have likely just browsed, perused and reviewed the
prior links to get acquainted with connectios architectural and
the services we offer as well as the roles
connections architectural and owners play with each other in
embarking on a project.
document is best understood if it is
printed. At the bottom of the column at the
immediate left is ample room to take notes, make
observations, and follow along with this document.
and construction are inherently exciting. There
are few things more satisfying than a successful
project. The secret to success lies in the
professional, business, and personal relationships
between you, the owner and connections architectural, the
architect. You and Your Architect provides
guidance on how to establish and benefit from
tells us that successful projects; those that
achieve the desired results for owners, users, and
architects; result from informed clients working
with skilled architects to form sound
professional, business, and often personal
relationships. These relationships are formed
early on and are nourished by clear communication,
mutually understood expectation and willingness of
both client and architect to understand and accept
their responsibilities for realizing a successful
in today's marketplace is a complex undertaking
requiring many different products and skills.
connections architectural understands the complexities and works
with you to design an appropriate response to your
requirements. In turn, it is our duty to work
within the building industry and watch out for
your best interest in transforming the design into
best way to begin a new project is for you; the
owner; to reflect on what you bring to it:
knowledge, experience, needs, desires,
aspirations, and personal opinions. You also bring
the resources to realize your expectations.
every owner starts from a different place. Some
have had vast experience with design and
construction and know what they want and how to go
about getting it. Many owners have much less
your situation, it makes sense to begin with some
self-examination to assess what you already know
about your project and what you will establish
with your architect's help. The questions outlined
below can be used as a guide.
don't need firm or complete answers to these
questions at this point. Indeed, we will help you
think them through. A general understanding of
where you are, however, will best help you begin
to work with us immediately.
activities do you expect to execute in the
project? Are you ready to translate these
activities into specific spaces and square footage
areas, or will the design program (the collection
of parameters from which design is derived) emerge
in working with us?
a site been established, or will this decision
also be a subject of discussion with us?
you, or perhaps others, fixed a construction
schedule or budget?
are your design aspirations? What thought have you
given to the design quality or amenity you are
seeking in this project?
are your overall expectations for the project?
What are your basic motivations as a client, and
what role does this project play in achieving your
do you make decisions? Will a single person sign
off on recommendations? Are committees necessary?
much information do you need to make decisions? Do
you require a lot of detail?
you have the resources to do this project? Where
will they come from, and what strings may be
much experience do you have in design and
construction? Have you done this before? If so,
where have you been most successful, and when were
and other questions need to be asked and
considered to effectively begin a strong working
relationship with connections architectural.
Why connections architectural is the right firm
you are building your own home or designing a
commercial complex, connections architectural is the right
architect for you.
clients, even experienced clients facing new
situations, always have many questions about our
firm. Some of the more common ones are addressed
in the life cycle of a project, should I bring
connections architectural into the picture?
early as possible. We help you define the project
in terms that provide meaningful guidance for
design. We also perform site studies, help secure
planning and zoning approvals, and perform a
variety of other pre-design tasks.
an initial meeting can serve two purposes. To meet
and get a feel for each other and to get a general
opinion on your ideas. Setting up an appointment
is simple and you have nothing to lose.
can I realistically expect to learn from an
initial meeting? How can I structure it to make it
as informative as possible?
can learn how connections architectural will approach your project.
Ask us how we will intend to gather information,
establish priorities, and make decisions. Ask us
what we see as the important issues of
consideration in the project. Evaluate our
interest in your project: Will your needs be a
major or minor concern? Evaluate the firm's style,
personality, and approach: Are we compatible
should I follow up?
us what you intend to do next and when you plan to
make your decision. Return to the material you've
seen so far- the resume, the portfolio, this web
page. Re-establish the reasons why you contacted
us in the first place. If you reside near connections architectural
projects, you may want to visit them and see them
in use. Notify us as soon as possible. Remember,
conditions change. We may not be able to offer the
same project team if you must take several weeks
or months to decide. However, we will always work
with you to schedule the right people as soon as
what should I base my decision?
