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Architectural Design and Construction Process - Resources?

  • 1.  Architectural Design and Construction Process - Resources?

    Posted 03-26-2018 12:29

    A question for all preservationists:
    Have you ever come across a good resource on the architectural design and construction process? If so, could you share the source or materials? Any description of Pre-Design, SD, DD, CD, Bidding, CA, Construction, etc.?

    This process is convention and second nature to those who are familiar with it, but for anyone new to working with an architect, it can seem very opaque.

    Thanks in advance for sharing any resources or experiences with familiarizing yourself with the process of getting things built!





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    Olivia Tarricone, AIA
    Preservation Architect
    National Trust for Historic Preservation
    Houston, TX Field Office
    otarricone@savingplaces.org
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  • 2.  RE: Architectural Design and Construction Process - Resources?

    Posted 03-28-2018 18:59
    Prompts to maybe get this discussion moving....

    - If you have worked with an architect before, how did they explain the design and construction process to you?

    - When you were in school, how was "Working with an Architect" explained?

    - What has your experience been with working with design professionals, and did you feel that they were clear on their process?

    Thanks so much in advance for ANY input at all!

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    Olivia Tarricone, AIA
    Preservation Architect
    National Trust for Historic Preservation
    Houston, TX Field Office
    otarricone@savingplaces.org
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  • 3.  RE: Architectural Design and Construction Process - Resources?

    Posted 03-29-2018 10:38

    Every licensed architect is required to explain to their clients the design, bidding, and construction administration process, whether it be for a new-build or a restoration project. Here is an example of an architectural firm explaining their design, bidding, and construction administration process up-front on their website:

    http://dbsem.com/the-five-phases-of-the-architectural-design-process/

    Your local chapter of the American Institute for Architects (AIA) should have standardized literature available on the design, bidding, and construction administration process. Here is a link for one example available from AIA Minnesota on "Understanding Project Delivery for the Design and Construction of Public Buildings." https://www.aia-mn.org/wp-content/uploads/project_delivery.pdf

    The national chapter of the AIA sells the "Architect's Handbook of Professional Practice" (available in hardcover or as an e-book for $250) which contains all the basic "templates" that architects use for describing for their clients the various standard methods of project delivery and contract agreements, including "Project Definition" and "Agreements with Owners." However, since this book may be more of an investment than what you need, you might inquire of the AIA if they would sell PDFs or share with you copies of the specific information you are looking for. https://www.aia.org

    However, for anyone wanting to understand the architectural project delivery process, the best bet is to just pick up the phone and ask to meet with a local licensed architect over coffee and just chat about the architectural project delivery process and how that relates to historic preservation/restoration/rehabilitation projects.



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    Rebekah Wood
    Broken Arrow OK
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  • 4.  RE: Architectural Design and Construction Process - Resources?

    Posted 03-29-2018 12:50
    Edited by Jill Malusky 03-29-2018 12:52
    I recently made the shift from working in the non-profit/museum sector (17 years!) to <g class="gr_ gr_116 gr-alert gr_gramm gr_inline_cards gr_run_anim Grammar multiReplace" id="116" data-gr-id="116">working</g> for a museum design company. It's a big shift. I quickly recognized that museum professionals and designers speak completely different languages. It's very interesting because even when museums generate proposals to bid out work for new projects, this difference in language can be evident, in how the scope of a project may be described. Now that I have been on both sides, I cringe at how much I didn't know before.

    I'm going to put together a workshop or conference session on this, and I've seen a couple of blog posts about this from the field. I think that museum professionals can be shy about asking questions as the acronyms and terms are flying around the room in meetings - or the pace might be moving so quickly, we can't keep track of what to ask. In my new role, I am frequently stopping the action, asking people to explain a process or define a word. The same goes for complex schematics and plans that are shared in projects, which are difficult to interpret if you are unfamiliar with their purpose. It seems that many designers are so busy, and their work is so technical and second nature, they can no longer recognize how opaque it can be to outsiders.

