RE: Developers' and Architects' fees
From: Pablo Halpern (
Date: Mon, 23 Oct 1995 11:35:31 -0500
At 09:29 AM 10/4/95 -0500, Jim_Snyder-Grant [at] (Jim 
>Rowena & Cambridge Coho:
>Congratulations on maybe finding a site. Good luck with the next portion of
>roller coaster ride - wherever it may go next. You asked for stories on 
>architect's fees & developer fees....Here's New View's (Acton MA).

Ditto on the congratulations!

>Architect stories:
[ Jim talks about our unfinished contract with Amacher Quinn Associates ]
> ...
>So far, the only two disadvantages of not working under a fixed price contract 
>seem to be that the architects are not very willing to absorb some costs that 
>might be arguably considered to be because of their errors, and we don't
have a 
>firm final costs for our budget. On the other hand, they also do a fair amount 
>of work for free, and the over-all costs are lower than otherwise. They
seem to 
>be sharing about equally in the stress and pressure of the whole process - I 
>only occasionally worry about over-burdening them by our arrangement.

I have another point of view about the disadvantages of not having a
contract with AQA. One of the things I have found frustrating is that AQA
does not set limits well. AQA is not contractually obligated to meet any
deadlines or budget limits. In the absence of a contract, they get paid by
the hour. In particular, when members asked for customizations that cost a
lot of architects' time, AQA was very happy to oblige them, even if it meant
that the design schedule would slip. This was definitely not done
deliberately, but I can't help but feel that their consciousness would have
been a bit different if satisfying a request involved some personal risk (of
not meeting a contractual deadline). There are times when I wished our
architects had said "we can't do that, it would take too long to design,"
either to me or to others. (Peter [Quinn], if you're reading this, don't
take it personally. You know we love you.) I repeat, this was definitely not
deliberate and AQA is as sorry about this as we are. In general, though, I
think it helps a lot if every professional you work with is expected to meet
specific expectations, contractual or not. Then you can track progress and
if someone falls short of expectations, you can make adjustments. You may
need to change expectations or chew someone out or both, but without written
expectations, it's hard to know when things are going wrong.
- Pablo

Pablo Halpern                           phalpern [at]

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