confidence is paramount. We will go over all the
factors with you: design ability, technical
competence, professional service, and cost. Once
you are ready to begin the process, we will enter
detailed negotiations of services and
compensation. connections architectural's standard form documents
offer an excellent starting point for contract
say that I should select a builder or contractor
before selecting an architect. When is that good
really never is unless you are a builder or
contractor yourself. It always works best to
select the architect first. You are hiring
connections architectural to help you understand how to make the
builder or contractor an effective member of the
building team. Remember, we serve as an agent
working on your behalf.
about competitive bidding?
always provides you with a service proposal during
your selection process. We encourage you to visit
other architectural firms, if that is your choice,
and believe that our service proposal can serve as
a basis for understanding the services you should
will help you recognize that factors in addition
to cost -such as experience, technical competence,
and variety of work- will be important to your
decision. In addition, if you are considering
soliciting proposals from more than one firm, you
will want to make sure that you can provide all
the information required for definite proposals,
ensuring that the proposals you get offer the same
scope of services as connections architectural's, so that they can
be evaluated on a consistent basis.
issues to remember:
are engaging the services of a professional. You
will be working closely with connections architectural throughout
the life of the project, and our relationship may
extend to future projects. Investing in a
relationship with us assumes that you will take as
much care as you would to select a financial or
will also be a business relationship. You will
find out how we do business, how we work with our
clients, how responsive we are to your management
and decision styles, and how well our work stacks
up against your expectations.
questions. Respect connections architectural as a professional firm
who will bring experience and specialized
knowledge to your project. At the same time, don't
be afraid to ask the same questions you've asked
yourself: What does connections architectural expect from the
project? How much information do we need? How do
we set priorities and make decisions? How will
engineering or other consultant services be
provided? How will we provide quality control
during design? What is our firm's
frank. Tell us what you know and what you expect.
Ask for an explanation of anything you don't
understand. The more on the table at the outset,
the better the chances are for a successful
project. Remember, a good architect is a good
listener. Only when you have outlined your issues
can we translate those issues to the project's
schedule and budget.
Is a Mutual Process
is as careful in selecting you as you are in
selecting us. We are as interested in a successful
project as you are, and we can assure you know
that good architecture results from fruitful
collaboration between architects and clients.
as a Condition of Selection
happens when you ask connections architectural to design a project
as a condition of selection?
the simplest of projects are very complex. Each
situation is different, including people, needs,
site, financing, and regulatory requirements. Many
of your needs and expectations become specific
only in the process of design. As the project
proceeds, priorities are clarified and new
possibilities emerge. Our knowledge, experience,
and skill become part of the project and
contribute still more possibilities. These facts
suggest that back-of-the-envelope designs done as
part of our initial meeting are no substitute for
the complex, time-consuming, and intensive
dialogue and inquiry that characterize
you will know just what you need. If you feel you
are one of those owners, seriously consider
engaging us on an hourly consulting basis to
review and test your knowledge. Detailed
professional evaluations of existing buildings can
be valuable in uncovering problems and
possibilities that may affect your decision. The
process of adapting an existing building design to
a new site may be more complex than it appears,
considering, for example, topography, drainage,
other soil conditions, solar orientation, views,
traffic patterns, and community issues. All issues
you might think you know a lot about but may not.
Or you may be overlooking crucial issues.
some circumstances, a design proposal may be
required for a project to move to the next step.
Consider your chances of obtaining funding for the
project much stronger if you use the services of
an architect. connections architectural has provided many
organizations with design proposals to encourage
funding on projects.
Identifying the Services You
may already have an idea of the scope of
professional services required for your project,
but most owners want to work with us to identify
what is needed. Different projects require
different combinations of architectural services.
An early task is to identify those services
essential to the success of the project.
of our projects require a set of basic services:
preliminary (usually called schematic) design,
design development, preparation of construction
documents (drawings and specifications),
assistance in the bidding or negotiation process,
and administration of the agreements between you
and your builder or contractor.
of our projects require other services. For
example, predesign work may be essential:
facilities programming, surveys of existing
facilities, marketing and economic feasibility
studies, budgeting and financing packages,
site-use and utilities studies, environmental
analyses, planning and zoning applications, and
preparation of materials for public referenda.
