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"We could have saved $50,000 if we had used an Architect!"

  • 1.  "We could have saved $50,000 if we had used an Architect!"

    Posted 07-03-2017 11:33
    I met with an accomplished carpenter/contractor the other day. He built a beautiful $800K barn in rural Iowa. The owner didn't even want to pay for structural engineering, let alone architectural drawings. So, the contractor put together a crude & vague set of drawings. He explained that a lot of time was lost to tradesmen sitting at the site wondering what to do next! since he charged for time and materials this cost was passed onto the owner! Too cheap to pay for architectural, yet unaware of how much smoother the process could have gone.
     
    These are the type of testimonies the AIA needs to convey to the public as to the VALUE of Architectural SERVICES! Get real stories from people who have used and not used architects! Quit trying to convince the public to appreciate Capital A Architecture-as this same public does not appreciate poetry, literature, and art in general! They are not going to appreciate or want to pay for "better design""! Yes, an architect can design a better building than their clients could imagine. But that is hard to quantify. We need to convey the value of a thorough design process and full architectural services - THAT CAN SAVE MONEY!

    What are your thoughts on this?


    ------------------------------
    Edward J. Shannon AIA
    Des Moines IA
    ------------------------------


  • 2.  RE: "We could have saved $50,000 if we had used an Architect!"

    Posted 07-04-2017 18:32
    I always thought that this is what AIA was to do for all of us.  However, I learned that they do not promote good design and the use of architects.  They do, but not in a way that makes any difference.  Education of the general public about architects and architecture is what we are trying to do through our state Architectural Foundation under the state AIA.  We need to promote good design by working the with local public groups, giving interviews, making films, giving lectures, writing articles for the local paper,  insisting that the local paper give credit to the architect and not just the contractor.  This is a multi facet problem that we must consistently work at.  It seems that we cannot wait for the AIA to speak for us, we must speak for ourselves.

    ------------------------------
    Edward Cazayoux FAIA
    Principal/Architect
    EnvironMental Design
    Breaux Bridge LA
    ------------------------------



  • 3.  RE: "We could have saved $50,000 if we had used an Architect!"

    Posted 07-04-2017 20:29
    My feeling is that one of AIA's greatest and most unfortunate failings has been the inability to communicate, or lack of understanding why they need to communicate, to the public what we architects actually do - and why it's a valuable service.

    I don't know anyone outside our profession who has the slightest clue what's involved with our work beyond "designing buildings".  That lack of awareness of our craft, coupled with states that allow non-licensed individuals to practice home design, among other things, and you've got a real challenge demonstrating the value of working with an architect.

    A broader, but closely connected issue, is that the public at large generally does not know what a "good" or "bad" building looks like and what effects such a building has on their day to day experiences.  We've given up teaching things like that in school, and very few are naturally aware of the built environment around them.  Architecture acts most strongly on the subconscious - unlike so many things around us that we can easily perceive and qualify.  A bad meal you can taste, a bad lawyer ends you up in jail, and a bad doctor leaves you dead.  But a bad architect? "What's the difference?".

    I don't think it would be unreasonable for us architects to expect that AIA's primary mission should be the protection of architects from those who practice without our qualification, and the promotion of good design and the architects that create it.  The former will help ensure that only the best and most qualified individuals are the ones creating the built environment around us, and the former will educate the public about our value and happily lead them to our door when it's time for the next barn in Iowa.


    ------------------------------
    Anders Lasater AIA
    President
    Anders Lasater Architects, Inc.
    Laguna Beach CA
    ------------------------------



  • 4.  RE: "We could have saved $50,000 if we had used an Architect!"

    Posted 07-05-2017 17:34
    I am on the national board of the AIA and would like to direct you to two programs that directly educate the public on what we do. They are the I look Up film challenge and the outward facing website that we have Topic A TopicA: Where the topic is always architecture.
    Topicarchitecture remove preview
    TopicA: Where the topic is always architecture.
    Find out how architects impact the design of your home, your work, and your community.
    View this on Topicarchitecture >
    I Look Up Film Challenge - 2017 I Look Up Film Challenge
    Ilookup remove preview
    I Look Up Film Challenge - 2017 I Look Up Film Challenge
    The American Institute of Architect's third annual I Look Up Film Challenge invites architects and filmmakers to collaborate in bringing architectural stories to life. This year's challenge calls for films that highlight projects and architects that are helping to change communities for the better. $2,500 in cash.
    View this on Ilookup >

    If you have content or ideas for Topic A, let staff know. The film challenge is on-going right now so you still have time to enter. This is the third year we have done the film challenge and it is enormously successful.

