Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2019 Big Sky Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the Big Sky Award Program and data provided by third parties.
Thank you Big Sky Award Program!
About Big Sky Award Program
The Big Sky Award Program is an annual awards program honoring the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the Big Sky area. Recognition is given to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value.
The Big Sky Award Program was established to recognize the best of local businesses Best of Big Sky in our community. Our organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations and other business advertising and marketing groups. Our mission is to recognize the small business community's contributions to the U.S. economy.
Big Sky Award Program
One of a Kind Home / One of a Kind Location
SOLD - Big Sky Montana
Big Sky's Lone Mountain is not for sale, however your will feel like you own it. Iconic-Contemporary home, one of a kind location, one of kind architecture. World Class views in nearly every direction. Home includes hidden bat-cave like approach to interior parking, car turn table, home theater, and roof top observatory for endless star gazing. (4 bedroom - 4 / 2 bath). Home's interior build-out has been left to Buyer, Developer preferences.
Proximate to 5850 ski-able acres, 4350 vertical feet and 400 inches of powder. Hike out your back door in Beehive Basin, some of the most breath taking views in North American.
Dan is an Architect and Montana Homes & Land Owner/Agent for this remarkable property currently available for purchase. Call Dan and allow him to share an informed opinion of improvements and the many possibilities with you today!
Montana Homes & Land - Featured Properties
Managing Progress Payments
Wow, how in the world could an everyday person with no building experience manage Construction activities payable? The task seems overwhelming! No worries…there’s an App for that!
Not really, however humor aside there are convenient forms available that will ease the difficulties of managing multiple sub-trades and navigating through various project activities payable. No matter project size or complexity, AIA forms G702 & 703 https://www.aiacontracts.org/ are certainly among my most favorite management tools. Let’s take a closer look (please see attached image).
In brief, AIA G702 is an Application Summary and Certified Certificate for Payment. Its companion document G703 provides an appropriate place for itemization of all activities by description, value or cost, and an evolving percentage complete to reasonably comprehend any payment due. Incidentally, if work itemization exceeds space allowed on just one G703, additional 703’s may be attached until all activities are accounted for. Just keep adding another G703 page until you have enumerated all the various activities.
Now, for as much as I may heartily recommend use of the G702/03, I must provide you with a warning! Management of expense is only as good as the information inputted. Remember the old axiom “Garbage-in…Garbage-out”? Well, if you don’t know how to determine the real value of work itemized you could be taken to the cleaner. In other words, an applicant could front-load (over valuate) all early-on activities and walk with more money in his pocket then he would otherwise earn by honoring itemized work to be performed. Front loading disincentivizes performance and could ultimately lead to unnecessary disputes and expensive litigation.
So like any tool, in the hands of an expert assurance and predictability can be expected. However in the hands of the inexperienced the consequences could be dreadful.
If you need an expert or just want to talk to one, give us a call. At Dan Joseph & Associates we are always available to your needs, whatever they may be!
Tools of the Trade include more than you think.
It’s fairly easy to imagine tools required to competently construct a structure and often include thoughts of hammers, saws, a tape measure and alike…and for the experienced, Architectural Plans. Yet few in the public realm would ever think or even consider document management as an essential tool of the trade.
That's right, a competent and capable professional will always utilize documentation including: Plans, Specifications, RFQ’s, RFI’s, Purchase Orders, Formal Agreements, General Conditions (A201), Supplemental Conditions, Change Orders, Product Submittals, Shop Drawings, Budgets, Contractor’s Applications & Certificate for Payments (G702-703), Waivers of Lien, Sworn Statements, Insurance Requirements, Gantt Charts and a Critical Path Method (CPM) for scheduling the hundreds of activities that could take place over the duration of any project.
Truly, the difference between a Contract Broker and a Project Manager is knowing when and how to use all tools of the trade, including documentation. Elaborating, a Contract Broker is ordinarily focused on securing the job and billing for periodic activities, whereas a professional Project Manager will actually administer every aspect of the built-response in benefit of the Project-Owner’s best interest. Proper Project Management will often result in less disputes, create expectations, hold parties accountable, reduce costs and if ever needed a paper trail for legal remedy.
Today’s Owners are sophisticated, experienced and well educated, therefore it is reasonable that all team members understand the importance and requirement for accountability on every level of service provided. Make sure you and your service provider maximize proven management methods for your project by using ALL the tools of the trade including documentation.