Projects may also require special cost or energy
analyses, tenant-related design, or special
drawings, models, and presentations.
all services are provided by us. Sometimes owners
have considerable project planning, design, and
construction expertise and may be fully capable of
undertaking some project tasks themselves. Other
owners find it desirable or necessary to add other
consultants to the project team to undertake
specific tasks. Here discussion will be necessary
to establish who will coordinate owner-supplied
work or other services provided beyond the scope
of our agreement.
are two effective approaches to establishing
first is to establish a set of basic services-a
standard grouping of services common to many
projects. When you use this approach, a second
category of additional services is used to cover
pre-design services as well as a wide variety of
special studies or services that some projects
require (like those mentioned above).
second is to use the designated services approach,
which asks owners and architects to select an
appropriate complement of services.
standard-form owner-architect agreements for both
of these approaches, Standard Form of Agreement
Between Owner and Architect, and its condensed
version, Abbreviated Form of Agreement Between
Owner and Architect for Construction Projects of
Limited Scope, embodies the basic services
approach. Then there is Standard Form of Agreement
Between Owner and Architect for Designated
Services. It is used to employ the designated
services approach. In fact, Standard Form of
Agreement Between Owner and Architect for
Designated Services provides a range of 83
separate architectural, interiors, and
construction management services from which to
choose. The owner pays only for the services
necessary for the project's success, and the
architect can effectively measure the firm's time
best strategy is for us to sit down together and
identify the services needed. Some advice:
the list of designated services, a representation
of which appears on pages eight and nine as an
initial discussion guide. Doing so provides a
chance to talk about all possible service options.
that even when a number of services are designated
at the outset, other services may be required once
you are under way. For example, you may require
zoning approvals or you may wish to do economic
analyses of a new energy-saving system. Other
services may be added to an existing agreement at
may opt to set aside a design contingency budget
under the joint control of you and your architect
to fund design changes and refinements once
contract administration services are a case of
spending a penny to save a dollar. When you've
taken care to see that a building has been
designed as you want, you certainly want it built
as it was designed. connections architectural can observe the
construction work for its compliance with drawings
and specifications, approve materials and product
samples, review the results of construction tests
and inspections, evaluate contractor requests for
payment, handle requests for design changes during
construction, and administer the completion,
start-up and close-out process of your project.
Getting the building that was designed; and on
budget; is important. Attaining that goal requires
considerable experience, time, and effort.
disputes occasionally arise between you and your
contractor. Most disputes arise during
construction, which, for you, is an important
consideration. In such a situation, according to
standard forms, connections architectural serves as an impartial
mediator/arbiter between you and your contractor.
The standard forms also call for arbitration and,
sometimes, independent mediation, both of which
are provisions to find solutions outside of a
agreement for post-construction, building
evaluation; perhaps a joint inspection by you and
your architect six months after the building is
occupied-will help to serve as a checkup that the
building is being used and maintained properly.
specifics of your project will guide your choice
of agreement form. The designated-services
approach requires a little more effort up front,
as it involves the decision of which of the 83
possible services to include. However, designating
services brings discipline and clarity to the
process of deciding who will do what.
If There Are Too Many Unknowns?
too little is known about the project to determine
the full extent of professional services in
advance and proceed to a contractual agreement
based on designated services. If this is the case,
consider engaging us to provide project definition
and other pre-design services first, with
remaining phases and services to be determined
of Design Services Provided By connections architectural
the owner, you will find it helpful to review this
chart with your architect to acquaint yourself
with the various phases of design and construction
and the services available for each. With that
knowledge, you will be able to work with your
architect to select services that are appropriate
to your needs.
chart lists types of services offered by
architects. The chart groups services under seven
broad classifications that track the possible
phases of a project as delineated in Standard Form
of Agreement Between Owner and Architect for
Designated Services. This agreement contains an
expansive listing of available services and allows
the parties to identify in detail the specific
services required for a given project.