    ------------------------------
    Jane Frederick FAIA
    Principal
    Frederick & Frederick Architects
    Beaufort SC
    ------------------------------



  • 5.  RE: "We could have saved $50,000 if we had used an Architect!"

    Posted 07-05-2017 19:07
    Thanks for sharing that with us Jane.  All these efforts are important and will help.  Does national have any data on who's seeing these things?  Do you monitor and track their performance?

    ------------------------------
    E. Anders Lasater AIA
    President
    Anders Lasater Architects, Inc.
    Laguna Beach CA
    ------------------------------



  • 6.  RE: "We could have saved $50,000 if we had used an Architect!"

    Posted 07-06-2017 17:25
    Anders,

    We do monitor all of our paid media and social media. The numbers are going by leaps and bounds every month. We did a baseline poll before we started the I Look Up advertising campaign three years ago. We are scheduled to to an updated poll next year to see how much we are moving the needle.

    Anyone that has suggestions on what articles should be on Topic A please submit them to staff.

    Jane

    ------------------------------
    Linna Frederick FAIA
    Principal
    Frederick & Frederick Architects
    Beaufort SC
    ------------------------------



  • 7.  RE: "We could have saved $50,000 if we had used an Architect!"

    Posted 07-05-2017 22:07
    With no disrespect meant, Jane, I think the point that Ed is making (and which I agree with) is that the public doesn't really need to be educated so much on what architects DO, they pretty much already know that. They need to be educated on why these services are valuable. I checked out the links you provided, and the sales points are pretty much limited to: 1) architects can save you money on energy costs, and 2) architects can design you a really swell home that you'll love. Are these really the best arguments for hiring an architect that the AIA can offer prospective clients who are hearing incessantly from contractors and residential designers that "You don't really need an architect"?

    The AIA has been advertising for years that architects can provide "good design." It is even evident from some of the people posting on this thread that they are are unable to think much past "good design" as a reason to hire an architect. I love good design, and think it's one of the great benefits to hiring an architect. For most prospective clients, though, "good design" ranks far below other factors like: 1) meeting a budget, 2) meeting a schedule, 3) Not having serious cost overruns, 4) dealing with construction headaches, 5) Getting as much as they can for the money they have, etc. etc., all of which architects can help with. However, not one of which I ever see promoted by the AIA. Until the AIA starts to promote the actual benefits and hard-core value (in $, not airy-fairy "good design" benefits) in hiring an architect that is tied into a prospective client's "hot buttons", architects will continue to be devalued and seen as being only for high-end projects.

    ------------------------------
    Richard Morrison
    Architect-Interior Designer
    Redwood City CA
    www.richardmorrison.com
    ------------------------------



  • 8.  RE: "We could have saved $50,000 if we had used an Architect!"

    Posted 07-05-2017 09:43
    Agreed! I'm all about Capital A architecture myself, but I recognize that the majority of my clients are not. Maybe we could do a commercial where it's just contractors telling clients how much easier their lives are when they have drawings. We hear that from our contractors all the time.

    One of the contractors we use most seemed amazed and profoundly grateful when he realized we could make an entire career out of drawing home renovations -- because that was the most labor-intensive part of his job and he wasn't getting paid for it. 

    --
    sara martin | open door architecture
    1121 Eleanor Street Knoxville, TN 37917 | 865-603-4756





  • 9.  RE: "We could have saved $50,000 if we had used an Architect!"

    Posted 07-05-2017 12:12
    Agree also. I have occasionally been hired by a contractor for small projects where the homeowners aren't inclined to hire an architect themselves.  Of course it is a different relationship from working directly for the homeowners, but still results in a better project overall.