Check out the American Institute of Architects current list of Contract Documents found here: https://www.aiacontracts.org/all-documents
Or if you prefer, contact Dan Joseph & Associates today for your next project endeavor: https://www.djawest.com
Big Sky, Montana
Based upon utilization of historic Architecture, respect for cultural heritage, outstanding natural beauty and the incorporation of sustainable design principals, a Western States Architect has designed Mountain Living’s 'Most Responsible' Residence of the Year.
Photo insert is of a Guest Cabin as seen from the near side linkage of ponds designed by the Architect. This particular pond is close to 30' deep, providing family enjoyment while serving as a thermal mass for a WSHP exchange loop. The primary axis of the Cabin aligns to this water feature and another towards a magnificent view of the nearby Pioneer Mountain located deep within the Madison Range. Notice how beautifully the architecture keys into the waters edge, complimenting the rustic structure's inseparable connection to the landscape.
The project Headwaters Camp, located in Yellowstone Club - Big Sky, Montana “is carefully cradled in a world defined by the orderly needs of program and the random artistry of nature in the extreme,” says the Architect Dan Turvey. Set upon the edge in a series of ponds, streams and falls designed by Turvey, a rustic cabin appears to hover over the sparkling waters of a high mountain alpine lake. “Developing our Master Plan on this 22 acre parcel from among others available was a critical decision made by the owner,” says Turvey. “It wasn't readily apparent that such potential existed on a site that lent itself more to limitations than an envisioned family encampment.”
Designing a structure in the Rockies at 8000 feet, proximate to Yellowstone National Park presents many challenges; including an active seismic zone, annual snow fall approaching 8’-0” and an underlying geology that must be considered well in advance to undertaking any formal response. Within these constraints the Architect looked to the National Park and our collective early century architectural heritage for creative inspiration. “The idea was to showcase and celebrate an enduring, regional vernacular that conveys strength, permanence and a sense of confidence amongst an overwhelming panorama of majestic mountains and weather extremes,” says Turvey. “The added practical benefits of this vocabulary allowed us to seamless integrate moment frames, shear panels and a wide flange ridge beam, while also accenting the dwelling with rafter tails, reclaimed dimensional timber and log assemblies throughout a substantial structure.”
The difficulties of achieving energy efficiency in a rustic vocabulary, which by this example utilizes the appearance of dove-tailed, hand hewn, sand chinked timbers, dry stacked stone and old world planking, was accomplished with an artistic approach of applying materials to a conventional wood framed structure. The final result is a modest sized, 1800 sf, rustic dwelling that reflects sustainable values that have been honored at the highest possible level by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) – Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).
This LEED-Platinum designated home is the first in Southwest, Montana and the third home in the state to receive any certification from the USGBC. “The vision for Headwaters was to create a family camp that feels and looks like it has existed for 100 years,” says owner Todd Thomson. “I was also determined to build a home that reflects my values as an environmentalist and board member of the World Resources Institute.”
"Really what makes this project so special was the commitment on behalf of all the parties to push Headwaters Camp to a level that currently has no equal” says Turvey. “In the big picture of things, the end product is a reflection of an Owner’s exceptional vision and directive.” while adding “The contractors collective commitment and determination to make the mark cannot be understated; without the teams applied effort, certification would not have been possible.”
Dan Joseph Architects shares the true power of architecture with a breathtaking example of a modest sized, rustic dwelling that reflects sustainable values.
'Green Building' often evokes images of rectilinear like structures with clean, geometric lines. So how is it possible for a Rustic Cabin that appears to have been built decades before, to receive a LEED for Homes Platinum rating: a top designation for residences awarded by the United States Green Building Council?
Consider for one…that the Headwaters Camp - Guest Cabin is an original design and likely the most efficient ever built; for instance eliminating problems of uneven settlement, air and insect infiltration normally associated with buildings of this type, a fully insulated Chimney and Fireplace enclosure and a WSHP- Pond Loop sized for Cabin and Home alike.
Design - Performance Accomplishments
Celebrate the universal capacity of Good Planning and Outstanding Design with Dan Joseph Architects
Regardless of vernacular, the principals of 'Green' building still apply; with DJA…Rustic and Western Design can now share in the same positive attributes that other environmentally responsible buildings enjoy; fostering sustainable building practice as a good steward of our natural resources.
