Architecture Survival Guide

160306, 04.00 am, OMAH Library, Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive. Dalai Lama

garageI did lecture a month ago with just a good will for young architect. I got so much thing, nurtured by clients, being happy with the process being architect. I do love architecture, there are much about 3 story in the process : forming expedients, practicing alchemy, and practicing experiments. that session was my first time, thinking about profession.

The story of survival, comes when the resource is not enough. Based on last discussion in the little prince, there is little desperation among the young architect, they are very optimistic. They talked about the respect to the master, that they are willing to learn so much thing for being architect not even from one person, but from many person. They won’t give up, but interestingly, there are various job that was discussed such as junior urban designer and as architectural assistant while their scope of work is different. Architect is a certified profession in Indonesia, it’s like doctor, lawyer, accountant while urban designer is new, the product is more into vision and guideline. Being architect need to be social and contemplative as well, it depends on the your own value as an architect.

As a person who will be young architect might wonder on how the process of selection of an architect, this will answer how to get client: [1]

NB A survey by the RIBA in 2014 (Ref RIBA Journal February 2014) revealed that the most common methods of appointing architects were :
Direct appointment 50%
Competitive fee bid or financial tender only 21%
Framework agreement with or without further competition for specific projects 10%
Invited competitive interview (no pre-qualification questionnaire PQQ) 4%
Expression of interest / PQQ only (no design work) 3%
Expression of interest / PQQ followed by competitive interview (no design work) 3%
Expression of interest / PQQ followed by design competition 2%
Invited design competition (no PQQ) 1%
Open design competition 1%
Other 4%

Smaller practices tended to be appointed mostly by direct appointment (61%), whereas this was less common for larger practices (25%). So it’s pretty clear that architect need to be social person. In order to be social there are various book that is best pick : Outliers written by Malcolm Gladwell, Good to Great written by Jim Collins

In forming how to get selected , architect need to show his design work by portfolio, and set of quotation or even if it is based on trust, the quotation could be adjusted but it really depends on chemistry between architect and owner.

Even, Traditionally there are 3 standard ways an architect may charge: [1] as I mean standard, that is to be noted, that some of the contract and circumstance can be varied and modified as nature of the project changes.

1. A percentage of the build cost. This requires that an approximate build cost can be estimated (so that an appropriate percentage can be calculated) and that the scope and nature of the services required from the architect are known.

2. Lump sum fee. This is popular for home owners and small clients as it gives certainty about the total cost at the outset. Lump sum fees are appropriate where the scope of work required is well known when the appointment is made. If the nature of the appointment or of the project varies beyond agreed limits, then the fee may need to be re-negotiated.

3. Hourly rate. This is generally reserved for work where it is difficult to define the scope of services required or the nature of the project when the appointment is made. It is important in this case that fees are capped to a maximum that can be charged without prior agreement and that detailed records of hours worked are kept.

A percentage of build cost is the reasonable and most fair option but it needs the collaboration with the construction industry in best team to put the building in more efficient way and more advanced integration building system. Lump sum fee is picked because of the nature of the project is still unknown, the capability of the consultant and the contractor is unknown. Hourly rate is picked because the trust is small or the work is small. That is why I love to work on site, build on site, work with builder directly forming a relationship, craftmanship, social connection, or economic problem.

Good practice of architect firm was discussed by Bob Miklos, “There is a prevailing understanding of what is appropriate on a percentage basis,” notes Bob Miklos, a partner in Boston’s Design LAB. “We use a percentage … to establish the fee that becomes a fixed fee, to see if we’re in the ballpark.” This can range from 9 to 10 percent for new construction and basic services and consulting to 10 to 12 percent for renovations “in a good year,” Miklos says, while commercial projects ratchet down to 5 to 7 percent. (Renovation projects get higher fees because architects must investigate and document existing conditions that will be preserved, worked around, modified, or added on to.) [2] The standard is much lower in Indonesia while the billing is based on month and non personal cost

There are 2 various type of client :
1. Sympathetic client : this is friend for life who appreciate architecture.
2. Distrustful client : this is the harder part when there is compromise, actually it’s about alchemy process between architect clients.
3. Swing client : architect need to explain, share informations needed about technical and more to the design, also the nature of the project for client’s need.

choosing architect is a very difficult job,because client and architect need to be collaborate, and the expectation is high from the both side to create a beautiful and meaningful project for clients and for life of an architect. It’s worth it.

Peter Wangkar is one of my sympathetic client, who appreciate work of architecture. Here is the project in BSD, it is about a sanctuary of his life, he worked hard for his life, and he would like to have a functional house sited in the beautiful site, facing very nice view. The form is curve and used for framing view.
Peter Wangkar is one of my sympathetic client, who appreciated our work of architecture. Here is the project in BSD, it is about a sanctuary of his life, he worked hard for his life, and he would like to have a functional house sited in the beautiful site, facing very nice view. The form is curve and used for framing view. Our studio is working hard for fruition of this house, by investing time to provide detail, and further study of elevation section and more to detail.

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[1] http://www.designingbuildings.co.uk/wiki/Architect’s_fees
[2] http://www.architectmagazine.com/practice/architectural-fees-whats-your-time-worth_o

Oleh Realrich Sjarief

Founder of RAW Architecture

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