11 Aug 2008

What is the most common service clients request?

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QuestionWhat is the most common service clients request?

AnswerMost clients request the design package (The Sketch, The Details, The Docs) because they are interested in buying the expertise and documents to bid and build their project. But consider asking your architect to help you choose the best project (The Test), select a compatible builder (The Advisor) and assist you during construction (The Agent) for ultimate consistency and design intent preservation.

The summary below briefly explains each service I offer and the client experience.

  • The Test is an evaluation to decide if your project makes sense. Usually remodel clients entertain several ideas, but only have the budget to do a small project. The test compares project budget, needs and value so you can decide which to pursue. Clients say it helps them pick the project with the best bang for the buck.
  • The Sketch is an exploration. I use everything I learn about you, your lot and our ideas to create design schemes. We explore high-level concepts in search of a “guiding light”. At this stage, we focus on simplified organization (how spaces interact) and form (how environment shapes the project). The schemes are basic and resemble mass models, but are not full-blown detailed designs. Clients say The Sketch is fun and it helps them visualize ways to solve their project challenges.
  • The Details are design refinement. We evolve the closest individual or combination scheme to create a personalized design. We pick everything that goes in your project (colors, finishes, materials, equipment, fixtures, built-ins). Design refinement is what separates mediocre design from fantastic design. Clients say The Details are intimidating and tiring because they have lots of homework (research) and many decisions to make.
  • The Docs are the way I communicate with your builder. Residential construction documents include the drawings, instructions, material choices and details that describe your personalized project. Most clients know they need these documents to get a permit and build a project and it’s the service they envision when they decide to hire an architect; however, my primary service is expertise and the documents are simply the way I describe your project to you and others. Clients describe The Documents as complicated and detailed.

The first four services are design services, an architect’s core service, but architects also offer construction services to help clients go all the way!

  • The Advisor means I help you choose a builder or bid your project. If the idea of screening builders or soliciting subs intimidates you, I can alleviate the pressure. Finding the right builder is as critical as finding the right architect. My preference is to introduce you to a builder during design so we can work together. Clients say The Advisor assistance is insightful and comforting.
  • The Agent is like having a friend in the field. I visit your project site weekly, or at planned milestones, to preserve your design intent and I handle most of the annoying paperwork. I communicate expectations to your builder and progress with you. Clients call The Agent their security blanket because my presence helps them rest comfortably knowing their project is in order.

You have to decide how much service is the right service for you. I want to be as involved as you will allow because I enjoy being your architect and assembling a good project. The more I’m involved, the more confident you can be that your final project matches your design vision. What’s that peace-of-mind worth to you?

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About the Author


Your Architect is Eric Faulkner -- an architect licensed in Texas & Oklahoma with 29 years experience in design, construction observation and life.