Pre-Design as an initial feasibility study

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I often need to spend minimal time – 10 to 20 hours at my hourly rate – to do a simple master planning/feasibility study to explore what can be done to an existing house and if it’s worth it. This process includes measuring existing conditions as much as is needed, photos, a thorough initial client meeting, thinking, sketching, some schematic design, modeling, more thinking, writing lists and generally trying to pare down the simplest solution to the client’s goals. The result is a .pdf file which attempts to get all this down in a clear format which can be given to a builder for feedback and a VERY rough costing on the various parts and options. I have been assured by other architects that I am ridiculously fast at this in terms of total time spent. Projects often don’t progress past this stage as clients realize that it would cost more to achieve what they want than they are able to spend. Or the project gets pared down at this early stage. It is a very useful exercise in saving money by spending some on the architect up front. It seems to be a good graphic way to quickly get a handle on the whole project without committing much in terms of $ from the client or time from me. Here are some examples of three recent projects.

3 Comments

  1. These are nicely done Bob, digital sketches in a very useful format, I can see a competent builder being able to ballpark from these.

  2. Exactly, A builder can look at it and get oriented quickly as to the form and issues. Then they can think about similar projects they may have done for reference.

  3. You are so interesting! I don’t think I’ve read a single thing like
    this before. So nice to discover somebody with a few unique thoughts on this topic.

    Seriously.. thanks for starting this up. This site is one thing that is required
    on the internet, someone with a bit of originality!

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