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Q: 13 of 21 Questions To Ask Your Architect

How does the architect organize the process?

The organization of the architectural process follows simple step-by-step phasing in order to stay on track. This industry proven process defines an architectural project. While some projects may be more complex, and others more simple, these steps apply to every project.

Pre-Design

In the pre-design phase, we work closely with the client to develop a project program that defines the scope of the project. In this phase we will also research building and zoning codes for the site and field measure any existing conditions. This sets the stage for the next phase of Schematic Design.

Schematic Design

During the Schematic Design phase, we explore a multitude of design options. Many times, one single option does not contain all of the desired components. We will take the best of all the options and come up with a cohesive plan that incorporates all the best parts of each design.

Design Development

In Design Development, the designs from the Schematic Design phase are brought together and further developed into a detailed representation of the project. All aspects are explored and resolved into an overall design that takes into consideration all parts of the project.

Construction Documents

Once the Design Development phase is complete, preparation of the Construction Documents can begin. The Construction Documents make up the drawings that will be used for permit, bidding and construction. They will be a part of the contract between the owner and contractor that guide the entire construction process.

Construction Administration

Construction Administration is the overseeing of the project to make sure it is being constructed in accordance with the Construction Documents and the design intent. The architect works closely with the contractor and the owner to address on-site issues and answer any questions that arise.

 

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Q: 12 of 21 Questions To Ask Your Architect

What are the steps in the design process?

The from conception to realization, the design process involves multiple phases. Depending on your project, different phases could be necessary to achieve the best results. Small projects may require fewer phases while larger projects may require more phases. Each of which is integral in the success of a project. A typical architectural design process may include the following.

  1. Pre-Design
  2. Schematic Design
  3. Design Development
  4. Construction Documents
  5. Government Review
  6. Bidding Assistance
  7. Contract Administration

For a project that also includes interior design, there are sub-phases of this process that may coincide with the architectural design process.

Each phase can have it's own set of goals, challenges, and achievements. In the following weeks, Hauck Architecture will outline the different project phases in more detail. We will discuss what type of projects can benefict from the different phases with examples of real projects . If you just can't wait, the Process section of our site gives an outline of what to expect.

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Q: 11 of 21 Questions To Ask Your Architect

What would the architect expect the fee to be for this project?

No two projects are the same. Therefore, no two projects have the same fee structure. If the scope of a project is clearly defined from the beginning, we are able to estimate the time and resources necessary to perform each project phase. Our proposal for Architectural services is usually a lump sum, divided proportionally between these phases. If the scope is not clearly defined, we can perform the services on an hourly basis until such a point when the scope has been defined. At that time, you will have the option to transition to a lump sum contract or continue on an hourly basis. We will walk you through the design process and explain what to expect at the conclusion of each phase. Estimates can be provided for expenses such as printing and delivery. In addition, estimates can be provided for permit fees, site surveys, soils reports, or anything else that may be applicable for your project.

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Q: 10 of 21 Questions To Ask Your Architect

How does the architect establish fees?

There are many ways architects establish fees for their services. Architects may set fees as an hourly rate for time and materials, as a percentage of the construction cost, or as a stipulated sum. If the project scope is yet to be clearly defined, an hourly rate my be acceptable until all parties understand the amout of work required. If the project scope is clearly defined, this method is not to the advantage of the client. Fees should not be based on the speed of the architect but rather on the production, regardless of time spent. A precentage of construction cost can be used when the budget is clearly defined. However, Hauck Architecture believes this it not to the advantage of the client either. Our fees should not vary because a client chooses more expensive finishes. Our fees are typically a flat rate, stipulated sum based on the amount of work we feel is necessary to complete the project. Each proposal is broken down into specifc design phases and billed as a percentage complete for each phase. It is therfore our responsibility to perform in a timely manner and not dependant on the cost of construction set forth by he construction documents. To find out more about the design process and the what phases may apply to your project, clisk here.

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Q: #8 of 21 Questions To Ask Your Architect

8. How busy is the architect?

The Architecture process is one made up of several phases. No two projects are in the exact same phase of the design process at the same time. Time management is the key to balancing schedules and assuring timely completion of project tasks. We are well experienced in balancing schedules to assure project goals, expectations and schedules are met. We are always careful not to overload our schedule and always give accurate estimates for completion. We will not take on a project we feel we cannot dedicate the time and attention it needs.

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Two cars, one parking space.

Recently, a potential client asked Hauck Architecture about the possability of incorporating a car lift into his new home. This residential project was a new single family home on a small, ocean front lot in the La Jolla neighborhood of San Diego. Every square inch of the property was extrememly valuable. Taking up more site area for parking would not be the most efficient use of the real estate. The idea was to provide a car lift in order to park one car on top of another, while only taking up a one parking space footprint. This may sound like a unique request. But, in a high value real estate areas, it is not unusual. While reading through the latest issue of Residential Design + Build magazine, I came across an article that addresses this exact request. The Phantom Lift from American Custom Lifts in Escondido, CA is a beautifully integrated automotive lift that makes the most of each square foot. If you have a unique parking situation, be sure to discuss all the options with your AIA Architect. The solution my be something you could have never imagined.

