Would You Ask Your Doctor or Attorney These Things? is about how this licensed Architect has to deal with requests for half-baked work.
PATIENT-DOCTOR SCENARIO 1
Patient Janice: “Doc, I have a pain in my stomach.
Doctor Fred: “Hmm.”
Patient Janice: “I want you to cut my gut open, and then, because I don’t want to have to pay you to do a full and proper surgery on me, I’ll just take it from there with my Xacto knife and garden shears.”
Doctor Fred: “Janice, you’re out of your mind. I have to do the entire procedure from beginning to end, or nothing. I won’t be a party to this guaranteed bad outcome that will likely result in your death and extremely painful events.”
CLIENT-ATTORNEY SCENARIO 2
Client Steve: “Hey Beth, I just got arrested for hit and run and I’m in jail. You’re my one phone call.”
Attorney Beth: “Goodness. We need to start working on getting you out of there.”
Client Steve: “No, that’s okay. I just want you to talk to the judge for me and see if you can persuade him to go easy on me. I can handle everything else, including representing myself in court. I figure I’ll just pay you for your 15 minute phone call to the judge, okay?”
Attorney Beth: “Steve, not only is that unethical, it’s downright illegal and could get me disbarred if I tried to have such an ex parte communication with whomever the presiding judge might become. And do you know what they say about people representing themselves in court? They have a fool for a client. I can’t be part of this train wreck you’re mapping out to destroy your life.”
Client Steve: “Whatever. I guess I’ll call the ambulance chaser who has his face and phone plastered on the billboards in town…”
Okay. Understand the above? And YOU would never even think about doing anything like that, would you? Then why do people call and email Architects and suggest things like this:
ARCHITECT-CLIENT SCENARIO 3
Possible Client Ellsworth: “I need you to just help me design my house, like for maybe 2 hours or something. Just a scribble and I’ll take it from there…”
Architect Frank Right: “Excuse me? You only want to pay me for 2 hours to design your entire project and then you’re going to do all the rest on your own?”
Possible Client Ellsworth: “Yeah. I realize paying for a couple of hours could easily run into a few hundred bucks, but I guess I can do that…”
Architect Frank Right: “Seriously? You think a couple of hundred bucks is a lot to design your house? Let me help you understand a thing or two: First of all, when an Architect becomes licensed in any State, the State laws require them to take an oath to protect the Health, Safety & Welfare of the public (which includes, you, Ellsworth). We have to do a complete and proper job, from Programming, through Design Development and Construction Documents. Any Architect doing less is setting themselves and their clients up for big problems, because once the Architect starts anything, they are responsible. Even a scribble on the back of a napkin. Responsible. And no rational professional: Doctor, Lawyer or Architect is going to touch anything half-baked. They have to do a full, complete and proper job or nothing.”
Possible Client Ellsworth: “Yeah, yeah. I’ll call a draftsmen from the high school near me…I’ve got a scribble I did on the back of a gum wrapper to guide them.”
Is it now becoming clearer, why no Architect who wants to retain their license would not entertain such bits and pieces of “work?” Like any professional: Doctor, Lawyer, Engineer, Accountant and others, Architects have to perform complete and proper services or nothing. Anyone doing otherwise is begging for liability and problems for their “clients” and themselves, their builders and others entering the project. Just ask any Construction-Engineering-Architecture Attorney and they’ll say the same thing.
So: please select your Architect based on the good projects you see on their websites and the good things people say about them. Not about you trying to not pay them to do proper and complete project work for you.
And good luck with your projects.