Montana's - Headwaters Camp
'Single Source' Professional Services provided by Dan Joseph Architects
Construction Administration and Oversight · Site Master Planning: Building Envelopes, Aquatic Design (Ponds and Streams) · Infrastructure and Site Access Planning · Civil Engineering Coordination · Geothermal WSHP Engineering Coordination · Building Design - Schematics, Design Development, Construction Docs: Cabin, Horse Barn and Primary Residence · Structural Engineering Coordination · Architectural Review Committee submittals · Mass Modeling and all other related Professional Service tasking for this outstanding and unique High Mountain encampment.
Mr. Todd Thomson
Kairos Ventures, Chief Operating and Financial Officer
Architect & Construction Administrator
Dan Joseph Architects - Bozeman, Montana
Yellowstone Club - Big Sky, Montana
Standing Seam Metal Roof
Bridger Steel - Belgrade, Montana
Double Arrow Lodge - Seeley Lake, Montana
A fire offers no promise to the hurried, or one occupied by thoughts and worry, however to the patient the rewards are many. In a symphony of crackle, flame and smoke a fire will warm you to the bone, meld the past and present in an unapologetic exchange of warmth and the now. A special place within our head and heart for private contemplation, appreciation and a good night’s rest.
Wishing all a grateful heart and a warm bed and if ever needed, a flicker of light that leads you home.
Meet your Other Half
According to Greek mythology, humans were originally created with four arms, four legs and a head with two faces. Fearing their power, Zeus split them into two separate parts, condemning them to spend their lives in search of their other halves.
...and when one of them meets the other half, the actual half of himself, the pair are lost in an amazement of love and friendship and intimacy and one will not be out of the other's sight, even for a moment...
Likewise, the mountain west reunites each of us with nature’s splendor and perhaps even with our better half. At Dan Joseph Architects we toil over intimacy of place until your built response becomes inseparable of location; creating one out of the two that will not detach from the other, not even for a moment.
Don’t spend your life condemned in searching for your other half, allow Dan Joseph Architects to introduce you to outstanding, holistic solutions informed by nature, that will compliment your western lifestyle today!
LEED the way...a Snap Shot of USGBC Certification
The built response has a significant impact on our quality of life, the natural world, health, economy and productivity. Consistently, new building means and methods, technologies and equipment are available to architects and owners alike who want to build in a responsible manner; benefiting from economic and environmental performance.
The US Green Building Council http://www.usgbc.org/ utilizing a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certification program has rapidly transformed the old way of building structures into a celebration of performance based achievement. Through a process of third-party verification, a long list of completed tasks are assigned a point value that upon tabulation, will recognize the structure as either Certified, Silver, Gold or the highest achievement Platinum. Credits towards certification are earned in each of the following categories: Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy and Atmosphere, Materials and Resources, Indoor Environmental Quality, Innovative Design, and others depending on your building use and designation.
So exactly what is the next step for those desiring LEED Certification? It actually begins with a commitment from the owner; in the big picture of things the owner makes all things possible. Next…your architect needs to think critically while delivering good passive techniques, planning and design for high performance standards. No less important are the buildings support systems, including state-of-the-art HVAC, lighting, controls and other technologies that will improve the performance of your structure.
Concurrently and during the design phase of service, your architect will assist you with the selection and engagement of a Certified LEED Consultant or Provider. Providers play a very important role in the over-all process, which unfortunately at times are quickly forgotten upon making the mark. As third-party verifiers, it is very important that the Provider be contractually accountable to the owner only, not the architect or contractor; allowing for unbiased reviews of the completed work that will be documented and shared with the owner and the USGBC. Additionally, Providers offer over the shoulder review of evolving design and later contribute critical direction during the construction process. Lastly, your contractor must competently execute the plans and the various lists of assignments required to successfully meet the objectives.
It is important to note that registration, use and access of the “Final Check List” are controlled by the owner; again…not the contractor, architect or even the USGBC; so make sure that the final registration is in the owner's name exclusively.
