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HELP with my architect!

tenzilkeli3

Ok, long story short...I haven't had the best experience with my architect. He is designing an addition over our garage and it hasn't been the smoothest communication. We (my wife and I) are total newbs to this and so we bounce back ideas a lot, just trying to figure out what is best and how it all works and he seems rather stand offish about it all. For example, my wife couldn't figure out a good size for a pantry/nor where it should go. He sent a snippy email telling us that he charges and all the changes or indecision is costing us more. Things like this...where he isn't really helping us or guiding us, but leaving it all to us...makes it frustrating. Is it just us or is this normal? PLUS, we went back and forth on adding dormers or not...we wanted dormers, then the contractor kind of talked us out of it (trying to save some cost), but now we have decided to add them back in. The architect added them before then with his last draft, he added skylights and took out the dormers...is it too much to ask him to add it back in? We aren't really keen on communicating with him much anymore, but we want the end result to be something we love. Also, he sent his invoice AND it has gone through the structural engineer already...should we bother asking him to add back the dormers? Thanks.

 
Aug 11, 20 12:31 pm
senjohnblutarsky

Client indecision is why I won't touch residential.  Yes you should pay the architect.  Second, if you've been waffling, I'd quit doing stuff until you make a decision.  I'm busy enough I don't need to redo someone's project 10 times before they make up their minds.

Aug 11, 20 12:36 pm  · 
2  · 
Non Sequitur

Residential is the worst because we also have to act as marriage counselors.  There is a point in any project were client changes cost us time and money so yes, it's totally normal and expected for you to pay your architect extra to play around with options.  

Another important point is you're listening to the builder/contractor.  This is a terrible idea since you are already paying an architect.  Let them handle what is reasonable with construction.  The GC will always cut corners if it makes their lives easier/cheaper.

Don't be a cheap wanker.

Aug 11, 20 12:42 pm  · 
3  · 
JLC-1

pay your bill, make up your mind and find a new architect when you know what you want. it's really annoying to work with clients that are changing their minds all the time, and believe it or not, making those changes takes time, which cost money. Or work with the GC and build a frankestein, he'll love taking your money for doing easy and cheap.

Aug 11, 20 12:47 pm  · 
1  · 
Non Sequitur

So, you also don't have a "insert dormer" button on your computer. Good, I thought I was the only one.

1  · 
SneakyPete

Revit dormers are pretty easy to add unless you want to know how the framing, roof intersections, flashing, and other silly unimportant parts work.

3  · 
Non Sequitur

If those simple silly "details" aren't added automatically, then why are we paying Autodesk so much for the software?

4  · 
SneakyPete

Stockholm Syndrome.

2  · 
citizen

Geez, Non, don't you guys have any of the necessary tools up there?


2  · 
Aluminate

Things that should have been discussed in your initial discussions with this architect: the architect's typical process, and whether he's billing you hourly or at an agreed-upon contract amount, and if the latter then how many design iterations and changes he will make as part of that amount, and how much he will charge for changes beyond that.  When I was working in residential I usually explained to clients that 3 or 4 design passes and different schemes during the early design phases are pretty normal and I build that into my design fee, but more design requests beyond that, and/or any requests for any changes after the construction documents are in progress, would be billed hourly as additional services on an hourly basis.  But different architects have different typical procedures and expectations, so it's important to get this all ironed out as early as possible. Ideally you should have a written contract that spells this out (and in some states it is a legal requirement for an architect to have a signed written contract spelling out terms before he can start providing services.)

If the architect already completed full construction documents that included the dormers, then it might be pretty straightforward for him to provide those, and the time he'd need to put in to get those ready for you and send them might be small.  But if you eliminated the dormers prior to completion of the construction documents then it may entail more work now to complete all the details for the dormers.  In either case it's not "too much to ask to add it back in", and no reason you shouldn't ask - but you should expect there to be time involved, and to pay for that time.

As for the pantry changes and the snippy email: it may be that the architect is just trying to make sure you're aware that this work will incur more fees, and documenting via email that he communicated that - which is all good practice.  There may not have been a snippy tone intended - and on the other hand, if this is one of many changes, and particularly if some are the result of contractor suggestions, then he may be growing impatient with the back and forth.  In any case, it is up to you whether to pursue that additional work with the architect at this point, but certainly not unreasonable for him to bill for his time to complete those changes.

Aug 11, 20 12:59 pm  · 
2  · 
proto

"We (my wife and I) are total newbs to this and so we bounce back ideas a lot, just trying to figure out what is best and how it all works and he seems rather stand offish about it all. For example, my wife couldn't figure out a good size for a pantry/nor where it should go. He sent a snippy email telling us that he charges and all the changes or indecision is costing us more. Things like this...where he isn't really helping us or guiding us, but leaving it all to us...makes it frustrating. Is it just us or is this normal? "

Why are you having to figure anything out? Why isn't the architect doing this for you?

Just for perspective: we work hourly. Clients can be as indecisive as they like. However, we'll still get frustrated if no progress happens when options have been presented for decisions multiple times.

Aug 11, 20 2:16 pm  · 
 · 
Jay1122

Most people here are on the architecture side, of course they will support architects. 

It depends on which phase the project is in. If it is in schematic design, it is normal to test out options. Usually within agreed amount of time or options written in contract.Of course you wont get infinite design changes. If it is in construction document phases after design is signed off and you suddenly want to change, it makes things a lot more difficult to change. At this point it is up to the architect to either absorb the fee to make client happy or ask for additional fee to cover the extra time spent.

It seems like you are not doing high end residential, so the fee won't be as generous. So it is understandable the architect gets frustrated and asking for additional fee. There is no definite answers.


Aug 11, 20 2:56 pm  · 
 · 

OP clearly stated they are in construction. Everything the client is asking for is an additional service at this point.

 · 

I have a feeling that the OP is paying a flat fee to their architect and their indecisiveness is much worse they they are letting on.  

Aug 11, 20 3:26 pm  · 
3  · 
b3tadine[sutures]

"It'll cost you more to design it, than to have me design it." - Every Single Fucking Architect

Aug 11, 20 6:30 pm  · 
 · 
Drawn in

That's a pretty ambiguous catch phrase.

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