    The funny thing is, I started my career working alongside archaeologists, and I noted the same communication breakdown when they tried to explain their work to the public. I think all passionate professionals end up with some tunnel vision that makes it hard to explain their work to others.

    When the process suffers from this communication breakdown it can be unnecessarily painful or frustrating for both sides, or can even result in serious problems in the management or execution of a project. So don't be afraid to ask questions! Both sides need to have clear expectations about what is necessary from each for the process.


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    Jill Malusky
    Senior Content Developer
    Hilferty & Associates Museum Planning/Exhibit Design
    Athens OH
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  • 5.  RE: Architectural Design and Construction Process - Resources?

    Posted 04-02-2018 15:21

    Jill, thank you SO much for sharing your experience with both sides of this equation! This is exactly why I started this thread. If you do end up creating a workshop or conference session, would you be open to sharing it in some way? I would also be happy to discuss any aspect, since I am currently working on a similar effort.

    I actually made a career shift similar to yours, but in the opposite direction: from the design side in the private architecture world to the preservation advocacy side on behalf of the National Trust and our partners. Your experience with cringing and witnessing communication breakdowns as people speak completely different languages is very familiar to me.

    While practicing as an architect, I often feared that we were not clear in communicating our process to those with no prior experience in design/construction. As Rebekah explained above, architects are required to explain their process and always do so at least in proposal writing, but now that I am on the other side I see that my fears may have been warranted.  It is 100% true that that passionate and busy professionals can get tunnel vision, and I think that they (we) may sometimes steamroll through a conversation in order to get to doing the work. With my current position, I have the opportunity to bring clarity into situations and bridge the gap for preservationists (or museum staff, or community members, or other non-designers) working with architects (and/or exhibit designers or other design professionals).

    One aspect of the process that you mentioned was the presentation of complex schematics and plans. These "drawings" (this word should always be given context!), are often presented as neatly bound packages that give the appearance of completeness. For full transparency and understanding to occur, it is imperative that clients know exactly what is in that package -- but this language barrier often gets in the way. We need to trust our hired professionals, but I completely agree with your suggestion to never be afraid to ask questions. I want to add the other side of the coin: design professionals need to be unafraid to check-in for comprehension. Everyone could benefit from established spaces in the process for questions (one of many valuable tips from the blog post you shared!). 

    Thank you again for sharing your insights and experience, and I would encourage anyone else to share similar stories!



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    Olivia Tarricone, AIA
    Preservation Architect
    National Trust for Historic Preservation
    Houston, TX Field Office
    otarricone@savingplaces.org
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  • 6.  RE: Architectural Design and Construction Process - Resources?

    Posted 09-09-2018 07:46
    After high school, I worked for three architectural firms over a seven year period. There was never a time, when given the opportunity, than the architects would not go out of their way to explain the process, their role in the process and what to expect. This ranged from older people using architects for the first time down to teenagers thinking of pursuing a career in architecture. I agree, call your local architect and give them a chance to talk about their profession!

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    Stanley Wells
    Owner
    This Little Old House
    Madison IN
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  • 7.  RE: Architectural Design and Construction Process - Resources?

    Posted 07-09-2018 10:33
    Well i would like to know what are the Architectural tools and resources that you are using currently? I`m currently using AutoCAD and SketchUp on my citrix vdi on which we work together as a team with multiple users. I would suggest you to go for it for more efficiency.

    Regards,
    Adrian Gates


  • 8.  RE: Architectural Design and Construction Process - Resources?

    Posted 07-10-2018 10:17
    To piggyback on Olivia's discussion; I'm also wondering how you would go about explaining to someone the differences between an architect and contractor. In our easement program I deal with a lot of private residential homeowners, and sometimes wish that I had a simple way to guide them between when they would need to hire and architect vs working directly with a contractor. It seems to depend on the person and their experience which they go for, but that isn't always the right person for the job.