While it is easy to over-simplify the process, achieving LEED Certification is a commitment whose thread can be traced from concept to completion, requiring months or years of diligence. As we move towards Net-Zero Buildings, the USGBC–LEED program has cleared a path for sustainable practice and continued reform for much of the built environment. Utilizing LEED criteria, energy codes and modern building efficiency standards, Dan Joseph Architects http://www.djawest.com/ is ready to assist you with LEED Certification. Give us a call…
Points to Remember
1. Construction means and methods, technologies and equipment are constantly being updated.
2. LEED Certification for new projects is available through a process of third-party verification of completed tasks.
3. Your architect needs to think critically while delivering good passive techniques, planning and design for high performance standards.
4. As third-party verifiers, it is very important that the Provider be contractually accountable to the owner only, not the architect or contractor.
5. Contractors must competently execute plans and the various lists of assignments required to successfully meet objectives.
6. Registration, use and access of the “Final Check List” are controlled by the owner…not the contractor, architect or even the USGBC; so make sure that the final registration is in the owner's name exclusively.
7. The USGBC–LEED program has cleared a path for sustainable practice and continued reform for much of the built environment.
Allow us to help you achieve all your Green Build aspirations, give Dan Joseph Architects a call today!
Before you buy in Big Sky
Whether it’s Montana's Yellowstone Club, Spanish Peaks Mountain Club, Moonlight Basin or perhaps someplace in between…we know Big Sky. Check here for a list of available services before you buy: www.djawest.com/process
Site visits are free...give Dan Joseph Architects a call today!
Pay-to-Play Will it happen to you?
In case you missed the News today more than a dozen executives, including a top ex- Bloomberg Exec were set to be arrested in a alleged construction pay to play scheme that cost the company tens of millions!
The scheme entailed bribes and kickbacks by subcontractors and vendors for nearly four years in exchange for artificially raising the bills on construction projects.
Unfortunately, while the circumstance is news worthy the occurrence is certainly not. Fraudulent and dishonest business arrangements of this type and others occur every single day on construction projects (large & small) everywhere.
Will your project become the sole exception? Hardly...pay-to-play and variations of dishonest escalation and coordination of construction expense has become a modern day reality. However, here are some procedures that will dramatically curb the loss.
So why would a Fortune 500 CFO, hire Dan Joseph Architects to administer oversight of all things Construction? The answer is straight forward, Construction Administration demands unique, specific expertise, experience and knowledge; anything less will undoubtedly result in needless loss of project funding, busted budgets and ultimately a compromised built solution.
By request our services may include review and preparation of cost estimates for any project, regardless of style, type, Architect or location. We can also Administer your project with direct oversight over your selected General Contractor, assist you with selecting a General Contractor, or alternatively Manage the entire built response ourselves on your behalf from the ground up.
Avoid the unknown and hire Dan Joseph Architects today!
American Institute of Architects
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) Honor Awards program recognizes achievements for a broad range of architecture in order to elevate the general quality of professional practice, to establish a standard of excellence against which all architects can measure performance, and to inform the public of architectural practice, its breadth and value.
With these achievement standards in mind, the AIA solicited submissions from all Architecture firms located throughout the state of Montana. Completed projects were sought over a five year period of review and could include out-of-state commissions. Colorado’s Fentress Architects of International Fame, most noted for the Denver International Airport was selected as an impartial jury in blind review to all works gathered.
The Highest Achievement and Recognition attainable is the 'AIA Honor Award for Excellence in Design' and was bestowed upon Architect - Daniel J Turvey.
Dan Turvey, Principal and Owner of Dan Joseph Architects states "Recognition at this level in particular as acknowledged from such an acclaimed jury of practicing, International Professionals is both substantial and noteworthy. Thank you American Institute of Architects!”
Project Investment Opportunities
Dan Joseph Architects
Image of: Pierce Lake Professional Center / Dan Joseph Architects
Land Procurement, Budget, Project Financing, City Approval, Engineering, Architecture, Construction, Tenant Leasing.
Dan Joseph Architects continually seeks quality project investment opportunities for clients and investors alike.
Dan Joseph Architects will on a project-by-project basis, joint venture with strong developers who have a track record, development expertise, depth and breadth of organization, and above all else the integrity to partner with Dan Joseph Architects, its clients and local communities.
Whether raw land or existing improvements, Dan Joseph Architects offers expertise and professional support to maximize the returns on all ventures including: complete AEC Services, value engineering, detailed cost analysis, project management and access to capital for financing and sales.
