Re: Hiring an Architect
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Mon, 4 Nov 2002 07:27:01 -0700 (MST)
On 04/11/2002 8:36 AM, "Laura Fitch, A.I.A." <lfitch [at]> wrote:

> I am very confused about why the message below says "10 reasons why you
> want to hire and experienced DEVELOPER", but then lists everything wrong
> about the ARCHITECT on a particular job.

Because a developer has more experience with the whole array of
professionals needed to get a  project built. Architects and lawyers, and
builders, and contractors.

You can certainly get a bad developer but at least the developer has overall
responsibility for all the other people required to put a $7 million real
estate project together. And the other professionals will be anxious to
please a developer who will be bringing them work in the future. A
contractor does not want to piss off an active developer.

Very few of us have any knowledge of how complicated building is and how
much has to be specified in a contract in order to get the job done
properly. Most of us think that if you pay $70,000 to an architect (or
builder or electrical engineer, etc.) they must know how to do their job.

It is incredibly bewildering to us how an architect or engineer or lawyer
can fail to take responsibility for the results of their work, but they do.
Most people who are trying to form cohousing groups have no experience in
real estate development. They think you hire an architect and the project
gets built. My example was showing that the architect is only one little
piece of the project. All the things that can go wrong with that piece, can
go wrong with all the other pieces.

Groups need to hire experienced developers or project managers whose
references they can check with people who are known to them. Gilda Iriarti
who used to work for The Cohousing Company and is now (I think) in  Miami
working in real estate, had very good advice on this -- ask your bank. Build
a good relationship with your banker from the get go. The bank knows who
they trust to get a project built on time and within budget.

Yes, there are good people out there and certainly we have an array of
cohousing professionals who are excellent but not all of them are available
in all parts of the country (or world) so some groups will be "on their own"
and they need to see bad examples in order to understand what it takes to
put a successful project together.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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