to ASK other architects
practices range from large firms, small partnerships, to individual
sole proprietors. Each has advantages and disadvantages.
I strongly encourage you to interview several,
before hiring one. Not only will it be much easier
to see the great differences in available services and fee structures,
but I think my efforts will become very clear. However, don't
take my word for it, just ask the other architects a few of these
Do they design anything other than houses?
other building types, a house commission often has two owners with
differing tastes and goals for their home design.
To fully understand the nuances inherently involved
requires a practice limited exclusively to homes.
greater amount of time is needed refining the design, which is why many
architects place a limit on the number of revisions covered by their
fee. Further, larger firms often pass residential design work
to their interns to save money, resulting
in a home lacking the benefits of a seasoned designer. By
contrast, I have structured my practice as a sole proprietor,
every call, email, meeting is handled by me personally, with every
design detail originating from my two decades of experience
working only with residential projects.
their office ever been sued?
architect learns very early the horror stories of law suits
by dissatisfied homeowners, in fact, it is rare for an architect to
complete a career without one. Professional liability
is a necessity and the industry standard agreement between homeowner
and architect (American Institute of Architect's form B101) is
specifically written to reduce the architect's responsibilities,
thereby limiting liability exposure. As a result, most
are more concerned with avoiding ownership of decisions and
disclaimers for their recommendations. I prefer the
reverse, the more hands on I am, the greater control I can have making
house meet your expectations. More
importantly, motivation to please my client is the best
homeowner with regrets.
many projects are on their website?
the typical architect's website, you will find great attention placed
on a laundry list of flashy projects. Quantity is
too often mistaken for credibility and the race to accumulate a body of
work soon over shadows the work itself. The use of a public
building for self promotion can be understandable, but a private
residence is another story. I value the relationships I have
developed with my clientele and respect the personal nature of their
family's home. To preserve that intimacy, I am reluctant to
publish a plan or photograph. Life's pace is fast and
stressful, I try to create homes that become
sanctuaries where a family comes together to take refuge.
For an environment to feel truly safe, each room
must be yours, shared by no one but those you invite in, a private
My practice tries to maintain that possibility.
their fees ever increase?
architects base their fees on a percentage of the construction cost,
their trade organization (American Institute of Architects)
recommends 6% to 12% or in other cases a job can be billed by
Rarely does a house remain the same size or quality of finish
through the course of design and construction. As it
increases, architects try to capitalize on it, by increasing their
compensation. An experienced architect should be able to
accurately assess a project's requirements from the beginning.
I do this and provide a quoted, all-inclusive, fixed fee.
What other architects view as extra services to
additionally, I include in my base proposal. So once my
services and fee are agreed upon, there is no more anxiety about time
spent on the phone with me or requests to change the design.
My fee structure encourages dialog, so I get to know
your needs better, to provide you with the best possible home.
is their dream project?
importantly, have they gotten it yet? Architecture
is a creative discipline and those who enter it to become architects
usually have a desire to create. If they design the type of
thing you like, that can work. But many people have stories
architects that force their vision on a house, ignoring their client's
pleas. In my view, talent is necessary, but the most
important skill of an architect is their ability to listen. A
perceptive architect is sensitive to your concerns over their own.
They should keep their personal preferences to their own
house, not impose it on others.
a small percentage of architects design houses exclusively.
them, just a handful are sole proprietors, with a truly personalized
attention to service. Only one architect in the Pittsburgh
offers a complimentary Conceptual Design Package,
demonstrate their commitment and abilities. Contact
me, to find out why so many people value this service.
about my design process and the services I can offer your home, please
click on the What's Included link.