Services contained in expanded list of services:
Administration Management Services
or Negotiation Services
Analysis and Selection
Site Utilization Studies
& Inspection Administration
Development/Monitoring of the Work
Estimate of Cost of the Work
Studies and Report
and Equipment Installation Administration
and Operational Programming
the owner, you will find it helpful to review this
chart with us to acquaint yourself with the
various phases of design and construction and the
services available for each. With that knowledge,
we will both be able to select the services that
are appropriate to your needs.
Negotiating The Agreement
agreements spell out what we both bring to the
professional relationship and what you can expect
formal agreement between us is an opportunity to
assure that we both envision the same project,
requirements, and expectations. Before committing
these requirements and expectations to paper,
follow these five steps presented below to
identify any items that may have been missed.
down your project requirements as either a short
statement or a very detailed compilation. Address
project tasks and assign responsibility for each
will identify the predesign, design, construction,
and post-construction tasks that must be
undertaken to achieve project objectives. The
chart on pages eight and nine, taken from Standard
Form of Agreement Between Owner and Architect for
Designated Services, represents the potential
scope of designated services and provides a useful
starting point for this discussion. Both parties
should then identify the services required for the
project and who will be responsible for each.
To help produce a complete schedule, include all
necessary tasks, even if they will be done by
others (say, a regulatory agency's review).
a First-Cut Schedule
the tasks and responsibilities on a time line,
estimating duration for each task. Identify the
tasks that if delayed for any reason will delay
completion of the project. Compare the time line
with the target completion date and adjust one or
both as appropriate.
The owner, architect, and other key team members
who must live with the project schedule should be
involved in its development.
a Critical Look at the Results
the schedule reasonable, particularly given the
project's requirements and budget? Have you
allowed yourself enough time to review our
submissions, receive regulatory agency approvals,
seek your own recommendations and approvals, and
make your decisions? Many project schedules don't
provide enough time for decision making.
This Planning Work as a Basis for Establishing
connections architectural's Compensation
us to provide you with a compensation proposal
that is based on the tasks and schedule outlined
you've done your homework, the written agreement
should follow without difficulty. Although a
certain amount of negotiation is inevitable, we
should both be of common mind on the key issues of
project scope, services, responsibilities,
schedule, construction budget, and compensation.
Some advice on this subject:
a written contract. No
handshake or letter agreement is firm enough to
cover thoroughly all the roles, responsibilities,
and obligations that we must carry out.
the documents. These
standard forms of agreement mentioned above have
been carefully reviewed and modified over many
years. Widely used by and accepted in the
construction industry, they present a current
consensus among organizations representing owners,
lawyers, contractors, engineers, and architects.
They are coordinated with one another to work as a
complete set. For example, the
architect-consultant agreement serves as the
subcontract for the owner-architect agreement, and
the owner-contractor agreement, usually negotiated
later, extends the architect's services into the
not expect connections architectural to warrant or guarantee
a provider of a professional service, we can only
be required to perform to a professional standard.
Perfection would be nice, but it is unrealistic
and uninsurable. Courts recognize this, and so too
must responsible clients like you.
professional compensation is important to meeting
your goals; cost and value go hand in hand.
clients always recognize that adequate
compensation is in their best interest as it
assures the type and level of services needed to
fulfill their expectations. You may have questions
about how to arrive at the appropriate
compensation for your project. Some of the more
frequent questions are answered here.
much should I expect to pay connections architectural?
will depend on the types and levels of
professional services provided. More extensive
services or a more complex or experimental project
will require more effort by us and add more value
to the project. You should budget accordingly for
architectural services. And what methods of
compensation are available?
are the most common:
is worthwhile to note that Standard Form of
Agreement Between Owner and Architect for
Designated Services provides six separate methods
of compensation that can be tailored to the types
of services being provided.
project is one characterized by repetitive units
(bedrooms, apartments). Does it make sense to use
these units as a basis for compensation?
