Actually, neither you nor I include cabinet elevations, color choices, or Construction Administration, unless those are paid for as an additional optional service. And there are other things I do not include, either, unless someone wants to pay for them, like electrical schematics, 3D work and more. And I suspect that you probably do include some of that, because of your ArchiCad software. So: you in fact, may, under certain circumstances, may provide more than I do, for some smaller projects. Good for you. But on the whole, it appears, at least from our previous discussions, that you do not actually appear to be providing what I would call a "minimal" or even "less than minimal" package at all. And I appreciate that. Your continued discussions that appear to indicate that you do, I wouldn't agree with, because, based on what you have indicated in this forum, actually sounds like a reasonable job.
I do include Finish Schedules in an abbreviated form, because, as I mentioned previously, that is one of the things I have seen other architects nailed for by various State Boards of Architecture for negligence in their "rogue's galleries" where other architect's licenses are being suspended, revoked or questioned. Once again: this is one of those things that various states are questioning; I am not making these things up. You appear to believe that you think that I am. I can assure you that these are things that I have seen from different state boards. Tell you what: the next time I receive some of these, I will copy and paste them into this forum, for the benefit of all CRAN folks, okay?
I do counsel my brother & sister architects to always include, in some form, however abbreviated, a specification, covering each of your projects. I have not seen State Boards jumping on architects for not doing this yet. However, I have been doing this for a very long time and may have experienced some things that others whom have not practiced as long, or in as varied a practice, may not have yet experienced and I am trying to post here the benefit of my experience, as I would appreciate from others here whom have experienced and learned things that I do not know.
I can assure other architects that they will likely have happier projects for themselves, their client and the builder, if they learn from any previous problems they may have had and put such things into their specifications, to hopefully prevent them from happening again. And: to hopefully get the right materials and get things built properly. For instance: in Div. 6 having a requirement that all dimension lumber used outside is to be pressure treated and that any such wood contacting the earth must be certified for ground contact.
Are such things covered by minimum code: yes, some are. However, having the simple, unequivocal spec statement clears up such matters before they can become real problems. Because: even though we do learn many valuable things from builders, they also learn from architects and specs are one of those gold mines of useful information that helps them to do a better job for our mutual clients. Just my 2 cents worth.
And having a standard short form specification does not really add much time to an architect's project; it typically is a process of editing master text. I have my specs as an A15 series of drawing sheets, so there is no spec book for anyone to conveniently forget. Once in awhile, there may be something unique to a project incorporating something that one may not already have in their specs, for instance, I recently designed a home for a structural engineer and he wanted me to include ICF for his foundation walls and some of the main level walls. So; I went online and phoned ARXX and talked to them and in a short period of time, was able to compose a short form spec for that item. I learned, during that process, that my typical window details didn't account for and ICF, because they don't have any nailable surfaces around their openings for flashings and other consistently solid materials. So, I created a revised detail to cover those circumstances. I did not create 19 different conditions. I just made sure that I had good direction indicated on my documents.
Does this mean that architects have to detail every condition? No. In my Div.1 specs, I have a statement that covers this, that instructs builders to refer to similar conditions to resolve other conditions that are not detailed and these notes state that not every condition is detailed. The point here is that any prudent architect would likely detail at least one of a type of detail (like the ICF), to give direction to similar conditions; that's all.
I am glad for you, Eric, that you appear to have such a positive relationship with a certain builder and that you have managed to apparently pattern the bulk of your business around this. Good for you. I hope that continues for you. For many of the rest of us, we do not have as much choice in the others members of the team in which we participate. For instance: our clients usually choose us, not the other way around. And often, despite our counsel, our clients will select their own builder. So, despite our best efforts, many of us have to deal with what we have. And having good drawings, and at least a minimal specifications should help the rest of us to deal with those unknowns. You and your builder friend/client obviously have a very clear understanding of what your scope of work includes, over the course of many projects. That is fortunate for you. For the rest of us, our clients are unfamiliar with the architectural process and we have to educate them as we go along. They typically assume that whatever they happen to dream up today will be included for no additional fee, despite previous directions. That will not get covered in the surprisingly brief period of time normally covered by your services for what must be an explicit scope of services from a trusted repeat client-builder whom you know well and trust.
I realize from our comments to each other that you and I are probably not going to be incorporating each other's viewpoints into our respective work models and that is actually unfortunate; because we could probably learn something from each other. I do wish you well and hope that your unique practice continues to be positive for you.
Rand Soellner AIA
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