    I know that a good architect or contractor should just tell them up front if it isn't the right fit. But if we're being honest, sometimes people who have never had to describe a scope of work for a project have a very difficult time doing so. And sometimes they run across an architect or contractor who wants the job and might ask more detailed questions later. So, do you have any advice on how to best explain the important differences between and architect and contractor to someone unfamiliar with the design and build professions so that they can come to better outcomes (and not waste time and money) hiring the right person?

    Thank you!

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    Moira Nadal
    Manager, Easement Program
    Washington DC
    mnadal@savingplaces.org
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  • 9.  RE: Architectural Design and Construction Process - Resources?

    Ambassador
    Posted 07-10-2018 15:59
    In my work, I deal with a lot of different contractors - some good, some bad, just like architects. Property owners with projects that legally don't require an architect often go directly to a contractor, because they think they will save money, or they simply aren't familiar with the role of an architect  What they get from a contractor is a solution the contractor has experience with. A project design the contractor is familiar with, helps him, or her, be assured they can finish on time and and make a profit.

    What the property owner loses is any better design solutions the contractor is not familiar with, and therefore doesn't propose. So, a good contractor will provide a limited number of options that will probably be done well. A good architect will provide more and better options that will be done well if the architect is available to work with the contractor during construction.

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    Jim Sparks
    Sparks Architecture
    Glasgow KY
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  • 10.  RE: Architectural Design and Construction Process - Resources?

    Posted 07-12-2018 17:17

    Moira - I think that Jim's answer to your question is a great way to explain the difference between architect and contractor in a way that plainly illustrates the value of an architect.

    As a service provider, the architect's purpose is to create a feasible and budget-conscious version of the client's desires for a given space or property, and then translate the needs of the project into a manual for construction. By choosing an architect rather than a contractor for design, the project does not conform to the abilities of the construction professionals. Instead, the construction professional can be chosen based on the project.

    In response to your comment/point about about scope of work definition, I also want to mention the value of a good agreement. (I'm sure your colleagues in Law have plenty to add about this subject!) A huge red flag is a contractor or design professional who asks very few questions about the job -- because once hired, many of his or her questions will come with an additional price tag. If the agreement contains a detailed outline of the scope of work, it can be referenced throughout the process and any additional services or costs can be checked against the agreed upon scope. Additionally, the process of negotiating an agreement allows the owner and design professional to critically assess the project scope together. Not all architects (and not all contractors) are created equal, so checking references and qualifications during the formation of the agreement is also critical to ensure a quality design solution.

    Hope that helps!



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    Olivia Tarricone, AIA
    Preservation Architect
    National Trust for Historic Preservation
    Houston, TX Field Office
    otarricone@savingplaces.org
    ------------------------------



  • 11.  RE: Architectural Design and Construction Process - Resources?

    Posted 07-13-2018 12:40
    Our preservation architecture firm has had success in doing downtown facade rehabilitation projects here in Iowa over the last 6 years.  We have touched over 100 historic buildings in six communities in that time.  These projects are contracted with the Cities, but involve decisions and direction from the participating building owners, who share in the costs.  The property owner is very typically someone who owns a single commercial building in a small city with population of 5,000...not someone who does this every day.  Federal funds are involved - so full public bid, Davis Bacon wages, SHPO review and other hoops to jump through.

    In most cases, these are property owners who have never worked with an architect before and their knowledge of contracting and construction is often not much further along.  The individual facade improvement packages tend to range from $20,000 on up to $80,000 per building depending on size, historic integrity, intensity of the rehabilitation work, and so on.  A project will have roughly 15 participating properties (and 15 different building owners).

    We work really hard to educate all of the project stakeholders along the way so they come to learn the roles &  responsibilities, the process from pre-design through construction closeout, the broad myths and truths of historic preservation, and most important -  the contractual safeguards built into the process that protects the whole enterprise from scope creep exceeding the budgeted contingency allowance.