    ------------------------------
    Ann Walters AIA
    Walters Design Studio│Architecture
    Watertown MA
    ------------------------------



  • 10.  RE: "We could have saved $50,000 if we had used an Architect!"

    Posted 07-06-2017 15:54
    Pertinent to this discussion, particularly to Edward's original post about VALUE, I would highly recommend using the excellent Message Book - a tool that has been developed by AIA, and available free to all members from the Institute (download the PDF here).

    For those of you who were at Grassroots in DC or at the A'17 Conference in Orlando, there were opportunities to be trained with the Message Book - it's a very effective tool for communication and, by extension, for PR.  If anyone is interested in getting the training, I'm certain that you could arrange it for your components - Caitlin Regan (Manager of Public Affairs) on AIA staff can assist you with this.  Or feel free to be in touch with me, and I can start the ball rolling.
    There's a brief introduction here.  Once trained, I believe you'll feel very equipped to communicate the value you bring to your clients and communities once armed with the strategies in the Book.

    It has made an impact in my practice.

    The Message Book in particular is one of the tools that has been created to elevate the way in which we talk about our work and our Institute, and the value that we bring to every community.  If I might contradict Richard's point - data and research suggests that many members of the public do not understand what architects do.  They admire us for sure, but what we do is mysterious to many.  This is why the Message Book, Topic A, the current advertisements on HGTV, and the dedicated work of components and chapters are collective necessities in demystifying the role and value of architects in everyday life.

    There's a lot of work taking place on outreach and communication at the Institute [disclosure - I am involved along with many other member volunteers, staff and consultants] - I believe those in the CRAN, and throughout membership will greatly 
    benefit from these initiatives, tools and innovations through our participation and adoption.

    Of course, feel free to continue the conversation and request clarifications.

    Warm regards,

    ------------------------------
    Peter Exley FAIA
    Director
    Architecture Is Fun, Inc.
    Chicago IL
    ------------------------------



  • 11.  RE: "We could have saved $50,000 if we had used an Architect!"

    Posted 07-07-2017 11:19
    ​I am loving the discussion points that are brought up in this thread by everyone. Taking a slight turn on the topic, yet still related, I'd like to ask for your thoughts on this scenario.

    We have a friend who has a 100 year old farmhouse, in a very tiny, rural community in the upper Midwest. He's renovated some items over the years, including a new kitchen. I don't know how many of you might have been fortunate enough to grow up in a small farming community, but if you did, picture the most typical 2-story farmhouse you can imagine. It does not even come close to the modern farmhouses filling up the magazine pages these days. It's cramped and organized oddly and as much as I adore this person, he has installed items that were not helping his overall cause.

    He wants to add on to this house, and like most people I know, he had already figured out how and where without explaining to me why (despite my asking several different ways). He's already installed some underground plumbing for a first floor bathroom and has only $50,000 total for his budget.

    He's a long ways away from any architect and to be honest, I think that most architects I know would ask him, or direct him, to rip out and redo what he's already done.

    We like to talk about how architects can help and we all know one from the start on this project would have been great. But how do we help in these cases? In my area, this is commonly the case. I think telling them, "should've hired us sooner...can't help you now", isn't helping our cause. Even 8 hrs of time on this project for an architect, would be more than he could afford out of his budget. I personally believe, if we can find a way to help out in these types of projects, we'd be doing way more for our profession than we realize.

    What have you done, or what would you do, for this type of project?

    ------------------------------
    Brenda Nelson Assoc. AIA
    Intern Architect
    Alley Poyner Macchietto Architecture, Inc.
    Omaha NE
    ------------------------------



  • 12.  RE: "We could have saved $50,000 if we had used an Architect!"

    Posted 07-10-2017 22:12
    I may be morphing this thread into something different, but this is not a unique condition where a potential client can't afford or justify an architect's fee. I often see owner-designed projects that didn't come with an "undo" button, and wonder how the outcome might have been different and better. 

    Is it time for us to consider offering a product instead of a service? It takes cash to think this way, but Is this a valid way to change the housing stock. We know what not to do and we know wheat the market will bear. Is it  time to begin to develop? 

