Architects are too often seen and treated as a commodity. And they are viewed as being all the same and providing the same result regardless of which architect is hired for the project. Therefore, with that mindset, the entity that seeks to hire the architect looks for the lowest fee because they think that the architects are all the same. That type of thinking is risky and definitely not strategic thinking.
The reality is that each architect brings different strengths and weaknesses to a project. If this reality is dismissed or completely ignored the result can be the selection of the wrong and not best suited architect for the project. And the selection of an ill-suited architect can result in unhappy clients and unhappy future occupants of a building.
The value of an architect goes far beyond drawing and design skills. Critical and creative thinking along with research skills are brought to promote efficiency and safety, which will result in a building that is tailored to cost-effectiveness with high quality, safety, functionality.
An experienced architect will design the project with strategy and planning guidance in mind, anticipating planning requests and review comments, saving time and money by resolving the planning issues as part of the design development process.
It’ is hard to measure cost savings and put an economic value on investing in good architecture and design. Good design and the values the properly selected architect brings does not always translate into actual tangible dollar savings immediately. Two of the ways architects add value focus predominantly on qualitative values, ones that are harder to measure, but over the long haul, these can have significant impacts.
Here is a list of 5 ways a properly selected architect can add value and save money to a building project.
1. Improved Quality of Life, Well-Being & Health
2. Improved Productivity, Functionality & Efficiency
3. Lower Construction Costs
4. Lower Life-Cycle Costs
5. Higher Market Values, Resale Value & Better Investment
On the other hand, selecting the wrong architect can result in higher construction costs, longer project schedules, lower energy efficiency, higher life-cycle costs and lower market value.
A great way to view the architect is as a composer and conductor of an orchestra and one who plays a major role within a team. It is important to choose an architect that understands how to conduct and coordinate multiple partners and players in order to design a beautiful and functional building.
Architects are not just trained in Design, they are also study and learn a large range of subjects during their training, including: Project and Contract Management, Planning Regulations, Conservation, Sustainability, Structures, Building Regulations, Acoustics, Health and Safety, Environmental Control and Ethics. This well-rounded training prepares architects to be well suited to place at the heart of a Design Team.
The building process is complicated and expensive and too many times there is a great temptation to cut costs by selecting an architect that offers low prices, rather than the architect that is best suited for the project. Selecting an architect based on lowest price is very short-sighted and risky because money may be saved in the short term, but the risk greatly increases for higher costs of the ongoing operation and maintenance of the building, as well as other long-term issues.
-Glenn Ebersole, Director of Business Development