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Thursday, May 5, 2016


View of Architects from a Contractor's Perspective

Earlier this week I attended a panel discussion titled, 'The Contractor's Perspective: Working with an architect from their point of view' that was moderated by the AIA Cincinnati's Custom Residential Architects Network, in hopes of walking away with some takeaways for the Starter Home 2.0 Project. I was especially interested in getting a glimpse into the world of Custom Residential Architecture as someone that has never worked in that project type (I'm an architect-developer for the Starter Home 2.0 project, so I don't have residential clients and my work at SHP Leading Design deals strictly with commercial and institutional clients).
The contractors that made up the panel were Chris Gilles (of Crapsey & Gilles Contractors, Inc.), Billy Bohl (of Dallman & Bohl General Contractors, Inc.), Mark Frederiksen (of Timeless Custom Designs), and Paul Bauscher (of Bauscher Construction), and below are some of their comments that I recorded.
  • Architects need to get a builder involved in the process as early as possible
  • The perception is that architects don't talk with clients about budget at initial meetings
  • Competitively bidding preliminary designs is a waste of time and effort for builders
  • Historically, custom residential projects almost always run over budget
  • Contractors are not, nor do they want to be designers
  • The blueprints are 'The Bible' and what the builder will go by
  • A united architect-contractor front is necessary when approaching clients with problems
Overall, the biggest takeaway from me was simply validation in what I am doing as an architect-developer and affirmation that I have no desire to be a traditional custom residential architect. I have a great amount of respect and enjoy working with, and learning from the contractors and sub-contractors that I have worked with on the Starter Home 2.0 project, and continue to collaborate with them as I'm working through the design of the Oakley project. I only wished more architects felt the same way.