Re: Standardization
From: Denise Cote' (
Date: Sun, 19 Jan 1997 12:01:09 -0600
Heather Sullivan-Catlin wrote:

>   3) Recently we have been doing some preliminary design workshops
>with an architect.  During one of these workshops the issue of
>standardization came up.  This architect along with an architect-group member
>said that you don't necessarily save money by standardizing.  Many of us
>were surprised to hear this as much of the cohousing literature and
>common wisdom recommends standardization for cost effectiveness.  Anyone
>care to comment?
I agree with your architect.  While you certainly save money by 
purchasing some items in larger quantities, you will spend far more time, 
energy, and money trying to get a diverse group to agree on a few 
standardized floor plans and fixtures.  How much is your time worth?  How 
much do you have to pay your architects and engineers to facilitate this 
lengthy process, and to revise the plans again and again?  How will you 
accommodate differences from site to site?  How much is it worth to you 
to get what you want instead of compromising?  How much will you spend on 
customizing and remodeling when you find that the standard plan doesn't 
meet your needs?

Even if each unit is unique, you can still take advantage of economies of 
scale.  If all buildings use the same construction method (eg., all adobe 
or all strawbale), you will get discounts on the materials based on the 
quantity, regardless of how you use them.  Perhaps you can all easily 
agree on one brand of windows and doors, etc.  When it comes to 
finishing, individuals with similar tastes can get together and negotiate 
deals for materials and labor. 

Don't be afraid that your community will look like a mish-mash if all the 
units are different.  Your architects should be able to create a 
"language" for your site that is composed of certain common elements, 
such as roof pitches, shapes, trim, and details, along with landscaping 
to tie everything together.  They can help you design a villagescape that 
is both harmonious and delightfully diverse.

Geneva Community
Boulder/Lyons, Colorado

Denise Cote'
Boulder, Colorado
denise [at]

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