What We Do That Others Don’t is about the things this licensed Architect does in the design of custom houses that perhaps not all other design firms do.
For instance. Most Clients take this phrase for granted in our society: “Plans & Specs.” In other words, most people having a house designed for them ASSUME that their design firm is including detailed specifications.
Reality check: NO.
Most people would be shocked to hear this. But the reality is, most firms that design houses do NOT include detailed specifications. Mainly what they do is include a few text notes on the drawings, pointing at things like the outside walls of the elevations, stating terms like “siding.” And that’s pretty much it. Doesn’t that just horrify you? It should.
Specifications are no joke. Detailed specifications, written in a comprehensive CSI format (old school 1-16 or otherwise) provide the necessary requirements to direct the Contractor who is building your project what the quality levels are of the various materials, where to install them, how to make various connections, required wind speeds and other loading conditions, thicknesses, types and R values of insulations and how they are to be installed to give you the best thermal envelope, waterproof membranes under your roofing, types of wood in your cabinets and doors, type-thickness and energy values of your glass, psi of your concrete, flashing metals, gutters, downspouts, garage doors and about several thousand other things that can burn you big-time if not properly stipulated in detailed specifications.
So what does HOME ARCHITECTS® provide its Clients?
Detailed specifications. Usually 10+/- sheets worth (at 24″x36″ size with 10-point type). You just can’t properly specify a residential project in much less than that. Unless your Clients want to roll the dice with their Contractor and hope he’ll “do the right thing.” Note to self: with hundreds of thousands of dollars at stake, no Contractor is going to give away anything for free.
So what normally happens without specifications? Guess…Here it comes: The Contractor is going to make choices of materials and techniques that save him money while you continue to pay as if top-notch materials and systems were being used. In other words: secret value-engineering on the part of your Builder, without your knowledge, to result in a more profitable job for the Builder. And why not? If there aren’t any specs, why should the Contractor spend his hard-earned cash to give a Client something for nothing? They won’t do it.
In other words: Specifications (detailed) help to insure that you will get what you are paying for. HOME ARCHITECTS provides detailed specifications. And if you think that every Architect of houses or other designers do too, think again. It’s just not the case. And this Architect uses the state of the art in residential specifications: ArCHspec™, from the global professional architectural organization, ArCH (Architects Creating Homes). It doesn’t get any better than that.
2. RESPONSIVE COMMUNICATIONS
When was the last time you wanted to phone or email your Doctor, Lawyer, CPA or Architect “After Hours?” If you’ve ever had that frustrating experience, guess what? HOME ARCHITECTS ® answers its phone 365 days a year (yes, including Christmas) from 9AM to 9PM everyday (maybe a little later, if they’ve been up until 3AM working on your project, which happens frequently). And returns emails usually immediately, or certainly within a few hours. Even on Saturdays, Sunday and during the week, during normal office hours and after, until well after dark.
This Architect understands that your investment of several hundred thousand dollars or perhaps millions is probably the largest investment of your lifetime and takes their obligation to serve your needs seriously. No clerical menu trees to dial through. No irritating elevator muzak. You get to the Architect of your project on the first try, immediately. Now then, try calling your Doctor on a Sunday evening and see what happens. Or another Architect.
3. DOCUMENTED SUCCESSFUL PROFESSIONAL PROJECT PROCESS
Any Architect or designer that immediately starts drawing is just wasting your time and money. Because you are paying them to do that. Most people think that’s how Architects work. No. Architects should NOT begin immediately drawing. That wastes your time and money. Well, let’s see, what should happen first?
Hmm. How about asking you what you want?
Isn’t that a better place in which to start? There’s a name for that. It’s called PROGRAMMING. That’s the first step in the architectural project process. HOME ARCHITECTS wrote an online e-book about this process. You can download it for free here:
And don’t let the term “book” scare you. It’s only about 30 pages or so, with diagrams and other graphic images. After reading this, you’ll understand the process everyone should be using to design a house. And you’ll also understand that any other way doesn’t make sense.
