RE: Standardization - OOPS!
From: John Major (
Date: Mon, 20 Jan 1997 13:16:58 -0600
>> This architect along with an architect-group member
>>said that you don't necessarily save money by standardizing.

And I replied:
>We got the same advice from Chuck and Katy, and like nearly
>everything they said, we took it for gospel, then interpreted it as we

Sorry, folks - I misspoke here in my earlier message, and some of you
must be scratching your heads in puzzlement - when I said  "We got the
same advice..." I refer to the advice ("be sure to standardize as much as
possible!") that Heather refers to *earlier* in her message, not the advice
in the piece I quoted. That is, her group was advised to standardize, the
architects above disagreed, and my experience leads me to disagree
with *them* - on the contrary,  thoughtfully standardized designs will be
a big help in containing costs in CoHo, which continue to be a problem for
everyone, I think I can say.

Clear As Mud?  Sorry 'bout the ham-fisted emailing....

And since I'm back on the topic, I thought I should reply to the post from
Denise from Geneva, since it directly contradicts my posting (must be
great for newbies to watch this! "Who we s'posed to believe?" Just more
CoHo diversity, I imagine   ;-)

>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.  

In our case, our design work was expended during the period of
working on the zoning issues, which took much longer than we
expected (surprise!), so we didn't miss the time *too* much - some would
certainly disagree with me on that  ;-). Hey, I'm like Joani, I actually
*enjoy* most of our meetings!

>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

Our architects, bless 'em, are working for a flat fee, and we asked them
up front to participate in our programming work, and that was hugely
helpful. We hired the Cohousing Company for our site and Common
House programming, and did the Unit programming on our own, using
their techniques. This worked out well. The architects have a strong
incentive to keep their revisions to a minimum, and they listened *very*
carefully to us during the programming.

Maybe we got lucky, and maybe we have less diverse needs than other
groups - hard to say. We certainly have a wide range of incomes and
ages... I'd just be very careful telling yourself that you don't need to work
at standardizing. Talk to some pros in affordable housing...

Finally, I should say that it has been helpful for us here in UT, as we
head into the final rush of development effort - "sticks and bricks", as the
pros say - to remind ourselves of a CoHo principle that many on this list
have emphasized. We are not building our "Dream Homes", but a "Dream
Community". All the vaulted ceilings and wood flooring are worth Squat if
you haven't built your sense of the common at the same time. So maybe
all the effort programming the stuff pays off indirectly. Don't  let real
estate development get in the way of the reason for going through all this
trouble in the first place...

John Major
Wasatch Cohousing
...where we are really feeling like real estate developers these days! But
a good potluck puts it in perspective...
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