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Selling Predesigned Home Plans. Opinion and Discussion

217
archidaily

Selling predesigned home plans online is becoming a large industry. Is this something that you would consider doing? What are your main concerns?

 
Mar 27, 18 7:51 pm
Non Sequitur

No, it's a terrible idea.  Stock plans have no relation to site or local codes & zoning. It does not help that all stock plans are as equally bland as the cheap developer suburbs already available.

Anyone who buys this junk still needs to hire real professionals to fix the draftsman's mistakes and tweak it to suit location... but sure, people buy little rubber bracelets with holograms thinking it helps their imaginary pain, so there is likely a huge market ready for (more) exploitation.

M'erica!

Mar 27, 18 8:00 pm

​correction: 'Merica (not to be confused with Méjico​).

archidaily

I would disagree. I think of it like buying a car. You get the base model car and then you add the features in. You want new rims, leather seats etc. No reason to redesign the car from scratch.

I don't believe it would be such a big and successful market if it were trash.

Better than living project to project. Having residual income is $$$

Mar 27, 18 10:22 pm
Non Sequitur

I don't think you understand this very well.  You sound like a realtor.


He's got it all figured out and is only coming here to confirm his beliefs. Don't rain on his parade.

archidaily

That is how I explain it realtors lol These architects that sell the plans offer the ability to modify the plans. You buy the home and modify it to suit your needs.

It is good to hear the opinions of other architects that aren't involved. It is mostly "home designers" that participate. They make bank though. Upwards of $200k a year if they do it right with over 1k plans for sale. 

archidaily

I am well into the industry and would like to hear the reasoning behind why certain architects feel this way. This way I can strengthen our product and offerings

archidaily

Although teaming up against the idea does not provide what I am looking for.

Non Sequitur

Well into the industry is code for what, 2 years out of school these days? Damn, like I said earlier, if you can find someone dumb enough to buy stock plans, fine, take their money, but stock plans are the wallmart of the profession. Never seen one site or example I felt was worth 10% of the asking price.

RickB-Astoria

archidaily: I'm a building designer and most of the people doing house plans are not necessarily "licensed architects". What you are talking about is a hybrid model. It is a customized stock house plans. What I know about the market is that unless a developer is looking to use the design 100 times... one set package may include 3-4 variants. This way, the design maybe used readily multiple times. If you think I'm going to do that and sell them for $500 then you got another thing coming. The work to produce the plan and make it suitable for multiple sites and soil conditions, the base fee alone would be more closer to $5,000 then $500. 

The customization may add an additional amount. The most basic customization requirements is basic adjustment for the site and local codes adjustments. More advance customization may include differences in finishes and maybe a dormer or something. These all would be even more. For me, it doesn't pencil out to make designs that are only used once or twice and sell it at $500. It's a difficult business and it makes little to no sense in doing unless I make at least $5,000 for every time the design is used. Only after maybe 100 times being used would it make sense to reduce the price. Remember, it takes upwards of 200-500 hours to produce competent designs. It can take 50+ hours to customize it.... sometimes significantly more. For me to sell 1000 plans, I have to have close to 100 different designs to offer them. That's 20,000 hours to 50,000 hours on my part. $200K doesn't cover 20,000 to 50,000 hours of labor. In reality, plans sold on stock house plans market is sold maybe 10-20 times in any given year. This is because throughout the United States, there is significant zoning and design review regulations in place that prohibits the kind of cookie cutter developments of the 1950s and 1960s. These regulations were implemented in the 1970s, 80s, and 90s throughout much of the U.S. 

It was this cookie cutter model that made significant money for designers and made possible for $500 for selling sets of plans and make financial sense to the designer. Remember, every set has a cost factor like having prints made. By now, there are thousands of traditional style house plans and neo-eclectic. They also tend to not make any sense for me to design for stock house plans because they the market ceiling for those styles are around $500 +/- maybe $250. Therefore, the ones that I can charge enough to pencil out would be modern to regional style modern home designs that are contemporary but they also don't sell in volume. 

It makes little to no sense for me to design yet another craftsman bungalow stock house plan. There are probably about 10,000 of them and quite a few from Sears catalogs and just need a little bit of updating for modern building codes. There are thousands of those.

RickB-Astoria

As a designer, each plan has to sell quite a few times in order to make my ROI. Remember, my time is a financial investment. If I spend X number of hours. Those X number of hours could be used for better paying work. 200 hours is easily a $10,000 to $30,000 or more pay check. That's billable work. Preparing stock house plans takes about the same amount of time to prepare as a custom house plan for a client. Especially high quality stock house plans. 

It is because each design must have multiple specifications and multiple different foundation options for each use. These sets to meet requirements in this day and age needs to be more rigorously prepared than out grandfather's stock house plans. As the designer, it is so that the developer who uses the plans can make 3-5 variants from one set and possibly make 15-30 homes with just a little bit of differences in paint color scheme so it doesn't look completely cookie cutter. They can have 5-10 base plans (each with 3 to 5 design variants) which means they can build neighborhoods of up to 250 homes with just a relatively few sets of plans. This means, one basic design set can be significant. One copy of the plans can be 50 to even 100+ sheets for a house. It isn't some slap together over a weekend. It isn't a 10 sheet drawing. 

I'm not going to sell those for $500 per home (plus $____ per copy of the plans) unless you are talking like a guaranteed 1,000 homes paid upfront plus 9000 additional homes guaranteed per year. I've been in the software business and I wouldn't be selling software for $20 unless sales are going to be on the order of 100,000 copies. We are talking about a similar commodification of building plans. If I custom designed 1,000 homes, I'd be making $50,000+ each easily. (Some more, some a little less). That's $50 Million in revenue. $200K is only $ 0.2 Million in revenue. That's 1/250th the revenue. Each building plan usually only sells about up to about 5 to maybe 10 times. Most sell only 1 or 2 times and a few might sell a little more than 10 but averages out. This means the amount of time I invest for each sale is maybe 1/5th to 1/10th of the amount for a full custom designed home. I'd want my $5 Million to $10 Million. Why would I settle for less than $1 Million?

archidaily

Most designers already made their money when they first designed the plan for the client. So they got paid for their hours already. Reselling the plan at that point involves the cost of shipping and printing, which is covered by the shipping and handling of the product. As far as modifications go, I know architects that charge $100/hr with a minimum set of hours. Many of the changes have already been made, so tacking on that basement for $500 isn't an issue since they already made the basement for another client.

archidaily

So, in other words, you made your money already and this is just residual income for reselling that plan to people that would never use your services because they don't live in your area. This allows you to earn more money, in the end without much effort at all right?

archidaily

Also, the homes sell for ~$1000-$6000 each. So you get your "$50,000" each and then each year if they sold ten times you get an additional $5,000-$30,000 after all fees are paid. Not like you are designing these huge luxurious homes for free and then selling them for nothing. lol Plus Tiny Homes are all the rage right now, you can not tell me it take more th an a days work to design one of those and throw it online for $500

Non Sequitur

Arch, that last comment of yours demonstrates that you know very little on this subject... and for once, Ricky's rant is rather accurate.

tintt

Not knowing much seems to be the way to go, unfortunately.

Non Sequitur

^ I hear ya. Showing up with stock plans to my city's building department is a sure way to be crucified on the spot.

tintt

$1000-$6000 per print of an unbuildable house plan is good money.

poop876

I'm still waiting for Balkins to show us some of the buildings he designed! Get the fuck out!

RickB-Astoria

"Most designers already made their money when they first designed the plan for the client. So they got paid for their hours already. Reselling the plan at that point involves the cost of shipping and printing, which is covered by the shipping and handling of the product. As far as modifications go, I know architects that charge $100/hr with a minimum set of hours. Many of the changes have already been made, so tacking on that basement for $500 isn't an issue since they already made the basement for another client."

placebeyondthesplines__

have we ever seen any actual examples of Balkins' work?

RickB-Astoria

"So, in other words, you made your money already and this is just residual income for reselling that plan to people that would never use your services because they don't live in your area. This allows you to earn more money, in the end without much effort at all right?" 

What does living in the area have to do with making sure the plans are code compliant for each project location? When it comes to houses, my service area encompasses most of the states of the United States as well as other countries. FYI: Most custom designed homes for specific clients are not put on stock house plans market. They maybe continuation of a vision of one of multiple options provided to a client but I'm only paid for design development and construction documentation for what the client accepted as the choice they made when completing schematic design. It is one of the customary professional ethics of not reusing the construction documents for full custom designed homes. These are one-off projects. The money I get from that does not cover professional liability exposure for 10 or even a 100 homes off that design.

