From our many long term clients, we often receive phone calls that start with “We have an idea for a project and want your advice”. This is certainly the best statement because we can provide insight from the very beginning of renovations or new constructions and help our clients avoid costly mistakes.
Five areas that we can help with from the very beginning:
1. Commercial Lease Review:
No we’re not lawyers, but we do understand the construction requirements to customize a space. Often the responsibility (and cost) for a renovation is incorporated into a lease. We review leases on behalf of our clients to clarify construction extent and costs. For example, if the lease work letter includes say… 120 lineal feet of new walls and four doors, but the space plan (if even complete prior to lease preparation) requires 200 lineal feet of wall and 16 doors, this is a costly discrepancy much more easily rectified during a lease negotiation, rather than as a surprise (ouch!) later. Of course an attorney is still absolutely necessary for the legal review of a commercial lease but we provide crucial construction expertise.
Is your office space too noisy? Before ordering extra pillows to cushion the sound, call your architect. There are many site specific, cost effective, and simple solutions that may remediate harsh sound reverberation, sound transfer between offices or open office clatter. Depending on the configuration of the spaces, possible solutions may be sound panels, introduction of white noise, or extending the top of walls between offices.
3. Office Furniture:
Does your business have a systematic plan for furniture selection, purchase and replacement? No?… you’re not alone. Rather than piecemeal replacement or inexpensive selections, we help our clients develop a plan with our design expertise and relationships with furniture professionals.
Furniture selection and design should ideally support and enhance the business brand. Quality, finish, size and configuration can be developed from the earliest stages of a project. With furniture standards and systems in place, it’s easily scalable for the future.
4. ADA Compliance:
The American Disabilities Act is legislation which prohibits discrimination against individuals with physical disabilities. ADA provides Standards for Accessible Design. But how is it implemented when in conjunction with the building code, Barrier Free Code, ANSI A117.1 – 2003? When renovating a commercial space, for example, do all the restrooms need to be torn out or can they be modified to comply with the ADA? How does the ADA interface with local codes? We work with our clients from the very beginning to interpret the ADA to find cost effective, reasonable solutions.
5. Site Master Planning
Recently we were hired to design a building on a predetermined footprint. Unfortunately the building footprint was established only as the leftover space after the site drainage, parking, and site circulation were established by professionals only focused on the site planning aspect of the project.
Ideally we would be brought in at the beginning; as the architect we can provide a holistic view of all of our clients’ needs and priorities including site, phasing, building operation, and of course cost.
We have long term relationships with many of our corporate and commercial clients, some for over twenty five years. As we develop a broad understanding of our clients complex needs, we are able to act as a consultant on both large and small issues. Our clients often feel this a great value.
For new clients, we conduct an extensive interview and visioning process so that we can “get to know” them.
So the best question from our clients is “Can I have your advice on an idea?”