This is a common refrain in the construction industry. An ironic related issue is that potential clients take months (sometimes years) deciding whether or not to move ahead with a project. Once they do decide, however, they want it done as fast as possible. During the recession architects everywhere were telling potential clients that the time was right to do their project—architectural firms were hungry for business, offering good deals and turning projects around very quickly. Contractors were underbidding each other, suppliers were shipping orders promptly, and Planning and Building Departments had little or no backlog to slow down the permitting process. Still, over and over we heard that clients were not yet ready to start. Sometimes this was due to difficulty obtaining financing, but sometimes it was just a lack of confidence about the economy.
The good news is that the economy is roaring back to pre-recession highs, people are back to work and many have money to invest in their home or business. The bad news is that some folks missed that window of opportunity for low construction prices and fast-tracked projects. Now there are a lot of projects competing for attention. In fact, during the recession many communities reduced the size of their Planning and Building Departments, so now those departments are overworked and understaffed.
In addition to a bustling economy, there are other reasons that an architectural project can take longer than you might expect.
Architecture is a very methodical and diligent process, even for the smallest job. We need to follow a series of steps. If you’d like to find out more about the process you can go to our website at www.kastropgroup.com and click on the “Design Process” tab. That page contains a brief summary, as well as a link to a free downloadable e-booklet that is called “Architectural Projects: A Step-by-Step Guide” that will be very helpful to anyone thinking of embarking on their first remodeling or new construction project. The information is presented in a simple format that is generally applicable to both residential and non-residential projects.
In order to keep client fees as low as possible, we schedule your project to be interwoven, in an efficient manner, with all the other projects that we have going on in our office. We try to create a workflow that makes the most sense for our staff. In our office we have a weekly team meeting to go over each project and determine what needs to get done that week.
If a client has a “rush” project that requires setting aside other projects in order to complete a particular job on an unusually tight schedule, then that client will typically pay a premium rate for their work to be completed more quickly.
Each project is unique. Even for a small project there are dozens of questions that need to be answered in order to complete the construction documents. Sometimes those questions are for the client, but we also contact the permitting agencies (e.g., Planning, Health, Fire departments, etc.), engineer(s), contractors, sometimes product manufacturers, and so on. Every time that we contact someone there tends to be a small turnaround time while that person researches and provides a response. The instantaneous communication world that we live in doesn’t always apply to architecture. A text message or a voicemail message might not provide a thorough enough reply. So, we build that turnaround time into the project schedule and we expect those slight delays while we gather the information we need to do a good job for you.
We will proceed with all due haste, but we do not want to sacrifice quality. If you want it yesterday, please call your architect last year!
— Lorianna Kastrop Vice President, The Kastrop Group, Inc. Architects