RickB-Astoria

"Most designers already made their money when they first designed the plan for the client. So they got paid for their hours already. Reselling the plan at that point involves the cost of shipping and printing, which is covered by the shipping and handling of the product. As far as modifications go, I know architects that charge $100/hr with a minimum set of hours. Many of the changes have already been made, so tacking on that basement for $500 isn't an issue since they already made the basement for another client." 

First off, custom designed homes designed for clients paying for a custom home are not reused. Homes designed for specific clients are idiosyncratic to that client more than would be for a real estate development project. Customers of stock house plans are usually developers. At least that was the traditional customer of pre-drawn house plans. If you can't afford to have a building designer's services for even a modest custom designed home for the budget-conscious client, you probably can't afford to build a house. They are better off buying an existing house and remodel in 5 or 10 years after when they can scrape up the money to do it.

RickB-Astoria

"Also, the homes sell for ~$1000-$6000 each. So you get your "$50,000" each and then each year if they sold ten times you get an additional $5,000-$30,000 after all fees are paid. Not like you are designing these huge luxurious homes for free and then selling them for nothing. lol Plus Tiny Homes are all the rage right now, you can not tell me it take more th an a days work to design one of those and throw it online for $500" I have to note something here, first Tiny Homes can take more than a day. What you are forgetting is tiny homes require considerable thought about spatial efficiency including preparing detail drawings of cabinets and other built-in for storage that you might not do for a sprawling mcmansion. The key is making efficient use of every under utilized space for storage and other creative use of space so it can be multi-purpose. There is a lot more that can be involved in a tiny house than you may realize. If you want to know a little more, you might want to talk to Mr. Fifield that teaches architecture at University of Oregon and does this kind of work professionally. I think he can set you straight. Just because it is tiny doesn't mean there isn't considerable work. It is not just drawing. It is designing. Think about it, it isn't just a 1 room cabin. Sure, I can design a one-room vernacular cabin in a day.

It's right here in front of you.


kjdt

Yes, we have. I don't have time to dredge up the links at the moment, but the ones I'm aware of: 1. A recent design charrette - group project with landscape students. Not actual built work: a blessing, because it's not code compliant; 2. A floor plan and elevation of a house, in which the main entrance was at the end of the bedroom wing, there were two mostly-glass walls that had a view of the broad side of the garage, and the house had no bathrooms. Also not actual built work, luckily; 3. A deck attached to a building belonging to his community college. Actual built work. Not ADA-compliant, and appeared from his photos to be wracking/heaving; 4. A report on stone construction and preservation - another academic group project, large swaths of which are plagiarized from other publications; 5. The infamous Astoria Opry theater - there is debate on this one, as both the theater and the city seemed to have no record of RB's involvement.  It would probably be better if he didn't insist that he worked on this, as code violations are abundant, and it's also been measured by licensed engineers who found it to be a few too many inches tall to be exempt from requiring a licensed professional. Some of these projects are on RB's website.

placebeyondthesplines__

would LOVE to see some of this

RickB-Astoria

You say the deck for the college is wracking/heaving. I highly doubt that. What photos of it were provided? The google street view image that you might see maybe distorted because of imaging stitching because they take multiple images and stitch them together with varying degrees of quality. The deck was really for a construction workshop exercise. I suggested a ramp up to it. They could have made with a little bit of concrete work, dirt and asphalt. It was meant to be temporary. A simple ramp could have been made or attached to it. It was intended for a temporary time frame. If they wanted to make it fully ADA compliant, it could be easily done. It was designed for a first term construction workshop. A ramp would have been more complex construction work that may have been more difficult for students to do at that point in the workshop duration. It was unclear how much time such a workshop would take a class of students to perform. I didn't want to overwhelm them with too complex of a project.

5839

There's that misused "maybe" again. Perhaps you should customize your spellcheck so that it always rejects "maybe".

kjdt

The lack of a ramp is only one of five ADA issues that I see with that deck. The fact that you don't recognize the others is evidence of why your state should not allow unlicensed "building designers".

RickB-Astoria

This forum doesn't have spellcheck. I'm using only the forum's text box window that is provided for in the reply. I'm not using word processors to write my messages on this forum. You might but I don't.

poop876

So to sum it up you call yourself a "building designer", but have never designed a single building?

RickB-Astoria

"The lack of a ramp is only one of five ADA issues that I see with that deck. The fact that you don't recognize the others is evidence of why your state should not allow unlicensed "building designers"." What part of the tiny deck was meant to be a temporary structure. Sure, we could put railing in and a ramp. The deck was 8-ft. x 12-ft. Which meant, it was substantially large enough for a wheel chair to turn around in a 5-ft. radius even with railings with spacing of 2.5" spacing between each horizontal rail from the deck up to the top of the railing. It was a framing work shop for deck frame. A guardrail wasn't implemented at that time but could be implemented because the design allows for putting on a railing including a ramp with guard rails down as well as an ADA compliant handrail. If was basically to teach how to frame deck joists and so forth. If they want to do more framing to the structure, be my guess. If they want to tear it out some-day be my guess. It was only meant to be temporary like 180 days or less.

kjdt

"Be my guess." ??? Umm, yeah - your guess is as good as...

Guardrails aren't one of the five issues I have in mind. Also show me in the applicable accessibility standards where it says you don't need to meet ADA if the structure is present for 180 days or less.

poop876

kjdt, can you share where this thing is?

kjdt

Most, if not all, of these things are in older threads here on archinect. It's difficult to search for them - there are just so many Rick-infested threads, and this site doesn't have a very good search interface.

kjdt

The charrette with the landscape architects, and the plagiarism about masonry restoration are both here: http://rickbalkins.wavestar.x10host.com/

poop876

Oh shit!

RickB-Astoria

kjdt, temporary structures aren't usually built with permits and are not enforced because they are not serving a function of the school other than for a learning exercise which would eventually be torn out. ADA requirements are for spaces of official function of public accommodation. I am not aware of any actual public accommodation for that deck. Think of it as a 1:1 scale model. When does a physical model have to meet ADA requirement? They don't. This deck does not have any function for the college other than it was a constructed exercise in learning framing techniques for deck. It they want a ramp, railing and so forth for ADA compliance, then I don't see a problem in that. I'd even draw that for a future work shop exercise in basic construction techniques like railing and a ramp.

BTW: The deck is not on the rickbalkins.wavestar.x10host.com. Actually you can just go to it at rickbalkins.com


kjdt

Here's the plan and elevation of the house with no bathroom: https://postimg.org/image/wvhaa4v15/

kjdt

As for temporary structures: even occupiable temporary art installations are required to meet ADA. If it's an unoccupiable sculpture then you might be in the clear - but then you probably would not want to attach it to a building exit.

poop876

Tents are temporary and need a building permit!

RickB-Astoria

Actually, it's not really because it was temporary as much as indicated in section 105.2 of 2010 OSSC..... http://ecodes.biz/ecodes_support/free_resources/Oregon/10_Structural/10_PDFs/Chapter%201_Scope%20and%20Administration.pdf

6. Platforms, sidewalks, and driveways not more than 30 inches above adjacent grade, and not over any basement or story below and are not part of an accessible route.

Technically, it is not part of an accessible route because it is not continuous to the deck.  There is no continuous sidewalk to the deck. Granted, the ground is relatively flat but it is not an ADA route.

RickB-Astoria
RickB-Astoria

"Here's the plan and elevation of the house with no bathroom: https://postimg.org/image/wvhaa4v15/" kjdt, that was never intended to be submitted for permits. It was for a bullshit design for a bullshit argument on a forum. Want your bathroom.... hike your ass to the outhouse. LOL!

kjdt

Unless there's some other equivalent accessible deck, then this one has to be on an accessible route. Federal law. It doesn't matter if it's temporary. 

I think you already know that. You're either playing really dumb or you are really dumb. Either way I'm ready to sign onto the Ignore Balkins Pledge too. Bye.

placebeyondthesplines__

this has been...illuminating. so does he just live with his parents or off of an inheritance or what? clearly no one is paying him for any actual work

kjdt

Yes he lives with his parents. Sometimes he is a movie theater janitor.