Now then, are there other Architects that use a similar process? They should. That’s what they are taught, in major universities and while serving an apprenticeship at other firms for years. However, for some unknown reason, when it comes to a house, many designers tend to forget the basics and think the rules don’t apply, as if “it’s only a house, we don’t need to do that.” As the Client, spending hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars, HOME ARCHITECTS ® certainly understands that “By golly, it IS a house, and that deserves our undivided focus and best efforts!” The design of a house is one of the most complex tasks an Architect can undertake. That deserves all the skills and experience the design person can bring to bear while creating your dream house.
4. DESIGN AWARDS FOR RESIDENTIAL PROJECTS, SPECIALIZATION
This Architect has received multiple awards from National and Global professional Architectural organizations, many of them specifically for residential design projects, specifically custom SFR (Single Family Residential). That’s significant. Here’s a link to the 2017 ArCHdes™ design award winners. Scroll down. 5 of those are from this firm.
Do you want some person who designs grocery stores or car dealerships designing your house? Or do you want a specialist? Someone who really knows what they are doing? Did you know that the design and construction of houses has a entirely different Code book? It’s called the IRC (International Residential Code). It is almost a thousand pages. Do you really think that people designing office buildings or laboratories or Industrial plants know much, if anything about the IRC and the design of a single family house? Highly doubtful. Each of us only has so much time on Earth to become acquainted with things and with something as detailed as architecture, the people involved tend to focus on certain specialties. Just like a cardiac surgeon doesn’t fix fingers and toes. Professionals specialize, and are very good at their specialty. Were you aware that this applies to Architects, as well? In other words, the fact that this firm is called “HOME ARCHITECTS ®” says it all. That’s their specialty. They are very good at that. You deserve the best. You’ve worked your entire life to amass the wealth necessary for you to realize your dream house. Hire the best. A specialist.
5. MORE DETAILED DOCUMENTS
This results in fewer construction Change Orders. Why? Because your Contractor is looking for reasons to charge you more. Why? Because they make some mistakes while pricing your project and they’d like to make up that loss. Or: they simply would like to make more money that you have to pay them. However, if they bid a specific price, based on thorough, detailed drawings and specifications, there’s not going to be much they can point to and cry: “This wasn’t covered in the documents! I therefore demand that you pay me $25,000 more if you want me to provide this in your project!”
This happens everyday on most projects. Not very often on this Architect’s jobs. Why? Because this firm provides very thorough drawings and specifications. How does this help the Client? Because during construction, there is very little, if anything, the Builder can find that wasn’t properly covered in the documents. Almost nothing about which a Change Order can be based.
And if you don’t know what Change Orders are: they are dirty words to most Clients. Why: because that’s extra money your Contractor’s demanding from you, often to receive something you already thought you were supposed to be getting, included in the price.
So: don’t most Architects and other design firms provide detailed documents? Good Question. Answer: NO. And what you pay your Architect to provide detailed documents pales in cost to what the Contractor’s going to hit you with in Change Orders, if you don’t have detailed documents.
HOME ARCHITECTS ® provides detailed documents to help protect their Clients and get them the house they hoped for, when they sign the agreement to build it with their Contractor.
SUMMARY OF FEATURES THIS FIRM PROVIDES THAT OTHERS MAY NOT
2. Responsive Communications.
3. Documented Successful Professional Project Process.
4. Design Awards for Residential Projects, Specialization.
5. More Detailed Documents.
And there are more, but we wanted to keep this to 5 items. Can other firms provide some of the above good things? Of course. Do most of them provide all of the above? Doubtful.
Hire the best to design and manage your dream house: HOME ARCHITECTS ®. The name says it all.
tags: What We Do That Others Don’t, mountain, residential design, Cashiers, Highlands, Glenville, Lake Toxaway, Hendersonville, Aspen, Telluride, Asheville