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The Architecture Thread

bourbonbasted

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The stats I posted were the first Google result, so true average, and with the vast majority of new construction being spec houses, that's going to heavily weight the numbers in that direction.

I hear you and agree about the pain.

We bought a house with a massive unfinished space, and the contractor we selected came on the architect's recommendation. The quote started out reasonable and in line with what the architect thought, but once he did a more detailed budget, it was up 50%.
I went out and got quotes for all the subs myself, and I found them all in line with what he quoted me, so it was all his management fees and the like. I just moved forward without him, and saved a fortune.

We're getting ready to break ground on a full renovation and struggled with the same GC realities. My wife works in development (and therefore had a decent list of good-to-great GCs whom it would behoove to capture her personal business) and we still found 35-50% overhead as the standard. Luckily one of the better suitors gave us his "friends and family rate," (a flat 25% on top of scope and waived PM fees) but he acted like he was sacrificing his first born to do it.

I understand that construction has gone crazy in the past few years (and my family has benefitted by way of my wife's gig) but the pricing structures are insane, particularly for projects that aren't all that complex (in our case, one sub -- the carpenter -- is doing 50%+ of the scope). If you have the time, patience and wherewithal, I'd highly recommend being your own GC/finding the subs. Of course that might be easier said than done depending on how stringent your municipality is when it comes to permitting, insurance, etc.
 

sugarbutch

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We're getting ready to break ground on a full renovation and struggled with the same GC realities. My wife works in development (and therefore had a decent list of good-to-great GCs whom it would behoove to capture her personal business) and we still found 35-50% overhead as the standard. Luckily one of the better suitors gave us his "friends and family rate," (a flat 25% on top of scope and waived PM fees) but he acted like he was sacrificing his first born to do it.

I understand that construction has gone crazy in the past few years (and my family has benefitted by way of my wife's gig) but the pricing structures are insane, particularly for projects that aren't all that complex (in our case, one sub -- the carpenter -- is doing 50%+ of the scope). If you have the time, patience and wherewithal, I'd highly recommend being your own GC/finding the subs. Of course that might be easier said than done depending on how stringent your municipality is when it comes to permitting, insurance, etc.
I think nearly everyone would make a ****** GC for their own house. Not saying it can't be done, but doing it well is challenging and will likely make you wish you'd paid someone else to do it. Also, finding quality subs who will choose your one-off project over the work offered by a GC who can provide their next job and the one after that will be quite a challenge.
 

venessian

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I think nearly everyone would make a ****** GC for their own house. Not saying it can't be done, but doing it well is challenging and will likely make you wish you'd paid someone else to do it. Also, finding quality subs who will choose your one-off project over the work offered by a GC who can provide their next job and the one after that will be quite a challenge.
+1 to all that.

There are very real risks unless one is at least somewhat experienced, has lots of time to research, is quick to learn, and is a good manager/coordinator. The need to be available, even on-call, will be much more than occasional (and easily scheduled at client convenience) meetings with a GC or an architect doing CA.

The stress of building an own home on lay people, with all the emotions involved, is usually very high. Doing one's own contracting will add to that in almost cases. In the end, whether paying money to the GC or architect CA, or spending one's own time/stress/plus possibly financial if things with subs go south, the client will pay. TINSTAAFL.
 

bdavro23

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I have done project work, change management and process improvement professionally for 15 ish years. I have the experience to scope things out, create project schedules and tie ins, etc. My lender will allow me to act as my own GC for our house build, and I cant imagine a worse idea...

Edit: I would entertain being my own GC for a renovation, but that would be dependent on the size of the project and the complexity of the work. But I'd probably still just hire someone.
 

bourbonbasted

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I think nearly everyone would make a ****** GC for their own house. Not saying it can't be done, but doing it well is challenging and will likely make you wish you'd paid someone else to do it. Also, finding quality subs who will choose your one-off project over the work offered by a GC who can provide their next job and the one after that will be quite a challenge.

I guess I assumed (you know what happens when you assume...) that anyone who'd take on such a project would have the wherewithal and experience to do it. My wife manages multiple teams doing this stuff everyday, so she is more than capable (both in terms of experience and connections) to tackle such a project. Would essentially be just one more project in her portfolio. Even still, to echo the responses, we opted to pay someone to do it. And for the record, she said I wouldn't be able to do anything on the PM side of things, essentially saving me from myself.
 

edinatlanta

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I recently read a newspaper article about a mid-century architect who designed a number of houses in Australia, Iwan Iwanoff - he was particularly prolific in Perth, over on the west coast of Australia.

The article had links to some of his houses, so I thought that I'd post links and some pictures:


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Five or more frangipani trees at the pool? Lmao.
 

sugarbutch

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Journeyman

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This doesn't seem like a great idea - a 97-year-old billionaire offered to give $200 million to the University of California Santa Barbara to build student housing, on the condition that he design the building:


He designed an 11-story, 1.68-million-square-foot structure that can house up to 4,500 students. The proposed design means that 94 percent of of students will not have windows in their rooms.

It's created some disagreement at UCSB, but the university seems determined to move on with it:

The project is utterly detached from its physical setting, McFadden goes on, and has no relationship to UCSB’s “spectacular coastal location.” It is also out of place with the scale and texture of the rest of campus, he said, “an alien world parked at the corner of the campus, not an integrally related extension of it.” Even the rooftop courtyard looks inward and “may as well be on the ground in the desert as on the eleventh floor on the coast of California,” he said.

Here's another article with some details:

 

sugarbutch

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It's hard to turn down that much money *and* student housing. Even if doing so would be justifiable, the headlines would be murder for the school.
 

Mr Stevens

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This doesn't seem like a great idea - a 97-year-old billionaire offered to give $200 million to the University of California Santa Barbara to build student housing, on the condition that he design the building:


He designed an 11-story, 1.68-million-square-foot structure that can house up to 4,500 students. The proposed design means that 94 percent of of students will not have windows in their rooms.

It's created some disagreement at UCSB, but the university seems determined to move on with it:



Here's another article with some details:

Whoa. He's got a dorm named after him at Stanford too, but I doubt he had much to do with the architecture. It's a law student dorm and probably one of the nicest residences on campus.
 

Journeyman

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It's hard to turn down that much money *and* student housing. Even if doing so would be justifiable, the headlines would be murder for the school.

It sounds like a lot - well, $200 million *is* a lot - but the article states the whole dorm project is apparently expected to cost $1.5 billion. If that's the case, then $200 million isn't really a huge amount in the overall scheme of things. I guess the question is whether it's enough to warrant building what sounds like a seriously flawed design.
 

Van Veen

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It's ridiculous and will be remodeled or repurposed in a decade if it's actually built.
 

zalb916

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Whoa. He's got a dorm named after him at Stanford too, but I doubt he had much to do with the architecture. It's a law student dorm and probably one of the nicest residences on campus.

He paid for one at Michigan too. He's an amateur architect and has been involved in the design of all these dorms. I'm not saying that I buy his philosophy on dorm life, but there is some thought to what he's attempting. He said that he's responding to complaints about sharing bedrooms in dorms by creating individual living spaces. He figured that this was possible, if you sacrificed natural light. There are apparently virtual windows to simulate natural light.

Light vs. roommate could be an interesting choice for college kids.
 

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