RickB-Astoria

ADA is not about decks but access to spaces of public accommodation..... spaces that are serving a function for public accommodation. This deck was not built to serve a public accommodation function. It was built as an exercise for students learning basic construction techniques. Did you actually look at the Google Maps link? There is no continuous sidewalk to the deck. If you also notice, there is a table and benches a little closer to the building where a solid concrete slab directly connected on an accessible route from the building exit/entrance on the north side of the building as well as an accessible route to the west side entrance and other buildings on the site if you look at it. You are talking about a deck that has no programmatic function of college. If we want to serve public accommodation, then the deck can have a simple ramp up to it and a continuous path made. It can be an another exercise in construction techniques that resolves it. That deck is holding up just fine from what I can tell. As for wracking and heaving, I don't know about that. For a temporary deck, it was actually a little over built. Addressing your concerns for ADA issues can be made. It was simply a non-issue. What is the deck for from a programmatic point of view of the campus in regards to public accommodation? None. Spaces for public accommodation are required to be made ADA accessible. Spaces that are not for public accommodation do not have to be ADA compliant. Public accommodation is when programmatic functions, programs and services of an organization, is served to the public. ADA is required when access to programs and services of an organization where the public is being served so that there is equal access to those programs and services by people with disability. If the deck is going to serve some service or function of the organization then it needs more work for ADA compliance. Until then, no. A complete ADA access to the deck would be required. I do not disagree with ADA access if public accommodation at that deck is being used for a function or service of the institution.

RickB-Astoria

"Yes he lives with his parents. Sometimes he is a movie theater janitor." That was a part time job I had about 10+ years ago. It's not a job I am still 'sometimes doing'. I have more clients these days than back in 2007.

JBeaumont

He's also mentioned picking up shifts on a garbage truck.

RickB-Astoria

kjdt: ADA Title II ( https://www.ada.gov/regs2010/titleII_2010/titleII_2010_regulations.htm ) This applies to colleges. Title III pertains to private entities like you, me and other businesses.

RickB-Astoria

"He's also mentioned picking up shifts on a garbage truck." 

No. I haven't made such claims.

TrogIodytarum

Not only "predesigned" but open sourced houses that will let more consumers easily construct their own homes much like you see in video games will completely wipe out architects.

Don't let snobby self righteous architects convince you otherwise. Plans can easily be modified to any specific sit within reason. Architecture is a dying profession. Get into construction or engineering instead.

Mar 27, 18 10:44 pm
Non Sequitur

I'm doing just fine and I don't even need to touch residential work.

TrogIodytarum

RemindMe! 10 years

Non Sequitur

No need. btw, I dig the latin name.

Open source houses - 3D printed. Design it yourself! Stock plans not required.

Mar 27, 18 11:26 pm
randomised

Stock plans for stock people living stock lives in stock locations!

Mar 28, 18 2:11 am
rothko67

I looked into developing and selling plans online as a way to make some passive income.  But unfortunately, in both the jurisdictions where I’m registered, regardless of whether or not an architect is required (i.e. a single family house), I’m still required to stamp any drawings I do.  So, based on the exposure to liability that would put me in, it wasn’t worth it.  There are probably ways around it, but for me, it’s not worth the risk.

If you’re not registered, go for it.  There are a lot of people out there who can’t afford or assume they can’t afford an architect, but want something simple and well designed.  It’s no different than a modular or prefab home, which thankfully have come a long way in terms of design.   

Mar 28, 18 2:41 am
joseffischer

The way around it is that, in your contract, you are selling a design, not permit drawings. It has to be very clear that you're not giving them something that they can use to build. Also, take off all the titlehead stuff. They can then take it to the city themselves, and try to walk it through and get the permit guys to catch all your mistakes for you. When/if they come back to you saying that the plans you show them can't get permitted (say without X, Y, or Z information) reiterate that they bought a design scheme, and that more work would need to be done. At this point, you may also offer them your standard rate to upgrade the drawings and walk them through permitting for them. I'm in commercial work now, but before registration, I charged $500 for as-builts and minor changes, then a range of pricing, usually hourly, for multiple schemes. Most homeowners made up their minds after spending about $1000. This included separate fees for sketchup models if they needed to "visualize it" etc. Then walking it through permitting cost another $2k.

archidaily

It is much easier for "home designers" than architects to pull this off. Simply state that they are buying the plans for a home that was designed for a specific area at a specific time. Codes may not be up to date and the home may not be suitable for your property which may require some modification. Still, it is great to start with something than to build something from scratch. Architects and home designers are creative, most people aren't. If they can hand over drawings of what they want after looking over 1000's of plans, it is a lot easier than pulling a picture out of a magazine which is copyrighted or trying to find ways to pull the image of what they want out of their head

tintt

Is that common to be required to stamp a drawing even if it wouldn't normally need an architect? I've run across this twice recently too. I don't really feel like stamping someone's HGTV dream, so I guess stick to commercial where there are at least some more sophisticated players.

SpontaneousCombustion

Yes, that's in most (but not all) states' statutes that an architect or engineer must stamp any drawings, schedules, and specifications that they do that are submitted for permitting, even if that project would not require a stamp if done by someone unlicensed. The intent is to hold licensed professionals to the same standard of care regardless of the type of project.

proto

yup, must stamp even if project is exempt -- responsibility lies with the professional , not the documents.

tintt

Helps explain why an architect tried to submit plans under my name before I got licensed. Just submit them under your dead grandma's name, sheesh.

tintt

So if I'm licensed in one jurisdiction but do exempt plans in another, am I required stamp them there too? Of course not, right?

RickB-Astoria

tintt.... no. You do not stamp or otherwise use the architect title in any way or form as an individual or as a business that states that you are not licensed or otherwise have authorization to practice in. Just use the title building designer or residential designer. Your license and jurisdiction of the state you are located in is only for use within that state. At least that is the legal intent of the law. There is grey area in the law that does exist and sometimes exploited but it is a legal grey area. If your business name does not contain the words, "architect, architecture, architectural" and similar alternate by phonectically similar sounding words, then you probably could use your business name for "building design" services in nearly every state. You will want to make sure your contracts and so forth does not represent yourself as an "architect" because that state has a licensing law requiring you to be licensed in that state to use the title. It maybe annoying and frustrating but I'm suggesting this so you can cover your rear end from some anal bureaucrat that doesn't have a real life of their own. You have options. You could do reciprocity but you might not want to do that in every instance in which case, you can just not call yourself "architect". You may use a generic corporate or LLC seal (for example) for your business and have in the title block somewhere: Designed by: ___________________ (where you place your name in a clear legible manner. I know architects who navigated these legal issues so they actually have multiple "businesses" filed so they can work around issues for out of state projects from that of projects within the state of their license. I hope the information is informative and clarifies what your thoughts. I wouldn't want you getting slapped by a fine by their licensing agency because of some low life bureaucrat.

I will concur that you DO have to stamp plans you prepared that are exempt. This requirement only applies to projects within the state borders. If your project like in a stock plan is for a customer outside the state, you don't have to stamp them. However, issues can get problematic is the customer's project location is in your state(s) where you are licensed. It is important to know what state or states the project will be at and that the terms of use for the plan is clearly indicated that it is only valid for the location of the project as agreed to. You need to make sure that is the case. Stock house plans can potentially cause problems especially if the plans aren't used at the original intended location and are then reused later where you happened to be licensed.


5839

Richard Balkins: "maybe" and "may be" are not the same. The former is not slang, nor is it a contraction of "may be". "May be" is a verb clause. "Maybe" is always an adverb - it doesn't stand on its own - it needs to describe a verb. For example: in your attempted sentence "It maybe annoying and frustrating" (as are so many of your posts) there is no verb. You might as well be writing "It tomorrow annoying and frustrating" - that makes about as much sense. If you want to play lawyer, learn to write at above a third grade level.

RickB-Astoria

This isn't a writing class for fuck sake. There isn't time in these post to proof edit. It is written in free form writing. The edit feature only allows about 2-3 minutes or so to correct or edit. There is no preview to edit the post or separate paragraphs. The amount of time to edit the post to add a point, make grammar corrections, and changes is VERY short.

placebeyondthesplines__

or: you're dumb

RickB-Astoria

First off, "maybe" and "may be" has the same meaning to a casual reader because the space isn't going to mean a fucking thing to you guys or any casual reader except for someone who is just nitpicking to be a fucking irritating asshole. You knew what was said and meant the first time even reading it. The reason 5839 wrote what he said wasn't because what I wrote was unclear. It was because he was being an asshole because he's just joining a bandwagon to pick on "RickB-Astoria". He's doing it because he is being a punk like you are. Cut the bullshit. You and 5839 don't like me and just want to be a punk in vain attempts to get me to quit this forum. Never going to happen. This forum would have to be shut down before that will ever happen. Get it through your thick neanderthal brains. I'm not intimidated by "punk"-ish behavior. It's irritating not intimidating. Is that understood? Yes or no.