example, when the probable number of units (or,
alternatively, the highest and lowest probable
numbers) is known.
of construction cost has been a simple and popular
method of compensation. Is it recommended?
it depends. While the percentage method is simple
in concept, it requires a rigorous determination
of what the construction cost includes. The result
may be too high or too low, given the complexity
of the project and the professional services
required. Finally, this method may penalize us for
investing extra effort to reduce construction cost
on behalf of the owner.
does a stipulated sum include?
is a matter of negotiation with us, but generally
it includes our direct personnel expenses (salary
and benefits), other direct expenses chargeable to
the project (such as consultant services),
indirect expense or overhead (costs of doing
business not directly chargeable to specific
projects), and profit. The stipulated sum does not
usually include reimbursable expenses.
does it make sense to consider hourly billing
this is a matter of negotiation, but it makes good
sense when there are many unknowns. Many projects
begin with hourly billing and continue until the
scope of services is defined and establishing a
stipulated sum is possible. It may also make sense
to use this approach for construction contract
administration and special services, such as
energy and economic analyses.
are reimbursable expenses?
are out-of-pocket expenses incurred by us on
behalf of the project that usually cannot be
predicted at the outset, such as long-distance
travel and communications, reproduction of
contract documents, and authorized overtime
premiums or consultants and specialists that are
brought in. These are usually billed with an
additional modest multiplier to cover overhead
costs and lost interest on these types of
expenses. Detailed in the owner-architect
agreement, they are usually outside the stipulated
sum or hourly billing rate and normally billed as
about payment schedules?
the method and amount of compensation have been
established, ask us to provide a proposed schedule
of payments. Such a schedule will help you plan
for the financial requirements of the project. The
schedule is commonly set-up with monthly payments
or by phase completion.
other expenses can the owner expect?
owner-architect agreement outlines a number of
owner responsibilities, some of which will require
financial outlay. These include site surveys and
legal descriptions, soil-engineering services (for
example, test borings or pits), required technical
tests during construction (for example, concrete
strength tests), an on-site project
representative, and the necessary legal, auditing,
and insurance counseling services needed to
fulfill the owner's responsibilities.
happens if we both can't agree on compensation?
the lines of communication open so that each will
understand the other's basis for negotiation.
Often, differences result from incomplete or
inaccurate understandings of project scope or
services. Perhaps some services can be performed
by us on an hourly basis or by the owner. Perhaps
coordination of owner forces, special consultants,
or other team members mandated by the owner are
adding to our costs. When everything is mutually
understood and there is still no closure on the
details or method of compensation, both have no
choice but to discontinue negotiation and
unfortunately go separate ways.
Keeping the Project on Track
of us can take specific steps to help meet your
quality, time, and budget goals.
and construction are team activities. Many
individuals and firms come together to do a
project. They usually will not have worked
together before and may not work together again.
They collaborate to produce a complex and often
unique result on a specific site. As the project
unfolds, hundreds of individual design decisions
and commitments are made. Needs and conditions
change, and work is modified. A strong and healthy
relationship between us is essential to keep the
project on track.
owner-architect agreement and general conditions
of the contract for construction provide clear
guidance on what is expected of the owner. General
Conditions outline several responsibilities. Your
architect will assist you in clarifying them.
owner must provide:
Some of the Fundamental Realities of Building
a nation, we spend more than $300 billion annually
for new construction and renovation in the U.S..
Architects and their clients have had the
opportunity to gain some collective wisdom from
these projects-wisdom that may be of value to you
in project planning and follow-through.
scope, quality, and cost are inextricably related.
Any two of these variables can be fixed and
controlled in design; the marketplace takes cares
of the third. You will need to establish
priorities among them and set acceptable ranges
for each one.
always challenges the program, schedule, and
budget. Even when these have been developed
through painstaking effort, it is in the client's
best interest to encourage this challenge. In this
way, we come to understand project requirements.
The analysis may also reveal existing or potential
design proceeds, important issues will surface.
