Designing a House

Designing a House

Designing a house is easy, anyone can do it … or so most people think. The reality is that there are literally thousands of nuances that, taken together, make the difference between a home that fits your needs and one that just keeps you from getting wet when it rains. This is what we will be discussing today in “Designing a House”.

Discuss the process: phone calls

If you are a practicing architect, I can guarantee that you received a phone call asking the following question:

“Can you make plans for me?”

Right now, I imagine doctors feel the same when a patient walks into their office and proclaims that the patient has self-diagnosed and that all they need from the doctor is a prescription. How often do you think this happens? I bet it happens all the time.

When I get these first phone calls, I usually spend my time talking about two things:

How much did it cost for designing a house

Whenever an architect sits down with a new client on a residential project, the first thing to do is have a conversation about the goals and requirements of the project. It’s during this initial conversation that we work to figure out exactly what this project should accomplish … and it’s generally accepted that avoiding the rain is not the kind of issue I’m talking about. In the early stages of schematic design and programming, the way this process works for me is that I prepare a series of sketches showing the general layout of the parts and their location on site. Usually, I like to put together all the information I gathered during the programming phase and start locking in the initial diagrams that describe the physical parameters of the project. Usually, this is done in the form of quick sketches and the owner will approve these sketches before moving on to the next phase which is the development of the design.

The schematic design and programming phase is often my favorite as there is a social aspect to putting together the materials needed to do a good job. It is important that you have a real working understanding of how the house will ultimately be used so that we can create a finished product that supports a family’s lifestyle. As I usually draw when I speak, drawings and diagrams are usually created in real-time, right in front of the client, reflecting our conversation.

How architects charge for their services

When it comes to architectural fees for designing a house or residential project, I like to tell clients that everyone should have their skin in the game, that the architect and the client are responsible for each other and good. If we both have something to gain, we both have something to lose. I have spent a lot of time over the last 20 years striving to develop other ways to implement a fee structure that helps the client feel like they have more control over the architectural fees that might be incurred while giving the architect the ability to plan and cover their expenses. for the services they provide. One of the problems we run into all the time is that during the interview process, most clients only have a few things to base their selection criteria on design style, personality, and professional fees. Most of the time we don’t struggle with the design style and personality portions, people are generally familiar with our design style and as most people tend to find me after reading this site for a long time, I think I present myself as a nice person. That leaves only the last thing: the architectural fees.

I have spoken and written a lot about architecture fees on this site and yet they can still be difficult to understand as I am describing them in a fairly generic sense.

Schedule – As it appears there will be a schedule board for different level positions (such as administration, writing, project architect, associate, etc.) and you will be charged this rate for the time spent.

Per Square Foot: I find this method unreliable and unreasonable. There are too many moving parts to place a square foot value on the design and production of documents that could be used for tenders, permits, and construction.

Mixed rate – This is something we do more often now just because I have more people in my office and a broader range of specific skills. Instead of PKR 16,020 / hour for one person and PKR 44,500 for another, we have a flat rate that we charge for everyone … it mitigates the highs with the lows.

Combined rate: Basically it is a combination of the hourly rate and the fixed rate. The unknown and heavily influenced customer parts are set as hourly costs and the fixed “architect control” parts of the job are performed for a fixed price.

Construction Cost Percentage: These percentages vary from company to company, but are generally between 8 and 15%. This is our preferred method of determining our rates for designing a house, but one of the things that can always be confusing is what exactly counts as part of the construction cost. Also, the gap between the low end of the percentages and the high end is usually the result of the services provided, NOT the quality of the work.

Clear as mud, right? The reality is that at the end of the day, there is not much difference between all these different methodologies, it really has to do with what kind of billing strategy gives you the most clarity and therefore convenience.

Start a residential study

Now that we have a residential studio here in my office, I am working with a small team of carefully selected people and we are in the process of teaching them how to do residential jobs. This is nothing new, we did it all the time in my last office, but the difference here is that I have extremely experienced people who wanted to get involved in the residential study who have years of experience in commercial projects and are learning quickly. you have to think about how you build something on an incredibly nuanced scale much, much earlier than you would in a commercial project.

I talk about it quite often on this site; sometimes I feel good and sometimes I don’t, but basically, I feel like a really good designer and I tend to focus on the cost and feasibility of my projects. There are times when I think my focus on the cost side and buildability limits my creative process … but then I think about what I would like if I hired someone to design and document a house for me.

What makes designing a house difficult?

There are all kinds of reasons why designing a home can be difficult, and just because you’ve lived in a home doesn’t mean you’re really good at designing one. There are nuances that separate the good from the great and these are the moments that architects go through to create.

Sometimes there are mixed goals among “shareholders”: what a person values ​​are disproportionate to what his partner values. This is probably the most common challenge we face during the design process.

By setting aside lifestyle and focusing on ‘ticking the box, we want everything to work together. It is truly the embodiment of when a thing is greater than the sum of its parts.

Understanding Which Pieces Are Most Important To Your Life – I wrote an article in February 2010 titled “Customers & Dating Online” before anyone knew this site existed and this article focused on the idea of ​​”this what you want “versus” what you want “. you think you want “versus” what you really need. ”Even though no one has read this post, it shows up in every job I’ve worked on.

Understanding the flow: how you move from one space to another. What exactly defines a space in open-plan concepts, how are spaces identified without actually putting four walls around it?

Considering the terrain around the house, creating outdoor spaces takes charge of the actual space they serve, the art of extending the views both indoors and outdoors, as well as the introduction and creative use of natural light.
If you’ve listened to the podcast and turn here to see the link to see the toilet in the window above the front door of the house (which you could see from the street), go ahead, this is it. is good. here.

Design special moments in your home

Designing special moments in a house is what I really love to create; there is almost always an interesting story behind them. I really try to create these moments as a way to give clients something really amazing and personalized, especially when we don’t have an unlimited budget (by the way, I never had an unlimited budget). I tend to focus on those moments here in The Life of an Architect when deciding what kind of blog posts to write; sometimes they are not even expensive, they are just moments of reflection and execution.

These are some of my favorite moments from some of the houses that I have featured on this site:

The front door experience: ramp and body of water; I really would like to have this particularity at home.

Bench – bench, the guest shelf in steel and walnut; it is simply a moment of kindness on the part of the owner and the way she wishes to receive her guests.

Not your typical modern wooden deck – this is a great example of a simple concept that was well detailed and extremely well executed. While it sounds simple, it wasn’t, and the reason I love it is the subtle nuance of the sound of your feet walking from stone to wood, the temperature of the material (both visually and literally), and the role of this section of the bridge. . break the outside corridor as a special moment.

The “Trust me” card

In every residential project that I have done, I have told the client that there will be a time when I can play the “trust me” card, that there will be a time when they want something that they want. I feel so strong I can give. slap this card and I get an instant win. In return for granting me this letter, I will not fight them in any other way. If they want something that I don’t think is a good idea, I’ll try to educate them on their options so they can make an informed decision. If I do that and they still don’t agree with me, this is where the property (their house, their decision) comes in and every client deserves to have it in their project, but I think that it is a decision that will be detrimental to the objectives. we try, I take out the trust card.

Design a House
Designing a house for someone is an extremely rewarding process and we are very happy to build residential projects for our clients. I have the best of all possible worlds because I am always working on new types of projects and have the resources at my disposal than a larger office, but I can still manage a small team of talented architects and work on extremely personal residential projects. . Balancing design vision, personality types, monetary resources, and construction techniques requires more skill than casual observation would suggest, and hopefully today’s conversation hui provided a useful boost in the process.

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