5839

I don't dislike you, nor have I said or implied that you should leave the forum. Evidence of that is the fact that I'm still conversing with you. Most of the forum regulars have collectively put you on permanent ignore - and I'm the one you think wants you gone?

I do not agree with you that the difference between the two words will go unnoticed to most readers.  It's a glaring mistake that you're making over and over and over - it makes it appear that you do not have an elementary grasp of English.  If you want people to take you seriously you should write more carefully.  You tend to go for length rather than clarity. That always makes you look dumb.

RickB-Astoria

Alright. I may be taking what you said too personal. If so, I apologize. I think most people are reading posts on this forum casually not grading people on their spelling & grammar. There are plenty of times that people on this forum uses logical fallacies including myself. I think that is more important than whether I am using 'maybe' or 'may be' in a sentence. I can check spelling and grammar on a word processor but not with this forum's text box which I write replies directly to. I have other people than myself use wrong spellings and other improper grammar even on short comments. Look at jla-x post below. "It’s a 1/10 way product and still 9/10 process...Are rich people really that cheap?"

Other people and I should be more careful about spelling.

RickB-Astoria

.... and grammar. Actually, I agree that others and I should be more careful in writing. More often than not, we are writing replies quickly for immediate response. Much like instant messaging, we are often writing so our reply is returned in minutes not hours or days. This speed of response usually means that grammar is not checked for like we would on a report that doesn't positively have to happen yesterday.

jla-x

how many houses are actually built this way?  My guess is that it’s probably a really small number.  First of all, the cost and process of buying land and building from ground up requires a very strong financial situation.  Most people need to sell their home first to be approved for a new home.  The process is complicated enough between financing for a construction loan, getting a site, getting approvals...people in the “economy car” market buy homes that are already built.  They buy product not process.  this seems like another lay of complicated for people who don’t really need to pinch pennies.  It’s a 1/10 way product and still 9/10 process...Are rich people really that cheap?  If you want to create “economy car” architecture, which I agree is a very very important and underserved market you need to put on your design/develop hat.  



Mar 28, 18 11:40 am
jla-x

And shit, the thing no one talks about is that there are tons and tons of run down homes in poor communities that you can buy, remodel, and sell to people. Many people in that demographic do not have cash to sink into repairs and need a low cost home that is already in good shape. You can make decent money too while helping underserved communities. It’s not a get rich quick glamorous Dwell mag thing, but it’s much more important.

5839

Rich people are really that cheap. I don't do much residential anymore, but when I did I got lots of requests for help from people who'd bought their land, bought their stock plan, and lined up a builder - and then discovered that they needed oodles of changes to their stock plan to make it buildable. The stock plan companies sell the plans cheap - a few thousand dollars for mc-mansion plans. Where those stock plan companies try to make money is on changes. They charge $100 or more per individual change, per drawing. So if you have to enlarge one window to meet your local permitting requirements and it affects 2 plans, a section, an elevation, the window types, and a schedule, there's $600 in drafter fees to the stock plan company. If you want to move walls around or re-design the kitchen or change the roof line then you're getting into thousands or tens of thousands, and all of a sudden the cheap stock plans aren't cheap anymore. Those plans are stamped all over "copyrighted, may not be edited, altered, or otherwise modified" - so I wouldn't do it unless they wanted to pay for me to redesign and draw new drawings. Sometimes they chose to scrap the stock plans and start over with me, sometimes they chose to pay $30k worth of individual miniscule changes to the stock plan company to have their drafter do it, and sometimes they chose to let their builder painstakingly white-out or photoshop out thousands of "copyrighted..." warnings from all over the plans so that the builder or the client's nephew-who-is-studying-lighting-design could draw over them in Sketchup.

proto

"how many houses are built this way?" we see lots of homes built this way, mostly rural settings -- people who are self-starters and on a budget are often able to make it work. "are rich people really that cheap?" yes, but not all of them...we work with the ones that see the difference in value between quick/easy & thoughtful

PandasAreSexy

You may find this interesting: https://thirtybyforty.com/shop/

I believe one of his videos talks about his approach to this also but I am not sure which one.

Mar 28, 18 4:08 pm
shellarchitect

I'm very curious how much income he gets from these plans. I've read a portion of one of his books , which talks about total income, maybe he breaks it down later on.

PandasAreSexy

@shellarchitect - Did you enjoy the book?

Wood Guy

If you don't think pre-designed plans are a growth industry you're going to miss out on work in the near future, unless you either don't do residential work or you have found a nice with very wealthy clientele. Younger generations are happy, as a rule, with semi-custom everything; it's what they've grown up to expect. Nothing fully custom, but nothing fully stock either. With a huge supply of pre-designed homes and the ability to flip-flop any plan, an educated customer can pick a plan that works on the site.

I absolutely agree that the best architecture is one-of-a-kind work tailored to its situation, but so are the best suits and cars. Certain clients and sites demand custom, but most don't. People need places to live. Properly compensated architects are too expensive to create custom artwork for every client. Pre-designed plans are the answer--good design at an affordable price.

I have one set almost ready to go, and a bunch of others in the wings for when I have spare time to develop them. Without advertising I could have sold my one plan set several times over, after getting paid to develop the bones on a custom job. I honestly missed out on over $10K of revenue last year because I didn't take a few hours to make a set ready for sale. Full sets sell for $2500 to $6000. 

Mar 29, 18 7:12 pm
RickB-Astoria

WoodGuy, the thing is the deal has to pencil out. I'm not against pre-designed house plans but they need to be approached from a regional-based solutions offered. However, when you put about 500 hours of work to do a fully thought out set of drawings that is adaptable to multiple sites and largely ready to go then it better pencil out for being worth the time. Plans prepared specifically for a client, we have a professional obligation not to reuse it. People pay for custom home because they want it to be a one of a kind. If the client is a developer calling for a multi-use license then I'm for putting the cost at a reduce level price per use. Each use is per individual lot within a development. If they are developing a development of 100 lots of homes then the price is per complete package per lot as required per permit requirements based on 3 to 5 copies of the plans & specifications. I would go with a $2500 to $6,000 or more per "use". A use being defined as per house or building built. I can do this even for commercial. I don't mind providing comprehensive services for developers and providing value to the overall development project but I'm not in it for doing all that for free. However, $500 price level would be ridiculously low because the cost to make the prints and the part taken out for taxes would suck up the money pretty quick.

eeayeeayo

Why would you be making prints? Stock plans are usually sold as pdfs, downloaded by buyer, so their problem to print.

RickB-Astoria

Get paid $500 and get liable to $50+ Million dollars worth of properties for the rest of your life? Great idea because every copy they print and use to build a house from becomes legal copies that you are liable to. Good move slick.

eeayeeayo

So you're planning to sell stock plans one paper set at a time? Good luck with that. Let us know how it goes.

eeayeeayo

Until then, time to join the ignore button campaign.

Wood Guy

Rick, the project I designed was essentially a spec house, so most of my time was already paid for. The incremental cost to convert them into stock plans is minimal. I'm kinda pissed that I hadn't done the math before on what I'm losing by not converting the project to a stock plan. I actually designed the home specifically to appeal to a broad range of clients and to fit on a broad range of sites, sort of a modern farmhouse. It was sponsored by a national magazine so that definitely helped with exposure. I've been directing inquiries to several colleagues who have lines of pre-designed homes.

True, clients deserve unique work, but nothing is truly original so it doesn't take much to make a custom design more generic. I have hundreds or maybe thousands or designs I've done for clients or just for fun that won't get built for various reasons that could all be converted into stock plans pretty easily. It's fairly easy and commonly done to add verbiage that makes you not liable for anything.

Wood Guy

And who the hell is spending 500 hours on design for a house. That would have to be quite a house. I've spent twice that time on very custom projects, but I can design and fully detail a new home in 100 to 150 hours, 200 tops.

