Sunday, February 1, 2009

“do i really need to design before i build?”

The next two topics are general in nature. They are not specific to the Bungalow Remodel PDX project as I executed design work, but the questions of whether to design at all and how to hire an architect might be interesting to some.

“Do I really need to design before I build?” I have been asked this question many times by friends and relatives, and the answer is always “yes.” I have designed during construction in the past, and the projects have always been more expensive, taken longer and were less elegant in design. It’s extremely frustrating and stressful when you’re forced to make last-minute or on-the-fly decisions in order for the tradesperson to install the fixture or finish that afternoon. By designing first, you have the opportunity to:
  • Consider the project as a whole as well as the fine details.
  • Establish a game plan.
  • Investigate different schematic layouts and finish possibilities.
  • Select the best design solution.
  • Anticipate concerns and address them before they become issues.
  • Develop a strategy to minimize construction impact.
  • Get a more accurate bid or construction cost.
  • Determine what the finished project will look like prior to construction.
The results are a more thoughtful design, coherent finish palette and cleaner details, shorter construction time, less construction cost, better execution and fewer headaches. Although it is impossible to foresee everything, this holistic approach prepares you for the questions that arise during construction, creates a good foundation for the work to be done and sets the bar for the quality of construction. All-in-all, it’s time and money well-spent.

Tune in next time for how to hire an architect!

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