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Q: #7 of 21 Questions To Ask Your Architect

7. How interested is the architect in this project?

Every project is important to us. From a small interior design remodel to a custom home, to a large tenant improvement, each project receives the same level of dedication and attention. As a small office, we take pride in the direct, hands-on approach, working with you as a team. No project is too small, no project is too complex. Design is our passion. We love nothing more than seeing a project go from an idea, to a sketch, to a drawing, to a built and tangible representation of that original idea, regardless of the project size.

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Q: #6 of 21 Questions To Ask Your Architect

6. Who from the architecture firm will you be dealing with directly? Is that the same person who will be designing the project? Who will be designing your project?

Hauck Architecture is a small, hands-on office. Our principal, T. Dustin Hauck, deals directly with all clients throughout the design process. Other talented members of our staff collaborate on projects through field studies, design charettes, constructive critiques, production drafting and permit processing. Each and every team member is educated in the architecture and/or design fields and experienced in all aspects of the architectural process. The studio atmosphere allows for freedom of design, resulting in the most creative and best possible solution for your project.

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Q: #5 of 21 Questions To Ask Your Architect

5. How will the architect establish priorities and make decisions?

Project priorities are established early in the design process. During the initial stages, we listen carefully to your needs, goals and objectives, prioritizing all the issues. Throughout the design process, each priority is considered and addressed. Design decisions are made with these priorities in mind. During our regular meetings, all aspects of the design will be explained, leaving room for modifications as goals and objectives change. We work with our clients as a team to arrive at the most effective solution. Informed decisions will be made taking into account all impacts to cost, time, and design intent.

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Q: #4 of 21 Questions To Ask Your Architect

4. How will the architect gather information about your needs, goals, etc.?

Listening is the most important thing we, as architects, can do to assess our client’s needs and goals. Many clients have a good idea of what they want, even before our first meeting. Others may have a general idea but don’t know the best way to address their issues. The solution may not be so obvious. By listening carefully to our client’s goals and objectives, we can identify core values that become significant drivers in the design. Careful listening, an open dialogue and in-depth analysis leads to a solution that demonstrates how thoughtful design can benefit the occupants. And, many times it is in ways not previously considered.

 

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Q: #3 of 21 Questions To Ask Your Architect

3. How will the architect approach your project?

Each and every project at Hauck Architecture is given the same commitment and respect. After assessing the project goals, challenges and expectations, we develop a cohesive plan to meet all the issues. The execution of this plan is what sets Hauck Architecture apart. Working within the project budgeting, meeting deadlines, obtaining permits and planning for construction are all part of the overall plan for every project. We will assess all the issues and prioritize each of them in order assure each one receives the attention it needs. Every project is different and has it own set of challenges. We will identify those and develop a strategic plan to accomplish your project goals.

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Q: #2 of 21 Questions To Ask Your Architect

2. What are the challenges of the project?

Each project has its own set of challenges. It may be a unique lot shape, strict government regulations, a tight budget or even all of the above. At Hauck Architecture, we have over 15 years of experience in working with a variety of project types and a multitude of project challenges. This experience gives us the ability to handle any obstacle along the way. Our goal is to handle these challenges with as little disturbance to the process as possible. We constantly maintain open communication with our clients so they are informed of all the issues at hand. It is our duty to foresee future challenges and address them early. Not all challenges can be foreseen. For those, Hauck Architecture relies on its experience, professionalism and ability to resolve the issue in a timely and complete manner.

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Q: #1 of 21 Questions To Ask Your Architect

1. What does the architect see as important issues or considerations in your project?

Just as no two people are the same, no two projects are the same. After listening carefully to the needs and wishes of our clients, we analyze all the local building codes and that may affect the project. Our goal is to take everything into consideration including functionality, aesthetics, budget, future goals, etc. The most important issues to Hauck Architecture are the issues most important to the client. If it is an ocean view you are after, or more space, or resale value, we will take it all into consideration, while always keeping in mind budget, scope and governmental regulations. All the issues are important. For your next project, let Hauck Architecture manage all the issues to create a project that exceeds your expectations.

 

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21 Questions To Ask Your Architect

The American Institute of Architects has developed a list of 21 questions you should ask before selecting an architect for your project. Each project is unique and it is important to make sure you have the right person in place to guide you through this complicated process. Over the next several months, I will explore each of these questions with answers that should shed some light on what it means to hire an architect for your project. For your next project, big or small, be sure to ask these same questions, whether it be a designer, draftsman or architect.

1. What does the architect see as important issues or considerations in your project?
2. What are the challenges of the project?
3. How will the architect approach your project?
4. How will the architect gather information about your needs, goals, etc.?
5. How will the architect establish priorities and make decisions?
6. Who from the architecture firm will you be dealing with directly? Is that the same person who will be designing the project? Who will be designing your project?
7. How interested is the architect in this project?
8. How busy is the architect?
9. What sets this architect apart from the rest?
10. How does the architect establish fees?
11. What would the architect expect the fee to be for this project?
12. What are the steps in the design process?
13. How does the architect organize the process?
14. What does the architect expect you to provide?
15. What is the architect's design philosophy?
16. What is the architect's experience/track record with cost estimating?
17. What will the architect show you along the way to explain the project? Will you see models, drawings, or computer animations?
18. If the scope of the project changes later in the project, will there be additional fees? How will these fees be justified?
19. What services does the architect provide during construction?
20. How disruptive will construction be? How long does the architect expect it to take to complete your project?
21. Does the architect have a list of past clients that you can contact?