    I know that there are still clients out there that we enjoy. Clients that appreciate what we have to offer. I'd be happy to  continue to work with them, but developing product for sale might be a satisfying way forward. 





  • 13.  RE: "We could have saved $50,000 if we had used an Architect!"

    Posted 07-11-2017 19:12
    As "solution engineers" to all potential clients there is usually a way to help those who are in need of services but lack the necessary funds to "afford" a registered architect.  We just have to enjoy what we do and consider that ample reward.

    ------------------------------
    Robert Stirling Morris AIA
    Principal/Owner
    Morris Architecture/Planning
    Canterbury CT
    ------------------------------



  • 14.  RE: "We could have saved $50,000 if we had used an Architect!"

    Posted 07-11-2017 21:51
    Ralph -- yes! We're actually developing an online course right now about renovating kitchens in older homes. I'm really excited to test it out. We design custom renovations to old houses as our core business and there are so many homeowners who do this sort of work without design help. We're hoping the course will be a way to inject a little architecture into DIY jobs for people who may never consider paying for a custom design from an architect. Fingers crossed -- planning to launch this fall and market through design blogs. I feel like a lot of project types could be served by a relevant, comprehensive online course. You don't get the custom design, but it's better than nothing.

    ------------------------------
    Sara Martin AIA
    Owner
    Open Door Architecture
    Knoxville TN
    ------------------------------



  • 15.  RE: "We could have saved $50,000 if we had used an Architect!"

    Posted 07-11-2017 22:42
    We can add value at every price point, at every client's budget. Sometimes I provide a one hour consultation, sometimes a "quick and dirty" $750 feasibility study, sometimes I suggest clients use Houzz for design inspiration. My engineer said it best: "Everyone deserves to have their project done right."

    ------------------------------
    Judy Coutts
    sole proprietor
    Judy Coutts, Architect
    Altoona PA
    ------------------------------



  • 16.  RE: "We could have saved $50,000 if we had used an Architect!"

    Posted 07-07-2017 17:34
    Thanks Peter! The AIA Message Book looks like a fantastic resource.

    ------------------------------
    Scott M B Gustafson, Architect
    AIA | UIA | NCARB | LEED AP

    http://maison-orion.com
    ------------------------------



  • 17.  RE: "We could have saved $50,000 if we had used an Architect!"

    Posted 07-08-2017 07:22
    Wow, please check out the Message Book that Peter sent - this is wonderful.  Why has AIA not sent this out to all architects?  I think AIA does a lot for us that we just don't know.  I think disseminating the information is their major problem.





  • 18.  RE: "We could have saved $50,000 if we had used an Architect!"

    Posted 07-10-2017 17:25
    Edward,

    I am thrilled that you like the Message book. We do our best to get all of our members aware of our resources. The message book has been highlighted several times in the AIArchitect with webinar trainings. There was a training at both grassroots and A'17. National staff visits components and trains the members on using the message book. And Peter is all over the place educating members on the message book. We need everyone to help spread the word.

    Jane

    ------------------------------
    Linna Frederick FAIA
    Principal
    Frederick & Frederick Architects
    Beaufort SC
    ------------------------------



  • 19.  RE: "We could have saved $50,000 if we had used an Architect!"

    Posted 07-12-2017 22:44
    I have viewed the AIA resources.  They are nicely packaged.  Yet they all seem to have Architects trying to convince the public that they should hire architects based on what architects value!  The Message book contains a small paragraph on Architects Adding Value.  What if there were testimonials and videos from builders, home owners, and small business owners telling stories of how architects added value! I feel these materials could have a greater impact if there were case studies from client types who found that hiring an architect saved them money; saved them time; fixed some flaws in their project, etc.

    As architects we value design.  Yet, with exception of the culturally elite, most of the general public does not - and never will.  Yet, many of these people will need to build buildings.  And until someone (other than architects) can convince them of the value in hiring an architect, they will look elsewhere!

