Is an Architect Needed?
- A registered architect is required by state law to design and supervise construction of any public building. This applies to any significant modifications or construction. If you need a construction permit or any structural changes are involved, you probably need an architect.
- Determine what you want them to do.
- Determine the chain-of-command and who will be authorized to serve as contact person to the architect.
Hiring an Architect
- Hire someone who has experience with public libraries, preferably in Kentucky.
- Library construction is a specialized process; you don't want to have to train your architect in library construction.
- Hire an architect that is a good fit with your library regarding architectural goals, temperament, and management style.
- You are not required to bid for an architect.
- You can hire directly.
- You can hire using an interview process.
- Compile a list of candidates based on previous work, etc.
- Invite candidates to interview and request the following items:
- Completed and ongoing projects;
- Size of firm, areas of expertise, number of staff;
- Other requested information.
- Check references.
- Fees can range from ± 12% for a small outbuilding to ± 6 % for a very large library.
- Fees should be large enough to keep the architect interested in getting the job done right.
Standard AIA (American Institute of Architects) Contracts as Amended by KDLA
- Use current versions which make the architect, not the contractor, responsible for the code compliance of the design.
- Determine how often the architect will visit the site.
- Consult with your lawyer before signing the contract.
Working with Designers
- The architect works for the library – not the reverse.
- Nurture mutual respect.
- Be respectful of their knowledge and experience.
- Don't forget that you have a lot of expertise with how libraries operate.
- Be respectful of the architect's time.
- Architects are usually working on more than one project at a time.
- Expect to get the help and answers you need, but remember they have a lot going on.
- Problems will occur.
- A building project is a huge undertaking and something unforeseen will happen.
- Work for and expect the resolution of problems.
- The solution for some problems may require extra funds.
- Chris' cup of coffee principle: Architects, consultants, and contractors like to build things. A cup of coffee and a reasonable attitude will do a lot to keep things moving smoothly.
- Focus on function.
- It's easy for boards to focus on colors, finishes, etc.
- This is natural as it may be the construction process with which many people are most familiar, but what matters most is how the building functions as a library.
An Architect Should Provide
- Assistance in planning.
- Assistance in defining the scope of the project.
- A paper trail documenting design, bidding, work completed, changes, warranties, etc.
- A design that will enable the owner to offer needed services and programs throughout the life of the building.
- Advice regarding the selection of materials and systems that are appropriate to the client’s needs.
- Drawings and specifications that will enable meaningful bidding and set minimum standards of quality for the project.
- Supervision of the bidding.
- Site visits to supervise the work and confirm that it is being done correctly and in conformance with specifications.
- These usually occur once every week or two although you can pay for more.
- The client only approves payments to the contractor after the architect has verified the completion and adequacy of the work.
- Supervision of code compliance.
- As-built drawings and specifications which are invaluable for repairs or remodeling.
- Compilation of a punch list.
- Assistance in making sure the client receives protection of manufacturer’s warranties and contractor’s guarantees.
The Owner Should Provide
- A single point of contact.
- The architect should have one official contact person who represents the board. This is usually the library director.
- All questions, suggestions, changes, etc. go to architect, not the contractor.
- Don't micromanage. You need to trust the architect and other professionals you've hired.
- Good communications and team work amongst owner, architects/consultants, and the contractor.
- Honest input from very beginning.
- Modifications are harder to include as the project moves into the advanced stages.
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