Wood Guy

These are all friends or people I know at least, making a significant portion of their income from very high quality stock home plans:

https://www.solsken.us/plans (I actually designed their "tulip" model, but did not name it...)

https://www.brightbuilthome.co...

http://www.hollandandfoley.com...

http://thegohome.us/

RickB-Astoria

Wood Guy, 100-200 hours and you have cookie cutter design. 500 hours and you have something distinct and new.

30-50 hours and you're Chris Stewart.

RickB-Astoria

Here is some of the work from a friend of mine: http://www.luciadesigns.com/ ---- for some more of his design on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Jim-Lucia-Custom-Home-Design-240627502641298/ ----- He's now semi-retired the last year or so. Cool guy in Florida.

Wood Guy

Rick, I'm not speaking theoretically, I actually make a living designing houses and renovations. Nothing I do is cookie-cutter, but not much is super high end either. I have spent 1000+ hours on a million dollar renovation, and almost 500 hours on what amounted to a kitchen addition, but most of my projects are for upper middle class people like doctors and lawyers who want a new home in the $400K to $800K range, or a renovation in the $200K to $400K range. I can deliver those in 100 to 200 hours, including construction details and energy modeling. That's assuming I don't get too wrapped up in interior design, which can eat up a lot of time.

The point is, the people who can afford to hire an architect to spend 500 hours on a custom home are not the market for pre-designed home plans. Most of the market of new-home buyers are not going to pay an architect for 500 hours of work. 


JBeaumont

That Florida guy... Cheap finishes, nonsensical layouts, big wastes of space for no reason, children's book illustration level representation of some semblance of regional styles... yeesh.

eeayeeayo

They do kind of look like something that the roadrunner would zoom by over and over in the background of a cartoon. Unfortunately there's a large swath of American homeowners who aspire to owning a cartoon house.

shellarchitect

I love this ^^^^ 

Wood Guy vs RickB.

Seasoned professional vs seasoned commentator

Rick, you are very good at finding reasons not to do things.  You don't have to do everything, but you do have to do something!

Mar 30, 18 4:14 pm
poop876

He's got an excuse for everything. Looking back, 10 years passed and nothing changed in his life. It's very sad!

mreed
rickbalkins.com is something else... is that the first website ever made? I’m speechless
Mar 30, 18 4:24 pm
JBeaumont

He said in another thread that he just did that recently, for an assignment. He's trying to finally finish a 2nd associate degree (after 15 years of community college+3 years at a 4-year university). When anybody questions why it's taking so long he says he wasn't full time in most years. But when anybody questions his education he claims he was full time most years. He's conveniently inconsistent, to suit any argument.

RickB-Astoria

JBeaumont, you are not including all educational study. Educational study is not just going to the classroom and taking college credit. You are forgetting about self study. After all, they are just the instructors and professors but you are the teacher. Only you can teach yourself and learn. They can only guide you or point you to resources that you could learn from but ultimately, it takes you to study the resources and learn from it.

Non Sequitur

Honestly, I think the webpages I was building in the mid 90s are spectacular compared to ricky’s.

RickB-Astoria

It's just a simple frame based site. The other parts are googlesites pages that the frame links to and put into the main field. It allows me to bring up the pages while keeping a common domain at the top of the browser. I'm not using HTML5 or Flash. HTML 5 and Flash is a resource hog sucking up hundreds of megabytes just for the page your on. I don't give a shit about that crap. If I was going to do that, I might as write the damn thing as a Java Applet.

RickB-Astoria

N.S. a whitepages ad is just a name and phone number. It's not even comparable. If I'm going to go through all the crap to make a site look like a poster sheet design done in Adobe InDesign or something, I might as well make it a PDF.

TrogIodytarum

A well done static "poster" website is better than a piece of shit semi-interactive one like the one you currently have. I question how somebody with such little talent is capable of existing.

JBeaumont

At least he actually made the website. That's better than the term paper that he links to on there, which is 90% verbatim copied from other websites. It's also better than nearly everything else he's ever said he was going to do, in the sense that he hasn't actually gotten around to doing any of those things - but he did make a website.

jla-x

Check out his contact page..wtf?

RickB-Astoria

Troglodytarum, why? 

So to impress people who don't want architects/designers in the first place since all of them think architect/designers are just an inconvenience to get a permit. They just want to go to doing their project. We are only a profession because bureaucrats and their regulatory codes. If there wasn't any codes and bureaucrats they be building it without us however the hell they want, kill themselves and possibly others, and world population down solving one of our global problems of overpopulation that will end up killing us all. We are just serving the interest of overpopulating the planet because stupid people can't get away with killing themselves and 50+ other people that would be contributing to the reduction of human population towards human extinction. Instead we are contributing to extinction of all life on this planet. That's the undivine tragedy of our hubris. Let stupid be stupid and accelerate the end of human kind so that a new Earth and new life forms can flourish in utopia without the divine mistake called human kind. For some gut wrenching reason, I just don't think this human kind will end itself without destroying the whole damn universe with it. Before human kind, there wasn't 'wars'. It was just hunting & gathering and being in the equillibrium of nature. It was until a divine mistake was made and human kind came to being and the mystical spark of 'crafting of tools' to leverage human kind above everything else and the dominion of an evil kind of unimaginable level was born. It spread across like a cancer across the globe. In the near future, this cancer will spread across the solar system and then the galaxy and across the galaxies of the universe. All along the path rife with wars of ever greater consequences. Eventually a consequence too large and too big to handle. A consequence of universal destruction all because of little things like disagreements. Same immaturity but more advance technology with ever more powerful weapons of war. This immature, war-mongering, evil cancer will consume and destroy the universe for the same petty reasons as a mad man's petty Twitter battle with others could lead to thermonuclear war possibly killing off everyone. If it doesn't kill the human race now could lead to killing off galaxies or even the universe. Perhaps this dystopian hell can result in a utopian outcome. In all that, what in heaven or hell or on earth does a simple meager website matter?

curtkram

Html5 is pretty much the best thing ever

curtkram
RickB-Astoria

curtkram, Sure, HTML 5 isn't bad. When custom coding a website, especially a fully interactive one is a significant amount of work, testing, etc. The same is true with any custom coding whether it be HTML 5 or PHP or any computer language. I should note that I was using a free web host to host the web instead of my computer functioning as the web server. Free web hosts places limitations on server side processing or they often do and if the demand is too high, the availability of the site becomes unreliable. For the assignment, I didn't want to do that. I didn't want to put such demand on my computer. If I were to rework on that at my convenience, I'd probably do something along the line. To do a website with custom web coding and the graphics reformatted for the web. (Remember, graphics used for print is significantly higher resolution than you should be using for web because not only will it cause websites to load longer such as the time to transfer all the images content and such from the web server to the client's browser cache (ie. hard drive). It slows processing of web pages. It also consumes the full space of that megapixel to gigapixel image content even when viewed as a 800 x 600 image vs. actually using a scale down image of the full size image. When working on projects for clients, the work is produced for print not web hosting or showing in an image gallery on the web. Basic internet in about 1 mbps. That's 1 second to transfer a 128 Kilobyte image. Imagine what a 128 Megabyte image will take. That would be 1,024 seconds. It would likely be a little longer. So figure 18-20 minutes on a 1 Mbps service. The ISP here where I am at doesn't have high speed upload which means pretty lousy for a high demand server. A better ISP service for hosting a web server would be appropriate for such.

I guess you can't do responsive web design on a
Commodore.

BulgarBlogger

The reason architects like myself dislike stock plans is for several reasons - some also mentioned previously above: 

1. They have no relation to site/context. 

2. Mass availability is the antithesis to exclusivity. Designing a custom home is like getting a tailored tail suit. Good architects believe they have taste and a skill set that is valuable and want clients that can pay for it. Therefore, they look upon stock plans, and architects who produce them, as people who don't hold the same values and frankly, don't have the same level of taste and skill set they do. Its kind of like going into a wine store and choosing a cheaper liquor over a more expensive one for a mixed drink. At the end of the day you'll have two cocktails by the same name, but one would be made with the presumably "better" liquor.

3. Stock plans are generic - architecturally speaking. Good architects want to create personalized abodes - not generic habitats. Good architects feel and believe they have a social responsibility, whereas stock architects care little about that and sell that out for cash. 

