|Re: private unit design||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: sharon j emley (shardon5juno.com)|
|Date: Mon, 14 Feb 2000 09:16:10 -0700 (MST)|
Hi, I would largely agree with Chris on the benefit of having the units designed independently of the members, except for the very general guidelines. And this is coming from someone who was very active on the Design Committee. In my experience at Sonora Cohousing our involvement in the design was largely a sham anyways. Why this was is quite complicated, but was largely because our architect was surprised and upset that our design committee was willing to disagree with him and reacted by refusing to do any work until we gave up. Alternately, he would also appear to agree to incorporate certain details but then leave them out leaving us to discover them after the plans were already completed. At this point we would be told by the developer's team that we couldn't correct them now since the architect would go walk-about on us again and delay the project even more than the year that it is already behind. In addition, the typical group is helpless when the architect and the builder start disagreeing over what the different design options will cost. Yet the group is stuck with the increased cost when they have chosen to believe the wrong "expert". For these reasons I say stay away from the design process, yet that does not insure that you will not be screwed anyways. To try to protect yourselves from ballooning budgets you must give some very firm guidelines to the design team including prices and square footages and materials and deadlines. Perhaps the best solution is to try to use plans from completed cohousing projects, either literally or as a close template. I know that there may be payments to be made to the original architect, but these will be lower in actual cost as well as indirect costs (speeding up the timeline and reducing the drawn out uncertainty and conflict of the normal design process) than making all new plans. These recycled plans can be shown to potential builders for the purposes of getting good bid estimates based on local conditions. Most builders have architects or draftsmen on staff who can do some modifications to suit local conditions or preferences of the local group. Maybe a first step is to have a national library of cohousing project plans along with documentation of the goals achieved as defined by the group, e.g. energy efficiency, etc. >From these, a new group could probably narrow down their design parameters very significantly. This has to be a part of a super stream-lined approach to cohousing. As someone has already said on this topic, it is difficult to sell most of the slots in the project without some pretty good idea of the final cost and design but it is impossible to get a guarantee of the price of even a final design more than a few months prior to a definite date for the start of construction. So you either need a process where you can commit to beginnig construction with a smaller percentage of committed members or where you commit to a design with a budget 25% or more below what the group wants knowing that when you are ready to build in perhaps another year, your inexpensive design may have jumped up that much. Maybe a first step is to have a national library of cohousing project plans along with documentation of the goals achieved as defined by the group, e.g. energy efficiency, etc. >From these, a new group could probably narrow down their design parameters very significantly. I know that there are good architects and there are architects who are happy to work with a group on an honest basis, but there probably aren't many that are both, and I expect that they are difficult to identify. The enormous waste of time, money, group energy and mental health when you don't have one of them is incalculable. Don Arkin, Sonora Cohousing
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