    At the last office I worked at we did two - $3M projects (a substantial amount in Des Moines, Iowa).  Both of these clients put little thought into selecting their architect.  Both chose a builder first - who then recommended our firm.  Both Both wanted minimal architectural services and fought us for fees (which were in the 3% range!).  Yet one hired an interior designer from Los Angeles and paid for her and her husband to come to Des Moines numerous times.  The other hired a prominent Landscape Architect from Chicago and flew and an assistant in.  Both expected the builders and designers (not architects) to lead the design process.  Clearly they did not see the value an architect could bring.  they only viewed us as a necessary evil!

    On the other hand we had  a client hire us for a $150K family room addition.  Her and her husband explained that they had gone to one of the leading design/build companies first.  However they would not design anything, let alone explore alternatives, without a signed construction contract!  So they came to us!  And they were very pleased!  These are the stories the AIA needs to tell!

    ------------------------------
    Edward Shannon AIA
    Des Moines IA
    ------------------------------



  • 20.  RE: "We could have saved $50,000 if we had used an Architect!"

    Posted 07-13-2017 21:18
    What makes us architects distinctive from the builders and the interior designers is our focus on the fundamental assets of great architecture - Space, Proportion, and Light.  The intangible, ethereal qualities that make up a good built environment.

    Unfortunately, these are the last things the clients, the builders, and even the interior designers typically see.  That's because they are the qualities of a space that are most strongly perceived with the subconscious, and not with the eyes, per-se.

    So, our challenge is that the invisible, the intangible is a hard thing to sell....we often end up hoping that "trust me" is enough to close the deal.

    ------------------------------
    Anders Lasater AIA
    President
    Anders Lasater Architects, Inc.
    Laguna Beach CA
    ------------------------------



  • 21.  RE: "We could have saved $50,000 if we had used an Architect!"

    Posted 07-14-2017 07:39
    I wholeheartedly agree with Edward.  I see many who pick a good contracting firm first, who then has to get someone involved who can get the CD through the permit process.  Sometimes that is an architect and sometimes they might have an in-house engineer who can stamp the drawings.  And I have had people ask me to stamp their drawings, which I would never do.

    Having a client, contractor, builder or business owners testify to the value of an architect in these promotional ads would be much stronger than having an architect preach such.  

    Edward J. Cazayoux, FAIA
    EnvironMental Design





  • 22.  RE: "We could have saved $50,000 if we had used an Architect!"

    Posted 08-26-2017 20:17
    Well said Edward Shannon, you know I agree completely. I applaud all the AIA does to advance the profession, and I think that our potential clients respond better when they hear the message from their point of view.

    Enoch


    ------------------------------
    Enoch Sears AIA
    Founder and Publisher
    Business of Architecture

    Go here to discover how to earn 300% more on your next architecture firm proposal:
    https://www.businessofarchitecture.com/business/write-killer-architecture-proposal/
    ------------------------------



  • 23.  RE: "We could have saved $50,000 if we had used an Architect!"

    Posted 09-11-2017 17:45

    Recommend that ALL Architects everywhere copy links to this ArCHvideo: VALUE OF A LICENSED RESIDENTIAL ARCHITECT.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FbR4_V1hzpg

    While you're at it, paste a link to an image from your own website so your Clients (and potential clients) can run it right from your own website. 

     

    Rand Soellner  Architect     ArCH /NCARB /LHI /MA Arch

     

    .HOME  ARCHITECTS ®            1. 8 2 8 . 2 6 9 . 9 0 4 6  ..

     

    Rand@HomeArchitects.com     |      www.HomeArchitects.com

    Home Architect,PLLC NC9266/52666 SC6793 FLAR9264 WA9798 TN105028

     






  • 24.  RE: "We could have saved $50,000 if we had used an Architect!"

    Posted 09-11-2017 17:45

    I agree completely.  Well said.  There's a nice video that's called

    VALUE OF A LICENSED RESIDENTIAL ARCHITECT

    that communicates this in just a few short minutes.

     

    Rand Soellner  Architect     ArCH /NCARB /LHI /MA Arch

     

    .HOME  ARCHITECTS ®            1. 8 2 8 . 2 6 9 . 9 0 4 6  ..

     

    Rand@HomeArchitects.com     |      www.HomeArchitects.com

    Home Architect,PLLC NC9266/52666 SC6793 FLAR9264 WA9798 TN105028