12:02 AM 04/18/2012
I posted here two weeks ago and you all were very helpful. We went over our expectations again, and were promised a set of construction drawings so we could finally file construction permits. The architect wants to self certify so he said the permits would come quickly. I said to my husband "great. let's just call it a day now." To which my husband said "we can't, He has to sign off at the end of the project." I'm so annoyed at this point that I think that despite the inevitable delays and the fact that we have now pissed away $15,000 on architects fees, it's time to pull the plug. We don't have a ton of money to throw around like this and one the one hand I feel like our hands are tied, and on the other hand I feel like this whole process is making me miserable and we can't pay more money just because we've already pissed away a ton. My husband is good at drafting and the floor plans are actually his, with some tweaks by the architect. Are we stupid or what? So we have floor plans and a rendering of the facade that I absolutely hate, despite saying a million ways politely and then directly "this isn't what we want. I don't like it and it doesn't match our vision". For $15k, he took my husband's measurements and took all my husband's ideas and threw them on a plan that is being submitted. We didn't sign a contract (his choice) and if push came to shove I think we have ample proof that the current drawings are largely my husband's. I'm just so disappointed - I really wanted help with cool details, things we might not have considered. We say we want to flood the house with light, he says big windows in small spaces look wrong. We asked for a big skylight and roof hatch, we got an 18x18 skyligiht because he said it will let in enough light and bigger ones will cost more. But anytime I ask WHAT things might reasonably cost, I'm not getting answers. I'm doing all my own research on materials and finishes. Found my own kitchen cabinet place (Pure Kitchen, by the way....). sorry this is long and rambling. What should we do? Find someone who will work with us? Call it a day? do construction illegally and not pull permits? (contractor is fine with this but we're a little wary). I know there is only so much you can do with a row house space. I'm not expecting miracles but we were expecting something more. Someone told me I've run up against Howard Roark, Not having read the Fountainhead, I can't say but the Cliffs Notes version seems, alas, that it might be so. What would you do in our shoes? What is the sane thing to do? And how do we break up with him at this point? It's like calling off the wedding a week before, but I'd rather do that than spend the next year crying every day.
You may want to consider taking your project to an architect/expediter type who is geared to get your DOB filing complete and not so interested in design.
Usually the plumbing drawings get amended during construction, due to design changes that arise through the course of the project. As-built drawings are also usually inevitable at the end. If you and your husband are the visionaries then you may as well keep the design in your hands. As long as the DOB professional you work with keeps your project to code, you should be fine.
By the way, a 5'x5' skylight fabricated locally costs about $900.00.
7:21 AM 04/18/2012 | 0 Votes
You really should cut your losses and go with another architect or professional engineer. Even if you don't self-certify the drawings you still need his stamp and signature on the application for the plans. If you have problems with the drawings (either from a DOB audit of a self-certified plan or revisions that come up during the project) you would need an architect to correct or revise the drawings.
When you consider that you've already spent a considerable amount of money working on plans, I would imagine you could retain a new RA or PE that would work on an hourly basis on your project.
A friendly suggestion: anyone who works for you in a construction-related capacity (architect, contractor, designer, estimator, expeditor, etc.) should be working under a written agreement. While I can't speak specifically about the architect you used, I have a hard time believing you would be in this position if he was working under contract.
8:50 AM 04/18/2012 | 0 Votes
You could email me for some refs to streamlined firms who specialize in getting the DOB permits. email@example.com
9:14 AM 04/18/2012 | 0 Votes
In contrast to what some of the others above are saying, you say you have a rendering that you hate, so it sounds like you need a little more design help on the facade. I have to say, it sounds like it could have been a very interesting and fun project for you and the architect; "big windows in small spaces" don't have to look "wrong". When done right, they can be very cool and dramatic. It's a real shame that this is becoming a missed opportunity to do something wonderful. And in the end, it's your house, not his, so he should be giving you what you want even if he doesn't like it.
There are a number of architects on this forum, including myself, who I am sure would be able to salvage your experience and give you the kind of home you really want to live in.
Jim Hill, RA, LEED AP
Urban Pioneering Architecture
10:05 AM 04/18/2012 | 0 Votes
A lot of people just do their job half way, because they don´t love it.
And they sure don´t love your house as much as you do.
If your guy loved the job, he would be interested in getting a good result and happy customers, and creating something fabulous. Especially with someone like you guys who have ideas and want something special. I paid more than double what you paid, and your problems sound very familiar to me.
6:48 PM 04/18/2012 | 0 Votes
It really is a ashame that you have spent all this money and are not receiving what you paid for. My husband and I were in a similar situation with our architect, but we put our foot down and told him that in the end we would be living there not him and that he MUST do as we ask. I say do not fire him and waste $15k, but instead but your foot down and tell him to stop and listen and do what you are paying him to do.
If he suggests ideas that you do not like, immediately disagree and ask him to do what you requested. You must put an end to it.
10:24 AM 04/19/2012 | 0 Votes
Thank you all for your advice, commiseration and scolding. The sort of good news is that the architect removed himself from the project yesterday, essentially saying he so strongly disagreed with our vision that he found it impossible to work with us. I wish this had been made clearer up front when we were asking what this issue was with opening up the space the way we wanted to. We aren't going to be out the full $15k as he has agreed to just keep the original, smaller retainer, and call it a day and not hold us liable for the second large payment I had just sent out. We've lost some money and some time but I've been convinced by a couple of fine folks here that this actually can become a project we will be enthusiastic about, which was our original intent. If we had wanted a "meh" sort of property, we would have bought a new development condo and saved some money and some hassle. So thanks again to all for weighing in. Looking forward to moving forward.
11:13 AM 04/19/2012 | 0 Votes
I feel so badly for you...what a nighmare.
I worked with Dick Boschen and he was very good about giving me the vision I had in mind. I used Scott Schnall the expeditor. I had to call alot to get through to him, but he got the job done. I am a by the book person, so I would get permits and would always have a contract.
9:08 AM 04/20/2012 | 0 Votes