Collaboration between designer ,builder, client=success

Collaboration between the designer and builder keeps things interesting and more importantly often ‘hits the nail on the head’ in regards to efficiency, economy, and customer satisfaction.  Diversity in design and construction allows the glass to continue to be filled while offering a variety in projects.

Over the last several years I have had the  opportunity to work with Art Albin, owner of AACraftsman, a Bozeman Montana residential construction and remodeling business. Art knows that working closely with the designer is the key to getting his projects off to a good start.  It is important with home remodeling projects to get started with the clients involved with the designer and builder.  This connection ensures that the goals of the homeowner are met.  This plays out as follows:

Often the builder may be approached by a customer who wants their home remodeled .  Most good builders steer the client towards having a designer assist in the process because they know that the time spent here will in the end save time, money, and the headaches of building something that the clients don’t want or cant afford.  When the builder, Art in this instance, calls me into a project we usually visit the customer together.  This is important because Art will see or hear issues about the project that I might not because I am focused on some aesthetic or programmatic concern.  The reverse might be true where I may see opportunities in the design that the builder does not immediately see or think of.

Meeting with both designer and builder allows two sets of ears to hear more.  Most clients are not single, but are often a husband and wife, or a family.  Often the husband  has his concerns that need to be addressed like how the entry to their home is icy after a storm because there are storm drainage issues.  His significant other, however, may be interested in how the entry could be more welcoming or could offer a place to sit.  When Art and I spend time with the client/clients, we are able to glean important information that is pertinent to the whole design.  The images below are of a project that Art called me in on.

Before Images

Concept of Design to Construction Diagram

After Art and I have meet with the clients, we spend some time discussing what we both found out in our meeting with them.   During this meeting we come up with general design parameters for the project that we agree upon.  After my first design iteration we meet again to look it over before producing a set of concept drawings for the client.  At this point small changes are made if there has been some part of the design concept needs further attention.  The client now has their chance to see what we have come up with, look over the drawings, comment on the design, and let us know how they like the design.  It is a process that takes gradual revision to finally get everything dialed in.  The design and communication time is time well spent for it heads off the potential of the builder misunderstanding what the clients actually want.From here Art and I meet again and talk about further details, methods of construction, materials to be used, etc.   I then go back to drawing what will be a ‘bid set’ of drawings which will help Art in estimating materials, schedule, and other subcontractors bids on various parts of the project.  If we are in a town, a building code jurisdiction set of drawings will be provided to the town building department as it is important that we comply with the necessary codes before anything is built.After the first bid set of drawings is completed and bids, materials estimates and such come in, there are sometimes revisions that occur due to budget issues or slight design changes. Very rarely at this point is it necessary for major revisions as most of this has already been understood and agreed upon by the designer, the builder, and the client. This is the beauty of a design/build approach.  The process from the start has been witnessed and understood by all in verbal, written, and drawn/modeled media.

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