FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
The following questions and answers may be useful for those who would like to know more about our firm's general practices or who are unfamiliar with hiring an Architect.
Who are your clients?
Our clients are many and varied. They include: Developers, Disneyland, School Districts, Fire Districts, Homeowners, Cities, Business Owners, Health Care Systems and many others.
What types of projects do you do?
As our Project Images and Client List shows, we have experience in many different product types. This varied experience has led to an overall refinement of the process of design, document production and construction administration that is reflected in our approach to all of our projects regardless of the size or type.
How early in the planning process should I get an Architect involved ?
The earlier the better. Architects can help a client come to a firm understanding of their needs and how to achieve their end goals from project inception all the way through move-in. They can even be involved in post-occupancy evaluations to help determine whether or not the finished project achieved the desired goals.
Do you provide other services like structural engineering, electrical engineering, interior design, landscape architecture, etc?
Yes. Long before the term virtual company was popularized in business magazines, Architects were assembling qualified teams of professionals to provide complete ranges of services to meet their clients needs. If a project requires structural, mechanical, plumbing, electrical, landscape architecture, furniture specification, cost estimating or any other service necessary for a complete design - we are able to provide those services under one contract.
How long does it take to get a project designed and built?
This question is frequently asked and impossible to answer at an early stage. As each site, each building, and each city has their own peculiarities (and challenges), the time frame to accomplish each stage of the project will vary wildly from job to job. We can provide early estimates based on past experience and the known scope of work, but the final time frame cannot be established until all the variables have been identified.
How do you charge for your services?
We charge on a time and materials basis until we have established a firm scope of work for the balance of the project. At such time as the scope of services can be well-defined, we establish a fixed fee for all subsequent work. We can also bill from the outset on a "not-to-exceed" basis where we clearly identify at the outset our assumptions as to what services are required to complete our basic scope of services. Should our scope of services be less or more than anticipated for reasons outside of our control, our fee will be adjusted (up or down) accordingly.
Consultants' services, if provided by our office, are included in our fees as part of our overall proposal. The client can also choose to contract directly with their own consultants, however, it is our preference to work with professionals whose work we are familiar with in order to achieve the most satisfactory results.
All reimbursable expenses such as blueprinting, delivery, etc., are billed at cost plus a reasonable markup for handling. Detailed backup is provided with each reimbursable invoice.
How do you establish your fees for the fixed scopes of services described above?
An hourly estimate is prepared defining the anticipated amount of time needed to complete each phase of the work; an hourly billing rate is then assigned to each task to arrive at a final amount.
Can you give me a ballpark idea of how much a project will cost both in your fees and construction costs?
Another tough question. As each project is different, so to is the amount of time that we will need to spend to complete the project. For construction costs, we can provide preliminary cost estimating based on the project size and known costs for similar project types; however, for detailed cost estimating, we recommend involving either a General Contractor or a professional cost estimator to provide accurate pre-construction cost estimating services.
How do we get started? What's the first step?
The first step for any project is information gathering. What are your needs and how can we meet them? We need to know everything you know about the project to best understand its unique challenges. Once we have that information, we can get started with preliminary design concepts, eventually working together to create a final design.