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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?


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Edward J. Shannon AIA
Des Moines IA
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2.  RE: "We could have saved $50,000 if we had used an Architect!"

Posted 07-05-2017 08:30
Very well said Edward Shannon.  A lot of clients don't want a "Capital A" design and/or can't afford it.  There is significant value in the services we provide other than high end design.  Sadly though, the high end big budget projects are the ones the AIA and others tend to recognize as great architecture.  I think the AIA could do a better job of showcasing, to the public, quality architecture at a more realistic scale and budget.

I suggest the AIA also needs to help convey the idea that, like many other things, you get what you pay for.  A little extra fee for a quality full service architect can make a huge difference in the number of change orders, time delays, and the headaches an owner may or may not have to deal with during a project.  Even if there is no quantifiable cost savings at the end of a project, there is value in a project that runs smoothly and is completed on time.
Brad A McKenzie, AIA
Project Architect
SAPP DESIGN ASSOCIATES ARCHITECTS
3750 S. Fremont Springfield, MO 65804
P417-877-9600 (ext. 228)  F417-877-9696  E: mckenzie@sdaarchitects.com
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3.  RE: "We could have saved $50,000 if we had used an Architect!"

Posted 07-05-2017 08:59
I totally agree.  The profession has never been able to fully get this.   I commend to you (if you can find it) the speech that David Maister (Harvard Business School , but possibly now retired) gave at the Management Breakfast at the AIA Convention in 1985.  He basically told the assembled AIA heavies that, in the world of business, there preoccupation with "design" was not really valued.  They needed to become "hassle absorbers" not "hassle creators"--and if they could become hassle absorbers, business would pay them ANYTHING they wanted.  This message was received by most in the room with silence.   I got a tape of the speech and required everybody who came to work for me to listen to it.   Possible that the AIA has some sort of a library of these speeches.

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Robert Knight AIA
Knight Archtitect LLC
Brooksville ME
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4.  RE: "We could have saved $50,000 if we had used an Architect!"

Posted 07-08-2017 14:51
With this discussion thread on my mind, we met with a potentially new client this week. We toured his e-house manufacturing facility, bantered about project objectives, throughput, bay widths and lengths, cranes, hook heights, slab design, soils, wall systems, landscaping, etc. He questioned the conventions of typical manufacturing facility construction in the region. He explained his capabilities and desires to design and fabricate components of his new facility himself. Then he said, "I don't even know why we need an architect. We want to use a civil engineer but the city told us we have to have an architect. We don't need a pretty building." The first thing that popped out of my mouth before I could even think was, "We're sort of like the 'systems integrator' for the whole project." I suppose that was my reaction to what I was seeing going on in his plant, to the selling points on "architecture as a service" I had been mulling over in my head and to this business owner's no-nonsense, efficient way of expressing himself. A light seemed to go on in his head. Did I put my foot in my mouth?

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

Posted 07-11-2017 16:16
I will sometimes use an analogy about architects and symphony conductors that goes like this: A conductor doesn't need to know how to play an oboe, but he (she) does need to know how the oboe fits into the music, and he (she) also needs to know what's possible when playing an oboe. The same applies to the other instruments, and they all have to work together (coordination!). An architect is similar in that he (she) needs to understand what's necessary and possible with structure, MEP equipment, landscape, etc. At the end, the entire composition has to come together as it was imagined, according to the composer/designer. This is a description that many people understand.

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John Downie, AIA
John V. Downie | Architect
Auburndale MA
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6.  RE: "We could have saved $50,000 if we had used an Architect!"

Posted 07-13-2017 10:24
All good points, and well said.

However, we are preaching to the choir!!

Is the leadership listening?

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Robert Collins AIA
Vice President of Design and Construction
Weiss Entities, LLC
Chicago IL
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