Just add water: architecture startups!

Playing telephone…but wanting to hang up.
October 16, 2014, 3:53 pm
Filed under: Startup


One of the unpleasant parts of being an architect is playing “telephone” — that is, relaying information from a client to the contractor, or client to consultant or consultant to contractor.  This is especially difficult when either party is making unreasonable, if not, outright rude, requests/demands.  The diplomacy required to make translations into more polite requests can be exhausting.  The need to maintain good working relationships with all parties is crucial in this business….I’m trying to figure out how to maintain these relationships when you are put into these compromising positions.

I am very close to just carrying a white flag with me at every meeting from now on!   These are skills that you didn’t know were so important to being an architect.


the 24 hour Architect…on call
October 6, 2014, 1:55 am
Filed under: Startup

Lately I’ve been working on a high end residential project and I’m struggling to draw the proper boundaries.  *wince*  I have a residential client who believes all conference calls, site visits, correspondences etc should be on the weekends and nights….late nights. All of our meetings are after his office hours (we’re not talking 9-5….more like 9pm), never mind that my work hours are the same as his (ie: during the daytime).

I recognize (within reason) that this is part and parcel for residential projects — clients often have full time jobs and don’t have time to deal with their home renos, but this has been exceptional.  On average, this client sends about 15-20 emails over the weekend with insanely detailed, bullet pointed emails that rival Tolstoy’s War and Peace.  When I don’t respond within a few hours, I typically get follow-up emails.   If I don’t respond at all over the weekend, he proceeds to send articles that essentially answer his questions.  Turns out he has more time than I do to research the different manufacturers of epoxy grout as a hobby.

(take a deep breath) Architecture is certainly a service based industry.  But what are the limits?  At what point are these 24 hour “on call Architect” expectations so far from reality?  How do you safe guard yourself (contractually speaking) when you had no idea that the level of discussion and administration/client management would be this excessive?  There’s this dual fear of 1) not getting a referral project out of this project and 2) actually getting a referral with a client who’s like him(!)