Our services bring you increased understanding of
the project and the project changes as a result.
Each milestone, usually marked by the end-of-phase
submissions written into the owner-architect
agreement, should be used to assure continuing
consensus on project scope, levels of quality,
construction cost, and budget. It may also be
necessary to adjust the required services at these
secret to successful projects is effective project
management by both owner and architect. A summary
of what the owner can do to keep the project
running smoothly through design and construction
is presented below.
Insist on a project work plan, preferably as part
of the process of negotiating the project
agreements. Ask that the plan be updated on a
regular basis and after any major change in scope,
services, or schedule.
part of the project-planning process and all
project meetings. Be sure that your own deadlines,
as well as your own decision processes, are
reflected by that plan.
a single person to represent you and to speak for
you at planning sessions and project meetings. The
scope of the client representative's authority
should be understood by all involved.
yours is an organization where several people or
departments must be involved in the project work,
make it clear that the client representative
speaks as the boss. Conflicting advice or
requirements will inevitably cause problems later.
on regular meetings of the project team and
participate in them. Meetings should have clear
agendas. Persons with assigned tasks should have
them done in time for the meetings. Be sure that
the architect prepares minutes that clearly
identify what was decided, what items now require
a decision, and who is responsible for the next
steps. Minutes should be circulated to all team
that contacts us (for example, phone conversations
and data-gathering sessions) be documented, and
the results shared with appropriate members of the
project team. This system keeps everyone informed
of what's being discussed and decided outside of
formal project meetings and presentations.
standard forms of agreement designate three major
design phases and submissions by the architect:
schematic design, design development, and
construction documents. You may wish to include
additional submissions, recognizing that each adds
time and cost to the project. Use these milestones
to review what has been done and approve it as the
basis for moving forward.
sure that both of us understand the process by
which decisions will be made: Who requires what
information, whose approval is required, how much
time should be allocated for review of
submissions? Diagram the process if you are
decisions when they are called for. Keeping the
project on hold while the team awaits your
decision increases the possibility of changes in
conditions that may upset the delicate balance
between project time, cost, and quality.
the owner-architect agreement up-to-date. Modify
it when project scope or services are changed.
you have questions, ask them. Pay particular
attention to design submissions, since the work of
each phase is further developed in the next phase.
All questions should be resolved before the
construction contract documents phase begins, as
changes beyond this point will most likely result
in increased time and cost.
problems when they arise and before small ones
become large ones. Regular project meetings
provide a natural opportunity.
the Builders on Board
some point, the project team must be expanded to
include the firm or firms that will build the
project. There are two basic approaches:
may select the contractor or contractors based on
the construction contract documents prepared by
us. Public entities generally must engage in an
open competitive bidding process. Other owners may
choose open competitive bidding, competitive
bidding by a few invited firms, or negotiation
with a single selected contractor or builder.
may choose to include the contractor as a member
of the design team. The contractor may be paid a
fee for consultation during design. A method of
compensation for the construction work is
negotiated when the design has progressed in
sufficient detail to serve as a basis for a cost
and whenever contractors are selected, we will
prepare the bidding documents and the
owner-contractor agreement forms as part of the
construction contract documents. It is sound
practice to engage our assistance in the bidding
or negotiation process and recommending of
our Professional Relationship
services should not end with the award of
construction contracts. It is highly advisable to
retain the us to:
the construction work, evaluate it for compliance
with the contract documents and help to determine
that the project is being built as designed. This
service is especially important. The contractor's
failure to construct what has been designed can
have major consequences for you.
shop drawings (detailed drawings of specific
building components) and product and material
samples to confirm the contractor's understanding
of the design intent.
design changes that result from owner decisions,
design refinements, or unexpected conditions in
a variety of other important services for the
payment requisitions against the progress of the
work, providing final inspections and
certifications for the owner, and assisting with
building start-up and user education.
an eye on your bottom line. As the team member who
has been involved with your project from the
outset, your architect is capable of helping you
control your construction budget throughout
construction and initial occupancy of the project.