Mar 31, 18 8:40 pm
jla-x

First he writes “...want clients that can pay for it”...then her writes “Good architects feel and believe they have a social responsibility“. Good architects either care about making good design more available for the masses, or they care about producing high quality custom projects. Both cannot be true. Not that one is right or wrong...there is a place for each approach, but you can’t claim that high-end custom luxury architecture is synonymous with “social responsibility”.

tintt

I betcha BB only wears custom tailored clothing from custom woven cloth from textiles raised on custom sheep.

jla-x

I misspoke on that a bit...both can be true for a single architect, but not for a single architecture.

jla-x

“Mass availability is the antithesis to exclusivity.” Exclusive yet socially responsible lol.

BulgarBlogger

Tintt-

BulgarBlogger

Im an immigrant, own a few custom tail coats, and make a living as an architect. What do you have going on as an American-born citizen?

jla-x

^because his doorman has a nicer custom suit.

jla-x

Lol

tintt

I grew up poor so I learned to sew in a house my great grandfather (an immigrant stonemason and carpenter) built.

BulgarBlogger

Next time you apply to work for Diller Scofidio and Renfro- read their job posting language: “experience working on international and culturally significant projects”


This is what I’m talking about when I say “exclusive, and socially responsible.

Mar 31, 18 10:50 pm
jla-x

Culturally significant and socially responsible are not the same thing. Socially implies that you are speaking of the masses, the “exclusive” minority that you aspire to serve is literally the opposite of that. Nothing wrong with that, just can’t open a 5 star molecular gastronomy restaurant and claim that your goal is to end world hunger.

joseffischer

Diller Scofidio, do you know Merica?

BulgarBlogger

ok- yes- I admit- socially responsible and culturally significant are NOT the same thing. High-profile is the word I was looking for. But projects that are high-profile can be socially responsible and culturally significant- but not all. 


And as far as Bulgaria being a Soviet Block country- no, Bulgaria was a socialist country, but never part of the Soviet Union. 


And yes- I do have an Albanian doorman lol. Good guy- but not someone I’d want to invite to my house. Different class...

Apr 1, 18 12:17 am
jla-x

Oh, what class are you in?

BulgarBlogger

Jla-x : you must live in a utopian fantasy where class doesn’t exist. Acknowledging the existence of class and people’s respective social standings is something that gets interpreted as a form of aggression towards them. There are people of various classes in this online community- and that is fine. But what I dont understand is why people like you seen to promote an agenda in which the only way “forward” in the world is to somehow accept others despite behaviors/customs/etiquettes that make them incompatible with members of the upper classes.

BulgarBlogger

I wouldn’t want to have someone who curses, degrades women, listens to music with questionable lyrics, etc (low class behavior) around my kids. For the record- Trump may be a billionaire, but he’s low-class...

tintt

BB, what class are you in?

tintt

I wouldn't let my kids around a guy who told people he was in a higher class than a doorman.

curtkram

trying to wrap my head around this one. just to make clear then, it's ok for decent people to invite their doorman into their house if the doorman behaves like decent people, but it's not ok to invite trump supporters into your house, due to them not behaving like decent people?

tintt

Spic plans? You racist.

jla-x

tintt, I think he’s an aristocrat.

There are two class systems. One is based on economics, the other on behavior. They are not without influence on each other. In my experience money tends to make people boorish (entitlement, etc.). The penultimate reference is Class by Paul Fussell.

http://img2.imagesbn.com/p/9780671792251_p0_v1_s600.JPG

BulgarBlogger

Curtkram - yes, if my doorman behaved in a way that I respected, I would have him over every day... however, most of the time that is NOT the case...

curtkram

is the doorman a trump supporter?

jla-x

True class only reveals itself when disaster hits. See the last scene of Titanic. Money and manners won’t predict who will step on your face to get into the life boat, or who will give you a hand.

BulgarBlogger

class and humanity are not the same thing...

tintt

I enjoy designing for the non-upper class. I couldn't imagine designing for people like BB.

jla-x

Ok, you are correct on the semantics, but “class” is a very shallow thing to judge people on. People should be judged as individuals not members of a social or economic class. When people are obsessed with that kind of thing it’s usually because of some kind of insecurity.

tintt

j, I think he is a member of the insufferables.

RickB-Astoria

THANK YOU..... jla-x !!!!

BulgarBlogger

Nce

Apr 1, 18 2:53 am
mikelo

someone is already doing it here.. They even have prices listed.  Go buy yours xD 

http://www.best-un-built.com

Apr 1, 18 9:19 am
Volunteer

I believe in colonial America builders frequently altered plans to fit the site and needs of the family they were building for. (If, indeed, they had any plans to begin with). After a builder and his crew have built fifteen or twenty federal houses they could do one in their sleep as well as make any changes the owner desired.

Apr 1, 18 11:30 am
RickB-Astoria

Frequently, the owners knew how to build. There wasn't as many occupations back then. Most Americans (well the men) learned how to build. It was the way of life. It was something that was taught to men during growing up like hunting. People learn how to do this stuff to varying degrees and were able to build their homes by hand or with a friend. Combined, the two or so individuals would build. They didn't do the fancier stuff themselves but basic rough framing wasn't a problem. This was why it is truly vernacular. These were more from memory than any sort of printed set of plans. It's DIY but with people who learned basic construction while growing up and probably been part of building several houses before their adulthood. In those days, you had one of few occupations you can be in so a good portion of Americans were experienced with building but that isn't so true these days. In those days, children worked.

archi_dude

Two thoughts. Could you imagine such a discussion on a website design forum about square space and the like? We should take ourselves less seriously.


But also, the places that have sites where stock homes actually work are generally in a location that the demographic wouldn’t be seeking a design professional anyway. Just a hardworking family excited they can join the American dream. Point out a clear site location within an hour of the coast that a property owner would be fine with a stock home or that the site isn’t some random geometric shape or isn’t on a intense slope or makes sense to build a single family vs a multi unit or the planning commission doesn’t make owners jump through crazy hoops ect. Ect.

Apr 1, 18 11:59 am
BulgarBlogger

So you are saying that hardworking families are just interested in a pastiche/gimmick/knockoff of the real thing, because they can't afford the real thing... Good architects are interested in offering the real deal, not a polyester suit made to look like a linen/silk one...

curtkram

aren't suits typically made of wool? surely this goes back to the class discussion above.

Some architects are interested in all sorts of higher ideals (however they may define them) but most are more interested in a paycheck. You can't eat ideals.

OneLostArchitect

Problem is some architect designs are no better than stock plans for a fraction of the cost. Good perspective on square space and web designers... so true.

BulgarBlogger

Miles - exactly. And these pre-designed homes are an example of despair... if they were any good, they wouldn't be designing such homes.

Apr 1, 18 1:15 pm
Wood Guy

The architects I know selling stock plans are all very talented and as busy as can be doing custom work. They are selling pre-designed plans primarily to bring reasonably good design to the masses, as well as augment a paycheck that can be less than secure when you only work for the 1%.

I'm not claiming any level of talent, but I have designed and built for the 1% and the 0.1% and prefer working for those a little farther down the ladder. Not because I can't get those jobs, but because I don't like those people and how they treat others. 

Non sequitur (not you, Non). There are plenty of architects doing bad custom houses. It's just a bigger check.

Volunteer

Here is a 'mass design' from Connor Homes of Vermont. Mass plans and a kit house no less. The horror.

Apr 1, 18 3:32 pm
OneLostArchitect

I’m curious about doing this myself. However I am a licensed architect and want to limit my liability of the documents. Is there some disclosure / indemnification clause I can reference?

Apr 1, 18 4:36 pm
Non Sequitur

Get a team of lawyers to write up a shiny TOS and cross your fingers.

randomised






Just enable English subtitles :)

https://www.webuildhomes.nl/


While I like the democratization of home-ownership that these kind of hypercapitalistic initiatives promote, they still lead to sub-par architecture but most importantly bad urbanism. Because when there's no money for  architect(s)ure, there sure as hell is no money for urbanism to embed that architecture in vibrant city fabric or liveable communities.

Apr 2, 18 8:43 am

The same thing happens where there are mountains of money for architecture.

randomised

True, but I'm not really familiar with that condition.

Volunteer

"... they still lead to sub-par architecture but most importantly bad urbanism."

Worse than this?