Dan Joseph Architects prides itself on the ability to encourage strong and lasting relationships with its clients and partners; to produce outstanding results for each venture and access to exceptional project investment opportunities!
Contact us today! https://www.djawest.com/contact.html
Dan Joseph Architects now offers Master Builder Services
Question: What is a Master Builder?
Answer: A Master Builder is a career path and chosen profession where real time construction experience is augmented with formal education, rigorous examination and licensure.
Within one person there exists the following capacity:
Question: Why has Dan Joseph Architects elected to offer Design-Build Services as Dan Joseph + Associates, Master Builder?
Answer: The continued practice of allocating various portions of responsibility separately to Architects and Contractors can no longer be debated as the most practical or cost effective method of project delivery.
Summarizing, placing sole project responsibility in the hands of an ethical, effective, experienced and fully transparent Master Builder, consolidates accountability, preserves integrity and will result in the best solution for the least cost.
At Dan Joseph + Associates we have chosen our career path as that of a Master Builder; we are highly educated in our discipline, have been subjected to rigorous testing and licensing requirements, and have thrived in a open market of a competitive bid-build practice.
Give Dan Joseph + Associates a call or feel free to visit us in Montana; we offer innovative solutions, are always an Owner's advocate and welcome the opportunity to assist you with your future Architecture and Construction needs.
Dan Joseph Architects - Talented & Influential
Dan Joseph Architects has been selected by the editorial staff of Mountain Living for a recent edition of ‘Top Mountain Architects & Interior Designers’; an exclusive guide to the most talented and influential Architects, Design/Build professionals and Interior Designers at work in the West today!
More exciting news, Dan Joseph Architects is now headquartered in Bozeman, Montana to better serve the Rocky Mountain West. As always, we’re only a phone call away for those throughout North America and beyond.
The Mountains of Montana
Big Sky, Montana
Well the moment finally came. I had postponed the dreaded walk since the very day I had arrived early last week. My discomfort in taking a quiet trek near the origins of the Gallatin River by way of the Headwaters Camp trail wasn't due to impossibly deep snow; where only a couple of inches had accumulated that in the heart of winter would have easily equaled several feet. No, the real crux of the problem was that I had saved this one remaining experience over a week long visit in review of completed works for my last day, and now that day had come all too quickly.
Words cannot possibly begin to convey a feeling or emotion well enough to be shared or understood by others. How does one capture the sense of place, song, passage or remembrance that moves the heart or soul? Such things are often deeply personal and occur in a moment of silence; the kind of silence I had experienced while in the palm of Lone Mountain, the Pioneer Range and Cedar located deep within the confines of the Yellowstone Club located in Big Sky, Montana. I was once again humbled and pretty sure that it was a hapless snow flake that had caused my eyes to blur in a swell of appreciation, admiration and respect for this magnificent place.
Front page news and paying the bills have been too much of a distraction for all of us in recent days and during this final walk of solitude the mountains gave me pause, perspective and demanded my full attention in a way that only this kind of place could.
No matter where you may live, may we all think of the Mountains...for our walk in life can sometimes be too brief and may pass all too quickly; be grateful for family, friends and distant places. For true value resides in such things. Events and circumstance will change by the day, however may the things that matter most to you and yours remain forever like the Mountains of Montana!
Daniel J Turvey, AIA
Bar BC Ranch
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Greeted with warm smiles and hardy handshakes, I was recently welcomed as a visiting Architect and well received guest at a Ranch House BBQ hosted by Hillwood; a Perot Company and Tom Evan's Sotheby’s International Realty of Jackson, Wyoming.
To say that I felt at home and among friends would be an understatement; this group of top-notch professionals shared in conversation and aspiration as though I had been a valued acquaintance that could be measured in years. But then again the Bar BC is no stranger to camaraderie, laughter and the simple enjoyment of people gathered at a magnificent setting. Fact is...stories of Bar BC Cowboys and Cowboy want-to-be’s began in 1912 and by the 1920’s was known as one of the most famous Dude Ranches in the region.
Embracing a rich heritage and the significant remembrance of place held within the hearts of generations, Hillwood concluded that all ranch improvements would be rooted in stewardship and an absolute appreciation for the land. Roads and trails would blend with natural scenery, scenic overlooks and majestic views. The dual mission would also conserve wildlife corridors, while also providing for private use and enjoyment of this one-of-a-kind setting.
