to take on more risk thereby increasing their fees and cash flow. Architects have to start putting projects together so that they can have greater control over a project’s outcome. By making money and
by providing extra services for which the Architect is properly compensated it will grant the Architect access to creating and shaping a community.

There are 5 components to every Performa:
1. Buy (Acquisition and Closing Costs)
2. NE and Build
3. Soft Costs (Legal, accounting, contingency, surveys, insurance, utilities, operation and maintenance, etc.)
4. Marketing (Real-estate, lease broker, etc.)
5. Profit

Every Architect interested in generating more work, making more money, and having more control over his/her projects should learn to put a Performa together in addition to pretty sketches which can enhance one’s communities.  Since every situation is different it is important to have a good staff of consultants – lawyers, accountants, bankers, tax consultants, insurance representatives, etc. working with you. Get to know your key advisors (“Mastermind Group”) and pay them well because their work can greatly impact the success of your ventures. Having a great team of experts whom you trust is important to assure that you are minimizing your risks.

Harness your power as an Architect to become a Builder.

Unfortunately, these lessons are not taught in school, however, I do encourage you the reader to educate yourself about the possibilities of becoming more involved in a project. Harness your power as an Architect to become a Builder. As Architects take on more responsibility and start to make more money in their practices Architecture as a whole will prosper because with money comes power. With power comes the potential to focus on rebuilding communities and time to sculpt meaningful Architecture.
Do not stop learning how the Architect can take on more responsibility and attain larger rewards, remember RISK = REWARD and having control over a project is the key to success.

We would love to hear from you on what you think about this post.  We sincerely appreciate all your comments.

If you like this post please share it with friends. And feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss ideas for your next project!

Sincerely,
Frank Cunha III
I Love My Architect – Facebook

FC3 ARCHITECTURE+DESIGN, LLC
P.O. Box 335, Hamburg, NJ 07419
e-mail: fcunha@fc3arch.com
mobile: 201.681.3551
direct: 973.970.3551
fax: 973.718.4641
web: http://fc3arch.com
Licensed in NJ, NY, PA, DE, CT.


How Can Architects Produce More Effective Construction Documents? by @FrankCunhaIII

Ask the Architect


by Frank Cunha III

What are some inherent problems with producing Construction Drawings?

  • Some details are not build-able.
  • Budget.
  • Schedule.
  • Inaccurate references and/or dimensions.
  • Missing information.
  • Coordination (or lack of).

How can we make the construction process better?

  • Make better CDs (drawings and specifications) upfront instead of waiting for a problem in the field to solve later.
  • Make drawings sufficient. Do not keep adding drawings, but coordinate the ones you have – in other words know when to say when. The drawings will never be as complete as you would like, but do not compromise the coordination of the drawings.
  • Remember: the drawings have to be sufficient to meet the required “standard of care.”
  • As time goes on the cost of a mistake rises (exponentially). It is important to avoid mistakes early on preferable before bid or construction phase.
  • Quality Control (QC) is too late at the end of CD phase or Construction phase.

What are some goals during the Construction Document phase?

  • Productivity (design with standards for efficiency when ever possible).
  • Thorough, user friendly (for the code officials, general contractor, and subcontractors).
  • Sufficient information.
  • Good coordination.
  • Consistency (look and feel of drawings).

How can Architect, Engineer, or Designer manage information more efficiently?

  • Have standard sheets and details (cover sheets, partition types, toilet details, window details, door schedule and details, finish schedule, millwork/casework schedule and details, sealant schedule, miscellaneous metals schedules, etc.)
  • Focus on “atypical” details.
  • Show dimensions, quantities on a single drawing to avoid conflicts. Do not repeat similar notes. Put all of typical notes on one detail and refer other details back to typical detail.
  • Follow principle of single statement – reduction of redundancy.
  • Be frugal: use time and resources wisely.
  • Avoid using similar scales (i.e., 1/8” and 1/16” OR 1/4” and 1/2”) whenever possible because information will be similar. Jump up or down at least 2 scales to avoid redundancy.
  • How are words and #’s perceived? Reference with words rather than #’s. Keep key notes straightforward and simple.
  • Wall section should be a “road map” like a plan where vertical dimensions and details are referenced. Avoid referencing typical conditions where possible.
  • Think of CDs as a story board (i.e., “defrag” your working drawings like you “defrag” you computer). Begin with the end in mind!
  • Include a schedule and instruction system at the front of the set to make it easier for the contractor to reference. Do not split up details that are related (i.e., keep plan, details, section details together not on ‘standard” sheets 20 drawings away from referenced drawing; keep references close, preferably on the same/next sheet when possible). This will make the subcontractor’s work easier and the construction process more efficient.
  • Save time by creating schedules for sealants and miscellaneous metals so you do not have to include them in every detail.
  • Coordinate, cross-reference, and remove redundancies from construction drawings and specifications.

How can an Architect, Engineer, or Designer save time on Typical Details?

  • Create a default: Select the most common type of door and state that is the typical door unless otherwise noted. Try to minimize the documentation of exceptions by creating different typical conditions. This way you only have to document the exceptions or atypical situations and avoid redundancy.
  • Try to figure out what is different that the default and illustrate those conditions.

We would love to hear from you on what you think about this post.  We sincerely appreciate all your comments.

If you like this post please share it with friends. And feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss ideas for your next project!

Sincerely,
Frank Cunha III
I Love My Architect – Facebook

FC3 ARCHITECTURE+DESIGN, LLC
P.O. Box 335, Hamburg, NJ 07419
e-mail: fcunha@fc3arch.com
mobile: 201.681.3551
direct: 973.970.3551
fax: 973.718.4641
web: http://fc3arch.com
Licensed in NJ, NY, PA, DE, CT.