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In the interest of reaching more home owners, builders, contractors or building owners, we found a great way to get more exposure for our Blog. Feed Shark will ping your Blog posts to multiple sites, increasing traffic. Get your Blog pinged by follwoing this link: Promote blog

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What is a Coastal Development Permit and do I need one?

A Coastal Development Permit is required for any project in the coastal zone as defined on official zoning maps. In general, this includes any property west of highway 5. Depending on where your project is located, you this review may be handled by your city, the coastal commission or both. The process can be lengthy and costly, depending on the project. However, there are exemptions available. If you think your property may be in the coastal zone, be sure to consult with your Architect prior to making any decisions.


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Can your contractor “get the led out?”

Or should I have spelled it l-e-a-d? On April 22, 2010 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) passed into law a requirement that any contractor performing renovation, repair and painting projects that disturb more than six square feet of paint in homes, child care facilities, and schools built before 1978 must be certified and trained to follow specific work practices to prevent lead contamination. Lead poisoning can lead to a number of ailments including but not limited to brain and nervous system damage, reproductive problems and headaches. Before your next remodel or addition project, be sure to ask your architect and contractor about the new lead-safe requirements. In addition, if you are buying, selling or renting a pre-1978 home, be sure any known information about lead based paints and/or hazards is disclosed. Find our more from the EPA's lead web site.

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Complexities of obtaining a building permit in San Diego

When selecting an Architect or other design professional, it is important to consider their design skills, technical abilities and person compatibility. Equally important, especially in the regulation saturated regions of southern California, be sure your Architect has the ability to procure your permit. Each jurisdiction, whether it be the City of San Diego, La Jolla, Solana Beach or Carlsbad, has it’s own set of rules, regulations and procedures. You design professional should know how to navigate these complicated and sensitive agencies, assuring your projects governmental approval, and subsequent completion. It is not enough to simply hand over construction document for your remodel or addition to the building department. Often times coastal development permits, site development permits, variances, or other discretionary reviews are necessary. An ideal candidate for your project should have the education, training, experience, and vision to guide you through the entire design and construction process. This is the definition of an Architect. San Diego is an area rich in diversity within a sensitive environment, resulting in extensive regulation. Hauck Architecture has the experience and can provide the attention, professionalism and service you deserve.



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What should you look for in a construction contract?

When executing a construction contract with your contractor, there are many things to look for.Your Architect can help negotiate this contract but it is important to look for several key items to protect yourself and your contractor.

  • The latest set of construction documents should be included as an defined part of the contract. These plans should be called out in the contract by the issue date on the drawings. If changes are made during the project, these changes should be marked on these documents directly, initialed and dated by both you and the contractor.
  • The contract should clearly define the project start and finish dates with provisions for overruns and possible incentives to the contractor for completing the project early.
  • In addition to start and finish dates, there should also be work day start and finish times. And, what days of the week workers will be at your home should also be defined. The contractor is responsible for getting the work done during normal working hours. There are laws that dictate when construction activities can occur.
  • The contract should clearly state how change orders will be handled. Who is responsible, timeliness, and payment terms should be outlined.
  • Any good contractor should warrant his work for at least one year. Make sure it's in the construction contract.
  • If there is a disagreement, there should be a binding arbitration clause in the contract. This can avoid costly lawyer fees by resolving an issue via arbitration.
  • There should be a statement of how the contract can be canceled, if either the contractor or the owner finds reasonable cause to exit from the contract.
  • All construction contracts should include a statement that the contractor will provide affidavits of final release, final payment or final lien waiver from all subcontractors and suppliers. This will release the owner from responsibility for payment to the sub-contractors. The general contractor should be responsible for payments to the sub-contractors.

Protect yourself and your project. Any good contractor should know all of these items and already have them as part of his basic contract template. Consult with your Architect should any questions about your construction contract arise.

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Why should I hire an architect?

Few people realize how complicated it is to build. That is until they find themselves lost in the maze of design options, building codes, zoning laws, contractors, and so on. Regardless of whether you're planning residential or commercial, urban or rural, single- or multi-family construction-no two building projects are exactly alike. There is no single, clear-cut path to follow.

An Architect is a professional who has the education, training, experience, and vision to guide you through the entire design and construction process, from helping you define what you want to build, to helping you get the most for your construction dollar.

The licensure of an Architect involves a minimum of 5 years of professional education and three years of experience before becoming eligible to take the licensing exam. The licensing process is an extensive series of written and graphic exams that test a candidates ability against established standards. Only licensed Architects may carry use the title "Architect."

Hiring a licensed Architect will assure you receive the attention and professionalism your project deserves, backed by industry tradition and the responsibility of licensure.

 

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