Editor’s note: Design + Build is a new series by Steve Lazar, owner and operator of Lazar Design/Build, focusing on aspects of the profession usually left unsaid.
Look up the word ARCHITECT in the dictionary and there is the typical Latin root of the word and other roots of the word, but essentially it says nothing more than MASTER BUILDER. Your architect or master builder will head your process in the proper direction. Let’s call the “point man”, the “go to guy”, or the “solution.” Whatever he is referred as, it is imperative that your chain of communication is with one and only one person to eliminate confusions today, tomorrow, and in the future. There is an inherent challenge to the standard relationship between the homeowner, the architect, and the builder. There are three different entities, all with possibly different goals or objectives.
Home owner: budget
Who is the client? Is the home owner? Is the architect? If the builder is hired by the home owner than of course the home owner is the client. Typically, this is the standard relationship. However, the builder also has some allegiance to the architect, and this is where things can start to get conflicted. The builder is caught in a pickle between two different entities with possibly two different goals. If budget is not a consideration than there is no conflict. In 20 years of designing and constructing custom homes, I have never been bound by some sort of budget.
One possible solution is that the architect hires the contractor and the contractor’s total allegiance is to the architect. He is merely the construction arm of the architectural firm. Bye-bye budget.
Another possible solution is DESIGN / BUILD. Now don’t get me wrong, not all designer / builders are good. In most cases quite the opposite. However, if a home owner can find an accomplished DESIGNER / BUILDER, then the process of building or remodeling a home can avoid numerous pitfalls and can be enormously satisfying for both parties involved and keeping within a budget.
Notice I said both parties involved. By engaging with an accomplished DESIGNER / BUILDER the homeowner has eliminated one entity and the entire process the can endure for months or even years. A two way relationship is clearly simpler and more efficient. All the finger pointing comes to a screeching halt when there are only two parties in the relationship. The blame game of “it can’t be built that way” or “why does it cost so much,” is no longer part of marriage when the process is streamlined between the client and the master builder.
Next week: Marriage