Upon leaving and thanking my hostess for a good time had by all, a small herd of elk was seen grazing in the lush grass found in abundance surrounding a larger pond located interior to this unique community.
When you have the time, contact me and lets walk the Bar BC Ranch together to discuss your vision, hopes and aspirations. https://www.djawest.com/contact.html
www.hillwood.com tomevansrealestate.com www.barbcranch.com
U.S. Green Building Council
Big Sky, Montana
Montana State University School of Architecture, College of Engineering and Licensed Practicing Professionals were recently extended an opportunity to view and experience a best-in-class, LEED Platinum residence located in Big Sky, Montana. A well-known, picturesque, iconic Cabin has transformed how people view our natural world and construction practice everywhere, and was the focus of an exclusive one day event hosted by Mr. Thomson.
Todd S. Thomson is the Chairman of Dynasty Financial Partners, accomplished global practitioner and adviser of mergers, acquisitions & investments; serving as a Board Member of the World Resource Institute, and advocate of strategies and practice that have a real time impact on health, while promoting responsible, clean energy use.
Project Architect, Daniel J Turvey of Dan Joseph Architects states “It is befitting that America’s most admired, small home is also located where environmental responsibility is advocated above all else”.
What must an Architect possess?
Recently, I was interviewed by two women who had traveled far; while also daring a long, unfamiliar, narrow and winding canyon road and arriving under cover of darkness on a Montana mid-winters eve. Our nearly 2-1/2 hour conversation was unique; unique because 99% of the topic was about me rather than about project programming, budgeting, architectural styling and alike. What a rare opportunity in my profession…to be given the ears of others who wanted to learn something more about an architects mind, inspiration, the art of architecture and the importance of integrity, devotion and yes…even passion.
Our discussion was effortless as the pair presented many well thought out questions on a variety of topics; and I found myself eager to discuss every aspect of the inquiry. Towards the end of this exchange came the one query that totally caught me off guard; not that the question was complicated, nor even challenged my well informed understanding of a highly regulated profession...rather it was perhaps the most personal question I have ever been presented with.
The question was this….'What is the one thing that an Architect must posses to be successful?' I fell silent for a moment and carefully considered my reply; and within the first breath of my response I felt exposed to the world. Immediately there was a rush of vulnerability and likely my final word on that which resides in the deepest part of who I am…perhaps my most profound truth. It would have been easy to deflect and talk about education, licensure or even my connection to art and love of place…but my new found friendship was pure and deserving of a direct and sincere response.
“Passion” was my reply…and to really understand the significance of this response, you need to understand what the word ‘passion’ means to me. I’ll explain…
In our culture and likely around the world, we sometimes wander without true purpose…expecting that things will just happen; even perhaps that our employer or a big company will take care of us for life. We go to school, receive our diplomas, put in our 10 to 12 hour a day…all in the absence of any true, unadulterated passion.
For example the movie 'The Ramen Girl' is a simple metaphor about the deeper passion I speak of; emphasizing that even when all the right ingredients are plainly there and the steps have been followed precisely, the end result is still just bland soup. In a sentence, it’s about finding your passion and to pour all of it into your daily endeavor; imparting a soul the Japanese refer to as Tamashii.
In conclusion, if all else is equal…find an Architect that demonstrates the ability to solve complex goals with passion; passion for you, passion for the land, passion for the profession…and in this journey or pursuit to perfection, you may, like me...discover something about yourself that is informed by the most intimate of places…your very own soul!
It all starts with Site Selection
Dan Joseph Architects
You areabout to purchase the place of your dreams, the views are spectacular and the possibilities seem endless. You want to protect your investment and to fully realize your hopes and aspirations. Perhaps you are ready to hire an architect….but which one, why and what kind of service should you expect? While I could write an entire book on this topic alone, I’ll begin by hitting upon just a few key points; helping you along in a process that may otherwise seem intimidating.
Asking that an architect walk a parcel or two before your final purchase is perhaps one of the most overlooked opportunities that I know of. A casual stroll over a plot of land allows you to measure a number of variables: the architect’s temperament, personality, competency, communication skills, artistic vision, passion, respect for place and a holistic, educated, informed opinion about location; helping you to arrive at that next level of decision.
