Small Project Design

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AIA Small Project Design (SPD) Knowledge Community supports, celebrates, and promotes small projects by engaging designers and the public.

  • 1.  SPD KC Programming/Content???

    Posted 05-07-2021 04:52 PM
    What sort of programming or content would like to see from the Small Project Design (SPD) Knowledge Community?

    Ross Miller, Assoc. AIA, Assoc. IIDA
    FormGrey Studio
    Omaha, NE

  • 2.  RE: SPD KC Programming/Content???

    Posted 05-10-2021 07:39 PM
    I would love to see coaching on moving from being a single proprietor (whatever the business org. type) to a firm of up to 5. What does that look like how do we get there? What changes? What's taken for granted and often missed? What can be expected in terms of change in duties and percentage of design/ admin tasks for the founder? Seems like it might be a series of classes.

    Louis Smith
    Microtecture of North Carolina, PLLC
    Charlotte NC

  • 3.  RE: SPD KC Programming/Content???

    Posted 05-11-2021 06:02 PM
    There seems to be a trend for sole proprietors to scale up and down by utilizing a network of available "contract workers" rather than "employees".  It not only allows the flexibility to deal with the ebbs and tides of work flow, but eliminates the need for much of the administrative headaches (wouldn't we all rather focus on the fun stuff?).  Your firm can grow and shrink with workload - maybe averaging 5 "staff", but sometimes 10, sometimes just 1.
    The "contract workers" I've worked with love this arrangement as well, as they usually have a job with benefits that they love, and are looking for extra hours and income. Plus you aren't limited to a geographical area, as everything is done virtually.  It allows you to find good matches to your work team style, and weed out bad matches without really firing anyone.  Just don't contract with them again. Win-win all around.  Just work with your tax advisors on the 1099s and such.
    Steve Christopher, AIA
    Peoria, IL

  • 4.  RE: SPD KC Programming/Content???

    Posted 05-12-2021 06:34 PM
    Yep. Agree with all you said, Steve. 

    I have been doing that for 30 years. It has been GREAT. Well..generally. Certainly more profitable.  When I was in a big firm, and had a staff...I asked them to estimate hours, etc for a project (w/ SD done) We were on fixed scope/fees with a client. When I got time sheets in and they were waaay over estimates....I had to eat it.  With qualified contract workers (Licensed Architects and/or draftspeople) clearly define scope, and schedule.  I don't care how many hours, as long as it is done right.  I have contract workers I trust all over the globe, and locally.

    The only trick is qualified workers...can be tricky...and you have to be a little flexible about different CD techniques. I do all SD, code stuff, and check them.

    David E. Christensen AIA, LEEDap
    Architect and Planner

  • 5.  RE: SPD KC Programming/Content???

    Posted 05-14-2021 09:19 AM
    Thanks for the response Louis and I agree that it would be great to have resources exactly like you mentioned.  My question is would this type of content be a better fit for the Small Firm Exchange rather than the Small Project Design KC?  I ask because the two KC's share some similarities, but are quite different in their missions.

    The mission of the SPD KC is to support, celebrate, and promote small projects by engaging designers and the public.

    The mission of SFx is to advance the mutual interests of architects practicing in small firms.  By advocating the value of small firms within the AIA and to the public.  By curating and disseminating the most pertinent resources and information that benefit small firms.  And by informing the AIA of current issues facing small firms and areas in which current resources/information are lacking.

    Ross Miller, Assoc. AIA, Assoc. IIDA
    FormGrey Studio
    Omaha, NE