Apr 2, 18 9:47 am
Non Sequitur

I like that one... but I'd say it would be meh if every other house looked like it too.

randomised

I am not familiar with the urban design around the Venturi home. But if it's your typical American burbs, yes that's horrible most of the time.

jla-x

Horrible to whom? Many people like the suburban lifestyle for its convenience. Urban areas are imo horrible if you have kids. It just becomes annoying to deal with, and with less free time to sit around and sip coffee on the street, or hop around bars, it’s really more of a burden than a benefit. Add to that the small living areas, lack of green space, and high costs...Environmentally, yes it’s almost always destructive, but doesn’t necessarily have to be. Architects and academics also almost always ignore the qualities and cultural relevance of suburbs.

jla-x

Cities were not always places people wanted to live. It took a long time for cites to become desired places. Suburbs have only been around for a short time. Improvement can be made. Improving the quality of the dwellings, the urban design, the relationship to the environment.

BulgarBlogger

Urban areas are imo horrible if you have kids. It just becomes annoying to deal with, and with less free time to sit around and sip coffee on the street, or hop around bars, it’s really more of a burden than a benefit.

If you have kids and are still hopping around bars, something's gotta be wrong with you...

jla-x

Reading comprehension. I said that when someone had kids they don’t typically do those things...and living in an urban area is more of a burden than an amenity.

randomised

Horrible to whom? The planet for starters. All these resources wasted on commuting between work in the city and home in the suburbs, all this time spent away from the family but stuck in traffic, not being able to get around without a car AND a trimmed lawn does not equal green space. Urban areas are great for having kids, daycare is around the corner, literally, and so is a café ;) The library is on the other side of the canal, part of a combined school/gym/daycare/coffee place/apartment block that faces a square with small neighbourhood shops run by local people. Within 5 min. walking distance I have three different larger supermarkets to choose from. There's a nice little family park with playing equipment for kids and suggestive sculptures by artist/designer Joep van Lieshout for the adults at the end of the street, if I look the other way there's a nice canal that has a Mecanoo swimming pool on it's edge and tram and busstops on its bridge. Within 10 min. walking distance there's a larger park, designed by famous landscape architects, with a children's petting zoo and a nature playground where kids build huts, explore and play in the mud, make campfires to roast bread, there are also two daycares in the park, a sports club (korfball!), event spaces, restaurants, a small cinema, a brewery and an icecream shop just to name a few. There was a circus in the park not too long ago, a kid's fair with rides just now I think and different musical events and festivals year round. Also, I hear lots of birds chirping while typing this at 6 in the morning, so yeah that's horrible.

tintt

That's really romantic, randomised. I live in an urban area with kids in the US, I should write my version sometime. lol. First, we live in the city but my husband commutes to a suburb (our fault I know, we suck). Quick, do you guys have problems with poop in parks? Dog poop, goose poop? Syringes, condoms in parks, etc? Our local elementary school does not have a library or a music program. 

Non Sequitur

I currently live in what would have been one of the first subburb of my city, back in the 60s. Now, it's borderline urban with services and proximity to transit... yet I get to keep my single-fam detached home. Homes stay on the market for hours here... not weeks. Suck it subburbanites, enjoy your secluded overpriced boxes.

tintt

My neighborhood is a first suburb too but from the 1880's.

jla-x

Depends on the specific city and suburb in question.

randomised

Tintt, yes there's some dog poo but most people (their owners I suppose) pick that up and there are specific parts of the parks assigned to dogs and their owners so it's much easier to contain and avoid. Goose poo is only a minor issue at very isolated quiet places where water and grass meet and I haven't found a syringe since I live in Amsterdam, heroin is not that big over here or the users just use it in the privacy of their homes. And I think I only found 2 used condoms outside in all these years, but I haven't really looked for those so maybe I simply overlooked most of them.

Non Sequitur

Discarted syringes and used condoms are not uncommon for me... but that's mostly because we (Gov of Canada) give them away (along with pipes and sandwiches) to those who use/need them, for free. There are also daily clean-up crews dedicated for those so it's not as bad as it once was.

tintt

what kind of pipes?

Non Sequitur

The kind people like to smoke little white rocks in. Personally, they should add an option to deliver classic tobacco pipes too. I had one in grad school and would love to pull it out again on occasion.

jla-x

I understand needles, but why do they give out pipes?

Non Sequitur

Pipes are shared amongst users and desease can spreadly easily. So fresh pipes are available.

jla-x

I live in a suburban metro area that has a lot of large companies...one employs over 20k people of all levels...around here there is a mix of expensive sfr, low cost sfr, and apartments for all income spectrums. It’s not at all walkable, but there are a lot of good parks, natural areas, and attractions. I think the paradigm of companies being in cities and people commuting is starting to slowly change due to ridiculously high living costs of “desirable” cities. Also, sustainability is a complicated issue. Sure suburban areas are mostly very unsustainable as I acknowledged, but it’s very possible to make the urban form of sub-urban far more sustainable
than it is...

jla-x

My area is the poster child of what not to do as an urban designer, but I see changes happening slowly. It’s not a matter of tabula rasa thinking...it is what it is...and we designers need to engage and improve it rather than wish it away...

randomised

You don't necessarily need to wish it away but at least don't make any more of them, that's the very least we can do as urban designers and architects. Don't become part of the problem but work on proposing solutions.

jla-x

Do you assume that urbanism can be applied tabula-rasa rather than naturally evolved? The forces that caused cities to exist don’t really exist anymore. What we have now are cities that exist for amenity more than economic necessity. Urbanism without the Industry is as cartoonish as suburbia without the
smell of cowshit.

randomised

Sorry but I don't understand your response.

jla-x

We have to look at cities from an evolutionary perspective. Cities evolved into what they are today because of specific economic forces like trade, industry, etc. That took time. Now the economic drivers have completely changed, but the city itself is a continuation of that lineage. We can’t force urban form, it occurs in tune with the economic forces of the times. There is no real necessity of location anymore to justify the same kind of cities of the past. Many new developments in and around post industrial cities are similar to the suburbs because they are replicating and marketing the positive traits/artifacts/evolutionary manifestations of “urban life.” Both are based on fantasy in a sense...the suburbs offer an artificial idealized slice of the countryside without the “smell of cow shit”. Similarly, some new urban projects offer an artificial idealized slice of urbanism with all of its amenities and none of its original economic driving forces and grit...leaving urban lifestyle a “commodity” in and of itself. In both cases, we’ve compartmentalized , dislocated (physically and psychologically), and centralized everything that makes the wheels turn out of site and mind, leaving only the amenities in place. It’s almost Disney like or Vegas like. This has some good, but mostly bad consequences. Environmentally, I’d say it’s more important to think about the decentralization and integration of production in tune with current economics and technologies than to be convinced of the superiority of the artifacts of past forces (as nice as they are.)

accesskb

ya'll know the cookie cutter homes being built by the thousands and sold today are predesigned right?  Developers take it a step further and build it rather than just selling plans.  I think selling plans won't really work. There is a big difference in buying plans and actually having it built.

Apr 2, 18 4:23 pm
randomised

*y'all

archi_dude

How was the apartment you looked at? 


Or


How was the open house?


It was in a great spot and totally affordable but the architecture was bad


-said no one, EVER.

Apr 2, 18 5:28 pm
tintt

I literally just said this tho, so...

randomised

I said that too, still took the place though simply because I'm an architect and made it work :)

Volunteer

Why is suburbia so off-putting to so many 'designer' elites? The people that live in them seem to like them.

Apr 2, 18 9:26 pm

Auto-centric and autocentric culture for starters.