For larger tracts of land (multiple acres), the best opinions will generally come a few days later; after the many possibilities have had a chance to cook….or reduce to the essence of place. If available, be prepared to offer a topographic plot of the parcel or an aerial illustrating property boundaries, adjacent improvements, etc. before walking the land.
HOW TO COMMUNICATE YOUR WANTS
Architecture is technical competency expressed as art. Competency alone will not guarantee you of a successful solution; however an artistic professional may very well achieve something remarkable. Look for passion, sensitivity, reservation, a quiet soul that will allow themselves to be absorbed by the intangibles. When expressing your project to an architect….think about how a radio works. In other words when discussing a vernacular or architectural vocabulary, dial in on the channel you would like to hear…say Modern Mountain, Western Rustic, Post & Beam, Craftsman, perhaps a mix of two or more and so on. Then think about volume, how loud would you like to hear the music? Just like the volume knob on a radio, you can turn up or down the variables of design and character to suit personal taste and budget.
YOUR ROLE IN THE PROCESS
Once you have decided on which architect to hire, execute your understanding of fees and services with a Standard AIA Owner-Architect Agreement. AIA Agreements have withstood the test of time, are impartial and have proven to be the best document available for defining the obligations of both parties. Have your attorney review the agreement before endorsing the final contract.
Before beginning the first phase of activities with your architect, have a topographic survey for your parcel prepared at 1’-0” increments and anything else your architect may request. Such surveys should include easements, setbacks, utilities, building envelopes, compass bearings of near and distant views, improvements and alike noted and illustrated plainly on the document. You’ll want a “boots on the ground” survey, commonly referred to as a field survey. Do not trust aerials as a sufficient tool for understanding much of anything; other then a rough idea of the property lines. Now is not the time to save a few bucks and an inaccurate survey can cost you big time later on. Do not expect your architect to provide survey services, the liability associated with this practical need cannot be justified.
If you haven’t already ordered a geological survey of the bearing capacity and underlying geology of the site before purchasing the parcel, then you will need to under take this task next. Your architect will want to understand the particulars of the proposed building envelopes and the required built solution response to each unique location. The idea is to avoid differential settlement and perhaps if located in mountainous terrain, the avoidance of below grade obstructions, etc. Again, do not expect your architect to provide this need to service. However in each case (surveys and geotechnical reports), your architect can be helpful by providing you with reputable companies, approximated costs and contact information.
THE BUILT RESPONSE
Early on you will want to consider how to manage the built response. Because the many advantages…Design-Build has exponentially become one of the most desired methods for project delivery. Design-Build is by where the architect will contractually provide all services; from concept to completion. Often times the architect will engage a pre-qualified general contractor and provide as “Single Source” accountable, professional services, construction management, project budgets, allowances, progress review and delivery of the final product. As always exercise good judgment; not all architects will be qualified as capable in delivering this level of service. Discuss your architects experience, capacity and understanding of the process. (please see Design-Build link below)
The alternative to Design-Build will be to engage for the built response directly with a reputable general contractor; the architect in return would be designated as the projects construction administrator. Under this type arrangement each entity will report to you directly for the services provided. Again AIA Standard Agreements are available for your use. Either way, insist that budgets be respected and quantified for each level of the evolving design.
PROFESSIONAL SERVICE TASKING
Each architect will possess their own way of tasking through schematic design and design development; however each will need to gather the stats: budget, site improvements, square-footage, programming, captured views, building vocabulary, etc. Sketch renderings of elevations and floor plans will assist you with understanding that the tones of the architect’s intention, are demonstrating a working comprehension of your preferences.
Design Development is generally your last chance to direct changes before entering into the preparation of the Construction Documents. Construction Documents are the blueprints of your final built solution. It is the responsibility of the architect to provide all consulting services (structural engineering, civil engineering, mechanical, electrical, plumbing, geothermal, specialty and alike), necessary in the preparation of the construction document. I prefer that consulting fees be separate from the architects, so that when comparing services of another, it is plainly evident what the costs are. Afterwards, a competitive solicitation of supporting services can be shared with you and a simple overhead and profit margin applied upon the final selection. Final selection of consulting service can be made under a joint review performed by owner and architect alike, with preference given to the best qualified respondent. The owner should yield to the architect’s qualified and professional judgment; however the architect must be prepared to make the case as to why or why not a particular consultant is to be considered. An owner should never engage consulting service directly and will be discussed further under “Chain of Accountability”.
