Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the difference between an architect and a designer?
    The title "architect" may only be used by those licensed by the State to practice architecture. The license is granted only after a long period of study, practical experience and testing.
    There is no licensing procedure in Washington State for a building designer beyond obtaining a business license. A building designer may be an experienced building professional, or an individual with minimal training.
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  • Why are you both?
    I use the additional title "designer" to attract customers who might otherwise be hesitant to approach an architect.
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  • What does an architect do?
    An architect is trained to work with you in taking your project from the initial concept to final completion of the work on site. This can involve visiting the site, working with you to develop a list of requirements, preparing preliminary designs, and developing the approved design into drawings suitable for bid, permit application, and construction. An architect may also prepare a book of written specifications describing the quality of labor and materials required on the project. Using these documents, the architect can help you negotiate with selected contractors, and advise on the selection of a bid. Once a contractor has been chosen and a contract signed, the architect can work with you and the contractor to ensure that the building is constructed in accordance with the contract documents.
  • The architect can also assist in providing services connected with land use issues, such as rezoning, variances, and conditional use permits.
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  • Do you do all of this?
    Most of my clients only require that I prepare the construction documents, that is, the working drawings, and perhaps some written specifications. I do sometimes, however, provide on-site contract administration for selected clients. I frequently also include land use matters as part of my design services.
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  • What does a building designer do?
    The services provided by a Building Designer will vary dependent upon training and experience. Most designers do not take their services beyond preparing construction drawings.
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  • What is RIBA and NCARB?
    The letters RIBA indicate that I am a member of the Royal Institute of British Architects. I did my training in England, and have belonged to the RIBA since I first became a registered architect. NCARB signifies that I am also certified by the National Council of Architects Registration Boards based in Washington, DC.
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  • Why not AIA?
    I used to belong to the American Institute of Architects. It is an excellent organization, but I found that I was unable to avail myself sufficiently of its benefits to justify the cost of membership.
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  • How long have you been doing this?
    I received my first architectural license in 1967. I actually started working as a junior assistant in an architect's office in 1958.
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  • Do you design anything else besides houses?
    Like most architects, I am interested in designing anything that my talents will allow. Most of my work is residential, but over the years I have designed projects as small as an information booth, and as large as a shopping mall. I still do smaller commercial buildings.
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  • Do you do remodels?
    Additions and remodels, residential and commercial, form a significant part of my work.
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  • Are you familiar with solar design, energy efficiency, and "green" building?
    I have been particularly conscious of energy efficiency in my designs since commencing work in the USA. I am familiar with, and have employed, many “beyond energy code” construction techniques.
  • Solar energy has many aspects.  I have designed a number of “passive” solar homes over the years, and am now considering “active” solar in my projects as the technology becomes more available.
  • Several years ago, I chaired the committee that helped develop the Built Green program, managed by the Home Builders Association of Kitsap County.  It is very gratifying to see this program now getting the public acceptance that we had anticipated.
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  • How soon can you start?
    This will depend upon my current schedule and the urgency of the project. Since I work by myself, it is sometimes not possible to meet the scheduling needs of potential clients.
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  • How do you charge?
    My charges vary dependent upon the nature of a project. New homes are generally priced by the square foot, remodels and commercial project fees are based upon my estimate of time involved in the project. Consulting work is generally charged hourly. I will also bill any type of project on an hourly basis if this method is preferred.
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  • What is your hourly rate?
    Currently, my hourly rate is $95 for residential work, and $100 for commercial projects. I have a special reduced residential rate for licensed building contractors.
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  • How do I pay?
    For most projects I take a retainer upon the signing of the contract. I work off the retainer, then bill progressively based upon time expended. The final billing is the balance of the contract amount. For a one time consultation, I require payment at the time of my visit/service.
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  • Do I have to sign a contract?
    I require a signed agreement for all work except an on-site consultation. The scope of this document varies with the complexity of the project.
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  • Do you give a free consultation?
    Consultations in my office are without charge for the first half hour. This gives me the opportunity to evaluate whether a client will benefit from my services.
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  • I recently purchased a house that you designed some years ago. Do you still have the drawings?
    I believe that I have the original drawings of all houses that I have drawn since 1976. If you can provide the job number, or the name of the original client, I should be able to locate the drawings fairly quickly. Without that information, tracking them down can take a little longer.
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  • I really like a house you drew for my friend. Can I use their drawings to build the house again for myself?
    Copyright law states that the rights to the design of a building rest with the designer. Plans should not be reused, or even adapted, without the consent of the designer. It is usual for a charge to be made when plans are reused in this way. I would also note that, even though the plan belongs to me, I seek the consent of my original client before selling plans to a house that was created for them and in which they are still living.
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  • Will you come out to my house/property and give your opinion on my ideas?
    Early discussion of your thoughts can save a great deal of time and effort. I will be pleased to visit your property and discuss the pro's and con's of what you have in mind. I do, however, charge a consulting fee for this service.
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  • What kind of consulting will you undertake?
    I am prepared to consider providing assistance in any area that is covered by my particular knowledge and experience. This generally relates to construction and land use issues. If I feel unable to provide the service you need, I can often refer you to others more qualified to answer your questions.
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  • Will you work from a design that I have found on the internet, or in a plan book, that I would like to modify?
    Copyright laws protect the design of a building in much the same way that they protect an artist who has composed a piece of music. Copying, or even modifying, a design prepared by others without due compensation, would be contrary to these laws. I can only work from such a plan if a copyright release is obtained from the original designer. A release will usually require purchasing the plan.
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  • I have a construction problem. Will you help me resolve it?
    Where my expertise will be of benefit, I am pleased to assist customers in solving construction related difficulties. I would need to consider the merits of the situation before becoming involved, and might decide that a particular issue is better handled by others. Why not call me so that we can discuss how I might help.
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  • Do you charge for travel and administrative time? Mileage, copying, telephone?
    I charge for all time expended to the benefit of my clients. This would include travel time and the day to day administration necessary to ensure the smooth running of the project. I do not charge separately for mileage, copying, or telephone calls unless a project makes unusually heavy demands in these areas.
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