I advocate a process that is different than most architects. I do not think a client is best served by the bid process, in which an architect develops a lengthy set of drawings, costing the client around 15% of total construction cost in design fees. The drawings are submitted to multiple builders, who then are asked to spend long hours pulling together a competitive bid. Even in a slowed building economy, the qualified builder you should hire may choose not to involve himself in this lengthy process.
Rather, I recommend a process that highlights the real reasons to hire a builder; his honesty, his reputation, and his willingness to work with your architect and you as a team member. My process is more similar to “design build”.
In my process I do a modified set of drawings for a builder we choose together by my recommendation, a researched reference, or your own experience, that we assess is open to architectural guidance. (Some are not!) I have experience with many builders on the North Shore. The GC’s I work well with know my expectations, require less drawings, are easier with communication, and call me first when there is a problem!
My clients and I meet, design the solutions to the program , and much sooner consult with this pre-selected builder to work up an estimate. This will let us know if we’re financially on target. His input is very valuable in cost cutting if needed. I then complete the drawings to the level that I and the builder feel is necessary and move more quickly into construction.
My presence on the construction site is as important as the drawings themselves. I have not put all detail decisions on paper. My process requires my full participation in construction.
When the project is complete, my total fee will be less than 8% of construction costs.
Why do I want to be paid less? Because, I believe in this process! It gets the best results, therefore leads to happy clients, better references and future work.