What are you paying for?
It's been a little while since we posted our last blog entry, but with us now firmly in the second half of 2019 and lots of new projects taken on in the practice with a variety of different clients, we wanted to share some feedback received and the general feelings of our clients in regards to the architectural industry, perticulary tin regards to the smaller scale projects with values of £200,000 and below.
As a practice from the offset, we made the decision that we would engrain the type of ethos and customer service we wanted to offer to every single one of our clients from the very start to the overall completion of our projects. Coming from a background working for much larger architectural practices in the city and on huge schemes, the level of detail and input required is paramount to a projects success. But this shouldn't just be the case for large scale projects, and we recognised that these skills and routine day to day working relationships could be scaled into a manageable approach for our business especially at the level we currently are and the size of projects we work on.
You may of read one of our earlier blog posts which broke down the way in which we interpret the RIBA stages of work in relation to our project structure and a way of better explaining this to the client whom likely would not be aware of this. This post somewhat relates to that but from a financial stand point. We will submit project fee proposals based around the RIBA stages as a way of phasing payment in relation to works completed but also to break down our fees accordingly to be open an honest with the client. With this we include a payment to cover stages 5-7 which mainly entail whilst the project is being built and then final handover. Now with that in mind, we have on occasion been asked by our clients, why do I need to pay for that "does the builder not take care of that part" or "I'm just looking for a set of drawings only". From our market research and time on site with contractors and clients, some of which has been as a result of obtaining work from clients whom were unhappy with previous companies for instance, we have found that the feedback on our continued involvement throughout the build is paramount to ensuring the build running smoothly and avoiding costly delays but also giving the client the support they require to a time which can be hugely disruptive in their lives.
What is most interesting are the comments we receive from contractors, many of which are our first time working with them. It seems at this scale of project many companies have the approach of submitting a set of drawings and leaving it at stage 3 or 4, and have little or no further involvement from that point onwards, leaving the majority of the decision making upto the client or the builder, and some crucial questions unanswered. This sis certainly not a post to bring other companies process into dispute. If they have advised the client and provided a fee to only cover the design stages then their is no wrong doing. What we always want to emphasize to our clients though is the importance our role can be during the construction process and the fact that we want to be able to help with those daunting enquiries should they arise.
So the overriding question for this post is 'What are you paying for' and from our point of view, especially in respects to our business model and approach, you are firstly paying for our in depth design knowledge and advice on the best approach in regards to planning and construction, but you are also paying for our continued support and involvement to ensure you are delivered by the contractor what has been designed but also to support the contractor throughout the build process to ensure they are comfortable with the reasoning behind the construction methods, and to communicate with us to make sure the client is happy. We would love to hear your thoughts on the this, from past experience in similar circumstances or even if you are considering a project and want to discuss this post in a little bit more detail. We a company that is happy to share knowledge and are very open to new discussions with fresh insights into the industry.