IT’S ALL IN THE DETAILS
The architects Construction Documents (Con Doc) must be sufficiently detailed as to help avoid Change Order extras that may arise in the absence of ones ability to quantify all work entailed. Missing detail is often the reason for escalating project costs and with some effort during the architect’s Con Doc phase of service, building costs can be held in check. Elaborating, while there is no one formula on how much architectural detailing will be enough….too little often means more profit for the architect and a built solution that will be delivered at a premium cost to you.
Now let’s talk ‘Chain of Accountability”…far too often over zealous owners and builders alike are quick to allow changes with substitutions of materials, inferior standards, means, methods or in other words to compromise performance and safety criteria of an approved and specified requirement, for a perceived savings. The very moment of this occurrence, a snowball effect of liability is placed upon the shoulders of the party breaching the architects approved standard. Some changes may result in nothing more then a cosmetic difference, while others could result in catastrophic failure, exponential cost in remedy, or in a worse case scenario…loss of life. Maintain a Chain of Accountability for which the architect is insured. If a change is desired, discuss it with your architect and have a Change Order (add or deduct) issued for the want. This process will keep everyone accountable, informed and most of all protected.
As always Dan Joseph Architects is ready to serve your needs; give me a call. I would enjoy meeting you, walking the site and discussing my process of bringing you the best in Professional Services.
POINTS TO REMEMBER
1. Asking an Architect to walk your parcel(s) will help with understanding the potential of multiple locations, while also providing some feed-back regarding the Architect themselves.
2. Architecture is technical competency expressed as art. Competency alone will not guarantee you of a successful solution; however an artistic professional may very well achieve something remarkable. Look for passion, sensitivity, reservation, a quite soul that will allow themselves to be absorbed by the intangibles.
3. DO NOT USE AERIAL SURVEYS WHEN ACCURATE INFORMATION IS REQUIRED.
4. Early on you will want to consider how to manage the built response. Because of the many advantages…Design-Build has exponentially become one of the most desired methods for project delivery. Design-Build is by where the architect will contractually provide all services; from concept to completion.
5. Request that consulting fees be separate from the architects, so that when comparing services of another, it is plainly evident what the costs are.
6. The Construction Documents must be sufficiently detailed as to help avoid Change Order extras, that may arise in the absence of ones ability to quantify all work entailed.
7. Maintain a “Chain of Accountability”; require that all changes…on any level, be managed by Change Orders (adds, deducts and even if there is no difference).
How do you measure up?
Dan Joseph Architects
Tired, perhaps even a little sore you rise for another morning, one more cup of coffee and a tense commute to the office...the trip home will likely be more of the same. Undoubtedly, the sacrifices have all been worth while; the kids are in college or have transitioned into promising careers, the mortgage is manageable and a little personal time for reflection seems to be more of the norm.
So what will be next in the grand scheme of things? If you are like me, “quality of life” seems to occupy my thoughts more than I’d care to admit.
Pausing for just a moment, go find a tape measure; put your left thumb on your current age and place your right say on 75. This approach provides a great visual for really comprehending the number of quality years remaining as contrasted to say an average person. Now let’s take that number and convert them into summers. And so there it is...if your remaining life was measured in summers, where would you spend them?
For me remote jagged mountains and blue skies speak to my most inner passion and love of life. There are few other places that really affect me as deeply and spiritually as does our unspoiled western landscapes of the Rocky Mountains; and very few that speak as loudly as Jackson Hole’s Bar BC Ranch (see pic inset).
Small describes best how I feel when visiting this very special community; an historical 1,400 acre Ranch located in one of Wyoming’s most scenic corridors and at the confluence of the Snake and Gros Ventre Rivers. It doesn’t really matter what your life’s circumstance may be...the Teton Mountain Range, Teton National Park and blue skies for as far as the eye can see will absolutely command your attention.
In final word, I find it comforting knowing that some things are difficult to measure in years or inches; that there are ridgelines and river bottoms I may never walk, snow flakes and fish I’ll never catch...and just knowing that they exist certainly adds to my quality of life; God willing...the remainder of my summers will be spent in the splendor of our beautiful American West.