    We have a series of powerpoint presentations and handouts that explain the process.  The most important part of that material are prior examples that show them each step of the way from 1st field sketches to bidding documents through punchlist (accompanied by before-during-after rehabilitation photographs).  For the less engaged of the owners, this allows us to know this information was furnished and they are aware of the expectations and ground rules that apply.  For the more engaged owners, we like to think of this as a Preservation101 curriculum that both allows their facade rehabilitation to be successful and leaves them with a good understanding of what they could (and shouldn't) do with the other 98-feet of building depth we don't rehab.  We meet with each of the owners a minimum of three times during the design process.

    I taught first year design studio in the 1990's, and our attitude towards these clients is similar to my students - they are smart and successful people - they just don't deal with historic facades every day.  That said, they are plenty capable of learning what they need to for us all to be successful.  Patience and humility are an important ingredient in our delivery as we shepherd them through.

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    Pete Franks, AIA
    The Franks Design Group, PC
    Glenwood, Iowa
    (712)527-3996
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  • 12.  RE: Architectural Design and Construction Process - Resources?

    Posted 07-17-2018 11:23
    Peter,
    It sounds like you all are doing some amazing work in Iowa that extends far beyond the bricks and mortar of the facades. Thank you so much for sharing with the Forum!

    Would you be interested in sharing a specific insight with readers?
    My question is: What is the most common misconception or myth about architects and/or preservation that you have encountered, and how do you respond?

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    Olivia Tarricone, AIA
    Preservation Architect
    National Trust for Historic Preservation
    Houston, TX Field Office
    otarricone@savingplaces.org
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  • 13.  RE: Architectural Design and Construction Process - Resources?

    Posted 09-10-2018 13:12
    Has anyone looked at the Princeton Architectural Press, Architectural Brief Series? I recently picked up Old Buildings, New Design: Architectural Transformations (Charles Bloszies) and have found the book blessedly clean of the normal archi-lingo that can challenge comprehension. Excellent at bringing preservation issues such as compatibility of an addition into a common understandable language.

    There is a book in the series called Writing about Architecture: Mastering the Language about Buildings and Cities (Alexandra Lange) that looks promising.

    Picking up on the thread of how we teach young architects about the various phases, we use the language of "what are we trying to accomplish?" for the phase. The goal is to set out what/how/and in what detail are we describing a design and each piece of it. The second part of the question is "who is the audience?" Each phase produces documents that have a variety of people looking for information. Our job is to make that information as clear as possible to the specific viewer for their purposes.



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    Susan McComb, AIA, LEED BD+C
    San Francisco CA
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  • 14.  RE: Architectural Design and Construction Process - Resources?

    Posted 09-11-2018 12:31
    Thanks so much for the book recommendation Susan! I had seen that one while browsing, but will check it out now.

    I love the idea of teaching students about "what are we trying to accomplish?" at each phase of design. Sometimes this question gets lost in the routine of professionally practiced design, and could be a key aspect in communicating the process with clients or partners. And I also love the question of "who is the audience?". The acknowledgement that the audience can be slightly different at each phase is an important part of distinguishing between them. Thanks so much for your insights!

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    Olivia Tarricone, AIA
    Preservation Architect
    National Trust for Historic Preservation
    Houston, TX Field Office
    otarricone@savingplaces.org
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  • 15.  RE: Architectural Design and Construction Process - Resources?

    Posted 09-11-2018 08:36
    Edited by Joseph Mester 09-11-2018 08:37
    I highly recommend Swanke Hayden Connell Architects's Historic Preservation: Project Planning & Estimating (Kingston, MA: RS Means, 2000).  The book highlights condition assessment; planning process, including Pre-Design, Schematic, etc.; and estimating. Truly, a good primer on this topic.

    The National Trust also produced a "best practices manual" entitled, "Best Practices for the Care of Structures and Landscapes at National Trust Historic Sites" in February 2010. I have found that manual invaluable in planning projects and crafting solicitation documents to get qualified preservationists/architectural conservators to complete preservation projects.


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    Joseph Mester
    Property/Farm Manager
    Historic Brattonsville, a Culture & Heritage Museum of York County, SC
    jmester@chmuseums.org
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