Re: Value of Design Consultants?
From: TomMOENCH (
Date: Fri, 25 Oct 1996 19:15:35 -0500
Denise wrote <Take the time and energy (think of it as community-building) 
and do what you can as a group, and then hire someone--preferably from 
within the group if you have a reliable member with the necessary 
skills--to implement your plan.    Professional developers, consultants, 
architects, lawyers, or whoever won't hesitate to tell you what they 
think you should do, but you'll be happier with the results of a plan 
that combines your specific needs with the professional's expertise.>  

Good advice. One caveat, if you are going to hire within make sure your hired
gun is "reliable and has the necessary skills" as Denise suggests or you may
run into the nightmare Winslow did. We hired from within and  thought we
hired the necessary skills (what did we know being non-developers of
multi-family cooperative housing?). We did not set up a professional review
(as that member-architect resisted, that told us something right there!) and
then it was too late. By the time we realized our architect team was unable
to deliver we were well into the process. Working up to and firing them
produced  a schism in the group and cost us mucho $$$ to reconcile the
contract. It is far far easier to terminate an outside professional than
address a "cherished" member of the group as an inadequate professional. 

Oh yes, and don't a build big, high ceiling, baronial hall type common house
or you will live with a "noise" problem that is unnecessary. Yes, cohousers
seem to love these Monuments to High Frequencies but listen to
architect-member Mary Krause and make your common house more like a large,
intimate living room.  Then you won't be spending the time, energy and money
we are going to spend to retrofit ours. G'day.

Winslow Cohousing

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