MOM's Renovation

Jan 6 '14 13 Last Comment
Jan 6, 14 12:15 pm

It's a small reno i'm hoping anywhere from $15,000-25,000 Expanding the rear of my mother's home. I designed the project while going thru my A.S degree and my mom liked it and has constantly harassed me about getting a set of drawings made sense i started working at my firm. So  my boss and I have gone over my design and are now creating sections to get an idea about load bearing walls and roof pitch....... :)


Has anyone manage to get a potential job for your boss from connections and such and how did it go?


I'll add some visuals for the concept before and after made from 3ds max for you all to see if interested.


Jan 6, 14 12:38 pm

if you're doing an addition for your mom, i would not consider it bringing work into the office so much as your boss is probably kind of doing you a favor to help you and your family out, even if there are fees and such.  i could be wrong; i don't know your boss or the environment you work in or anything.  however, the general rule is to not mix business and family unless you're duck commander.  otherwise, you might have to pick which one is more important, and that is not a good position to be in.

Jan 6, 14 12:50 pm

Well, you are probably right and I would try to get out but i think it is a little to late. Thinking about my mom and her pocket book and the well being of my place of work is a bad combo. I also told my mom to tell people around her place of work that I can get them an architect if any one is in need of architectural services do you think this was also a bad idea?

I'm hoping for a 7% arch fee

Jan 6, 14 1:00 pm

SOME firms will probably allow you to use their equipment (mostly computers) to work on a project that is for a family member on YOUR time, meaning after regular hours and on weekends.  Moonlighting for profit is often grounds for dismissal.  I knew a guy who was terminated for doing so, although the projects were small and done at his home.  The architect was reputed to be a jerk, and had more of an interior designer veneer though he is a licensed architect.  You should work independently and not take up any of their intellectual capital, if you will.  While the computers take up some electricity, as will the lighting, you should probably record how much paper you consumed and insist on reimbursing them.

If this in any way jeopardizes your position at the firm as you are en route toward your goals, then I'd skip it.  See if you can work on it on a c.c.'s computers as "independent study" if you don't have the graphics programs and other equipment on your home computer, for example.

Jan 6, 14 1:07 pm

Moonlighting for profit 

The 7% is what i wanted my boss to charge my mother. Working independently on projects such as these in my eyes is illegal. I wanted to see this as an opportunity to bring in work or market my place of work as well as help people. Also it is a great way to get more involved because all i do is draft for now....:(

I will see if working on this project on my on time other than the 3ds max stuff would be more suitable for my employer. 

Jan 6, 14 1:14 pm

If that's profit coming into the firm, that's ok, but I still prefer to separate business from family related matters, especially since residential + relatives = high drama.

As for the moonlighting, it's probably a matter of ethics more so than outright legality or illegality.  Moonlighting at night from your own home might make you less productive to your office because you are stretched more thinly, but I don't think they can control someone from having a second job, which is what moonlighting is.  Most people who have moonlighted seem to do so between 7 pm and 11 pm, after dinner, including meeting with clients, often for minor residential stuff or an actual dwelling.  There are people who do this.  They just make sure it doesn't intersect with their work life and output at their principal place of employment.

Jan 6, 14 1:31 pm

the relationship is more important than the money or the contract.  if your boss wants to help you, then that's great, let him.  just be clear that it's about helping your mom get an addition to her house and an opportunity for you to learn about architecture.  then it's not about business or money (even though you're still going to pay him; it would be rude not to).  keep your intentions clear from the start, and if your intention is to use your family to further your personal ambitions, rethink your intentions.

i don't think there is anything wrong with bringing in work from a friend of the family if that's what you want to do to.  again though, keep your intentions clear to yourself, your client, and your boss.  don't let them think you're doing them a favor if you're not doing them a favor.  if it's business, keep it business and not personal.

Jan 6, 14 1:39 pm

I worked in a firm where it was common for intern architects to bring in their own work from family and friends.  The contract was written from the principal of the firm to the owner and the intern that brought in the work was treated as a PM on the project.  The technical detailing came from the principal architect in places of possible liability.  It was a win-win for all, because the firm made money and the intern that brought in the work that was not in a place professionally to to handle a project had the principal to back check the work.

If your boss is approachable on the subject I would try to work something like that, but know that at any point in the project, they will take the reigns if you are slippin.

Moonlighting is usually just  a clause in  your employee contract or employee manual, some firms are OK with it, others are not, research or ask, because its not worth loosing your job for a 25k remodel. 

Jan 6, 14 1:42 pm


My mom really liked the design and it was originally  done on a drafting board vellum and pencil not 3d. She wanted it done and would not stop asking until she got what she wanted. I think that this could be a great experience for my mom, me and my boss has been doing this before i was born so i think he is just chillin on the matter.

I think this can classify as well as keeping things on a fun level because it is for my mother.

Jan 6, 14 1:46 pm

chigurh, now that is what I'm aiming for!

Jan 8, 14 3:50 pm


I don't see how this would be illegal. In some states you can work on a residence of a certain size or addition if you're not licensed. These regulations are sometimes even more relaxed if your designing for a family member. Depends on your state.

Jan 9, 14 1:40 pm

You are right the owner of a house can design or renovate there own house, but it would be an unwise decision to try to do so in my opinion. 

Jan 9, 14 1:47 pm


I don't see how this would be illegal. In some states you can work on a residence of a certain size or addition if you're not licensed. These regulations are sometimes even more relaxed if your designing for a family member. Depends on your state.

Exactly, think of all that bad builder done residential work because it squeezes in under certain square footage thresholds.  It would be interesting to see a list of states that require an architect's license for smaller residential work.  I bet it's a small list.  More work for architects, though.

This can be a good opportunity for you to learn a lot about architecture. You boss will appreciate this also since s/he probably knows how hard it is to bring a project into the office. Your Mom will be proud of you if you do this correctly with your boss's help. If you treat everyone fairly, this can be a win-win-win situation.

Gang Chen, Author, AIA, LEED AP BD+C

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