Does that make me a designer elite?

randomised

So off-putting? That's where school shooters spawn.

jla-x

The culture of suburbia is rich in its own way. Just have to watch a few good 80’s movies to get that. Academic and design elites are off-put by suburbs because they are comparing a new type of built environment to one that is older and more evolved. Not too long ago cities were terrible places to live. Technology improved, things changed, and now they are more desirable. I’m optimistic that the same will be true for suburbs as we further decentralize work, improve cars, and design more environmentally conscious dwellings and landscapes...

jla-x

Some code changes could really improve suburbs also... Mainly, get rid of the stupid 5’ side setbacks. There is a case to be made for row houses and medium density sub-urban...

jla-x

Should've said zoning overhaul not code...

proto

"Why is suburbia so off-putting?" Suburbia is made up primarily of speculative developments that are comprised of lowest common denominator "features" that can be itemized on a spreadsheet. People buy and are satisfied by what's available. But what makes homes nice by comparison is efficient, thoughtful layouts made with honest materials and crafted with care. These can be modest, but since there isn't a quick way to market this type of home. Modesty in scope has not been saleable so we get the situation we have now where homes are distinguished by how many & how expensive the features are, not whether they are part of a thoughtful whole.

proto

"These can be modest, but, since there isn't a quick way to market this type of home", there are few speculative developments that are actually any good. [partial sentence above not edited in time]

jla-x

proto, its a chicken and egg argument. Developers offer a product that is affordable and acceptable to the buyer. Not great, but neither is McDonald's. Architects can't affect demand of a product without presenting an alternative product to the market. Designers are selling a service, developers are selling a product. The financing, process, etc is completely out of reach for the masses. Homeowners would 100% buy a better product if it existed on the same shelf for a comparable price. Supply precedes demand. No one demanded an i-phone. The product was introduced to the market. The burden of innovation is on the innovator not the consumer.

proto

As long as speculative development is driven by amenities, as opposed to quality, nothing will change. There has been some movement by developers to appear green, which is dragging the quality back into buildings kicking & screaming because the marketing said so. But again, this is the marketing of perception vs a fundamental doing the right thing.

RickB-Astoria

^^^^^^^^^----  F---ing Hell.... Sheesh!!  ---^^^^^^^^

Apr 3, 18 4:16 am
RickB-Astoria

This above message was in response to a now deleted garbage by a garbage laying bot account.

BulgarBlogger

I think what architects are reacting to is the fact that that pre-defined floor plans attack one’s individuality. In other words- why would you want your house to look like everyone else’s? Its not a question of good vs bad design. Its a matter of whether or not your house looks the same if not very similar to someone else’s. As an Architect, if you know how to design a multitude of differerent types of spaces and are confining yourself to a one-size fits all floor plan, or a floor plan that can be “tweaked,” I think many interpret that as a move that doesn’t unshackle the individuality architects hope to imbue through creative license in their clients. 

Apr 3, 18 2:32 pm
BulgarBlogger

I also believe it is frustrating for architects like myself to see people become complacents and “be ok” with being the “average Joe” and “be like everyone else.” I think this is whg Architects are so critical of others who do not seek to be individuals, but members of a herd in the society.

Apr 3, 18 2:35 pm
RickB-Astoria

Not everyone can afford your dreamy world design. Most people can't really afford the $250 per sq.ft. home. Remember, they need space because they collect stuff. If people are going to live their for 30-50 years then you need to consider that. 98% of us are average joe. We don't have good paying jobs. Most of us are pay oppressed so that the shareholders of the employers we may work for get richer and richer by squeezing every dime they can out and pocket it as profits that goes to the few owners. The banks won't approve elaborate plans for bank loans. They need basic homes with area and usable space not spaces they have to get on a ladder to use. Welcome to the real world where most of us can't have the luxury and glamour of Maralago. Already, reality check kicks us in the balls because we have a beer budget even though we may dream and fancy of having expensive champaign and expensive $1000 bottle of exotic rare wine. Guess what, we are sheep. We are property of the government and rich elite. We are just their slaves.... pawns to their will because they control the world because they have all the money and control it. We are just another fucking brick in the wall.

BulgarBlogger

Rick, I don’t respect complacency. It is far from being a virtue. I don’t understand how people can be content with doing their 9-5 for years and years without ever wanting more in life. Ok- I take that back- people want more, but without putting in more. And im not talking aboit people who work 2 or 3 jobs. Yes- those people may be working long and hard, but they are putting in more effort than they should be if they want more money. Case in point: if you are working two or three jobs and still earning $40,000, quit one of your jobs and use that motivation to educate yourself in a way that would make you more valuable. Look at the loss as an investment. And to those who say they can’t because they need to support their families and pay off student debt: Don’t mean to uncompassionate, but no one made you make kids you can’t afford, and no one put a gun to your head telling you to take out debt you will be having a hard time paying back. Sometimes life sucks- but to simply kick back and pity yourself and become complacent and want nothing more than life is just a lazy way to live life... Part of the beauty of life is your ability to have dreams and fantasies. Nothing is too difficult to achieve; nothing is too difficult to obtain- even a custom-designed house.

RickB-Astoria

*FACEPALM* You might not understand the situation. Maybe the person did have a job that paid well and required an extensive education but when the career became obsolete, they lost that job after working 15-20 years and they didn't have kids until they were already worked 10 to 15 years and after having a few young children, they lose their jobs/career and no one else is hiring in their career and they have to work 2 or 3 jobs in order to pay the bills but they aren't offering high pay or necessarily full-time positions. They can't just stop paying. Maybe it is too difficult to achieve. What you seem to fail to understand is 80% to maybe 90% of every house ever built were basic houses. Before the 20th century, they were vernacular. "ARCHITECTS" were never part of the life of ordinary modest regular joe individuals. They were never part of their life. They were only for the upper class / rich aristocrats / social elites of our communities. They were never involved in the design of modest homes for modest income / average income. The only chance an average income person will have in getting an Architect-designed custom home is to purchase one that was pre-owned by 3-5 other property owners before them and get it when the property value is in a buyer's market not a seller's market. Our whole damn pricing model is unaffordable the same way average income citizens could not afford to pay a software architect-engineer-developer to make a full custom software application for them. In general, only businesses and rich people can afford it. Average citizens can not afford multi-million dollar custom designed home. They can never get the loans. The best they can get is $100K to $500K construction loans. That's all they can afford. to afford what you want in terms of design, the home would be only 300-500 square feet but they need 1,500-2,000 sq.ft. because a 300 to 500 sq.ft. home does not have the volume of space they need. You say, no one said they had to have kids but that's kind of crass. If they waited longer before they had kids, they might not be able to have kids. In general, women are not capable of having kids after a certain age point for reasons grounded in reproductive science. Get your head out of your ass. We serve to the benefit of the client. The client does not serve us other than serve you your legal notice that you're being sued. It is OUR job to develop solutions that addresses their needs & desires and at an affordable level within their budget. This may mean we choose to design with a beer-budget in mind. This may mean the home is not out of character with the community. It may mean the home has modest exterior finishes. As Architect, it is YOUR damn job to make a feasible solution within their budget. They may choose to have a modest home because they are more grown up, responsible, and with grip of reality than you are.

Volunteer

In a lot of burbs people either chose their own house from a developer's list or they hired their own architect after purchasing the lot. In my own burb, built on the site of a former fruit orchard in the early 1960s, a couple has just finished building an architect-designed house on a vacant lot that was owned by one of the original owners nearby before she sold her house and the vacant lot to move and be closer to family. As far as the older houses go there is not one that is identical to the others and many have been modified through the years from their original configuration.

And even when choosing from a developer's list the owner normally has a wide range of configurations and finishes even after deciding on one basic plan.

The only thing that would be identical is the apartment layouts in the central cities that many here seem hell-bent on cramming us all into.


Apr 3, 18 3:10 pm
BulgarBlogger

One other thought- this idea that you need a 3 or 4,000 sf home is bullshit. The fantasy of most Americans described by the white picket fence, a suburban home where you are best friends with your nieghbors, where you have a yard in which your dog can run around, and a garage where everyone has a car is a misnomer. That is only 1 VERSION of the environment of the American Dream- yet that is the only environment advertised out there. And you know why a lot of people choose to stay at jobs for 30+ years? Its because they get locked into paying a 30 year mortgage by staying at a job they probably start hating after 5 years.

Wood Guy

It goes beyond that--the whole "American (suburban) dream was heavily promoted BECAUSE it locked people into a 30-year mortgage.

Volunteer

The average family moves to a different home every seven years.

sameolddoctor

I have the following "plans" available, let the bidding begin!

- Shopping Malls

- Couple of Museums

- Residential towers

- Theme Parks

- Zoos

- Dentist offices

- Hotels 

Bidding starts at $1000 for a "plan".

Apr 3, 18 3:11 pm
randomised

How much for a section?

smauro

I have mixed feelings about this and see both sides of the argument. However, at the end of the day I think selling stock plans reaches a part of the market that I might not otherwise have access to; either because of cost or the intimidation of working with/finding an architect. As long as the buyer is fully aware of the pros and cons of each.

Has anyone here sold there plans online through a publisher? Can I get feedback about your experience doing this?

Jul 26, 18 2:23 pm
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Feb 12, 19 3:33 pm

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