WORKING WITH AN ARCHITECT
Few people realize how complicated it is to build – until they find themselves lost in the maze of design options, building codes, zoning laws, land development codes, contractors, and so on. The Architect and Staff of Robert E. Taylor, A.I.A., Architect, P.A. have the education, training, experience, and vision to guide you through the design and construction process.
From helping you define what you want to build to getting the most out of your construction dollar. We see the big picture, creating total environments that satisfy functional needs and exciting, dynamic spaces in which to work and live. Whether you are remodeling, adding on, or building from scratch, we can guide the way. Architects are trained to solve problems in creative ways. With our broad knowledge of design and construction, we can show you alternatives and options you might never think of on your own. The end result will be a well-designed project that meets your needs, within your budget and time frame.
An Architect’s services are a wise investment for the money. Our office uses state-of-the-art computer technology for three dimensional modeling and production drawings, as well as the traditional means of quick pencil sketches to convey ideas. A well-conceived project can be built more efficiently and economically. We create and work with you. As ideas evolve, changes can be made on paper; much less expensively than when construction is underway. Thorough drawings make it easier for contractors to accurately price and build your project. A well-designed house has a higher resale value. A well-designed store draws customers. A well-designed work environment attracts employees and increases productivity.
Building in today’s marketplace is a complex undertaking requiring numerous decisions. Proper selection of materials and assemblies must be considered while blending conceptual with reality. RET AIA understands these complexities. We remain “on board” during construction to observe and report construction activities, to enhance coordination of the contractor’s efforts while endeavoring to protect you from defects in workmanship and materials.
Steps toward building your dream:
Architectural projects involve several steps. Typically, they go through detailed phases. On smaller projects, some steps may be combined. On others there may be additional activities required to fully refine the scope, expand insight to existing conditions or assist in evaluations of multiple construction methods or cost parameters.
Time allocated to programming is probably the most valuable time you will spend with us. We discuss requirements for your building; how many rooms, what the functions will be, who will use it and how. It is also the time when you begin to test the fit between what you want, what you need, and your budget. Allow creative ideas to flow. Be prepared to explore new ideas. Be frank about how you want the end result to feel and work. There will be lots of questions to help us get a better sense of your goals to determine if your expectations match your budget. We will suggest changes based upon our knowledge and experience, and your budget.
Once we have defined what is to be built, we can do a series of quick sketches, known as schematic designs. These sketches will show general arrangement of rooms and of the building on the site. They are meant to show concepts, possible approaches or solutions. Each approach may be given a rough guess of possible cost. There are many details to be established. Cost guesses at this phase will be very general, but are provided to aid in decision making. It is hard to predict market conditions, availability of materials, and other unforeseen situations that change costs. Discuss with us, the need to include an appropriate contingency to cover cost changes that arise as the design matures.
In this phase, the Architect prepares more detailed drawings to illustrate other aspects of the proposed design. Floor Plans show all rooms in the correct size and shape. Exterior elevations and Site Plans show what the building will look like and how it sits on your property. We can draw the building in 3-D to help you visualize it better.
When looking at these drawings, try to imagine yourself in and using the spaces. We will help you understand the arrangement of spaces and how one circulates through them. Drawings help you to get a good sense of what it will look like. We discuss various types of flooring, wall and ceiling finishes, door types, window styles, etc.
A Construction Outline will be prepared to delineate materials and finishes desired within the building. Based on these drawings and decisions, our office staff can prepare a more detailed opinion of probable cost, though final costs will depend on market conditions. We encourage you to review every element with us to make sure you are getting the most from your construction dollar.
Detailed drawings and specifications are prepared, which the Contractor will use to establish actual construction cost, obtain permits and build the project. These drawings and specifications become part of the contract. When construction documents are finished, you are ready to hire the General Contractor or Builder.
Bidding or Negotiation
There are a number of ways to select a contractor. If you already have someone you want to work with, you might send construction documents to just him or her and negotiate fees and costs. You may wish to choose among several contractors. Our office can prepare bidding documents, which consist of drawings and specifications, an invitation to bid and instructions to bidders. Bidding documents may be sent to several contractors, who, within a given time period, will submit a Lump Sum Bid for the cost for building your project.
While the Architect can recommend contractors and assist in the selection process, the final choice is up to you. Some people prefer to act as their own contractor to do all or part of the construction, when the law will allow it. This may save you money, but will add challenges and perhaps hidden costs later on. Discuss the pros and cons of being your own contractor with your Architect to help you decide what will work best.
This final step is often the most anxiety-laden part of the process. Up until now, your project has been confined to discussions, planning, two-dimensional drawings, and perhaps a 3-D model. When construction begins, your project moves from the abstract to a physical reality.
The Architect’s involvement does not stop with the preparation of construction documents. Our office provides construction administration services. These services include assisting you in hiring the Contractor, making site visits to generally oversee construction, review and approve the Contractor’s applications for payment, and keep you informed of the progress and quality of the work. We review shop drawings and submittal data (for materials proposed for use in the project) and assist in color and material selections. If there are changes, we produce drawings and narratives to define them. We hold monthly meetings to enhance communications and overall coordination.
The path to a completed project is paved with lots of challenges and some uncertainty. There are literally hundreds of decisions to be made. Decisions which will have a significant impact on how the project looks and functions over time. The Architect can ease the way by helping you avoid wrong turns, and can direct you to solutions you never considered. The end result will be a unique building project created to meet your needs, express your individuality, and provide enjoyment for everyone who uses it.