20 May 2013
Isn’t it funny how certain songs come to mind at odd times? They hold the answers to the mysteries of life.
As I was reading and participating in an online AIA blog where people were debating the role of architects and how we could or should expand our services to a broader market, many things came to mind. Some advocate that municipalities should mandate an architect’s seal on any project requiring a permit. Some advocate that architects should be willing to tailor or limit certain services (namely CA) to clients not wanting those services. Others feel strongly the opposite direction believing it cheapens the profession not to give our full value. I suppose they advocate for turning away those projects. Lastly a few believe a large market lies in speculative housing away from the end user and work directly for the developer. The premise is a huge market awaits our involvement if we are willing to be flexible to provide only those services requested by the client. Again, this is a tailoring or limiting of our traditional role or “full services” approach.
Yeah, it’s too much to unravel in one post.
Did you ever read the fable where the sun and the wind were debating who could get the man to take off his coat first? The wind used force to no avail; the sun used warmth with success.
Despite your position on each of these issues, this famous Cheap Trick song lays it all out for me. Yes I’m an idealist, perhaps just stupid. All of this arguing and we’re getting nowhere…remember that insanity definition? Maybe my point here is a lousy business plan but it speaks to the heart of the matter. We cannot force people to use our services or to use “all” of our services. If we want to vote on the issue, we can respond by accepting or rejecting the work that comes our way. Simple right?
First of all mandating an architect’s services on residential design will simply go over poorly. I understand the life safety issues and I support that notion. I think we can make a larger case to the public that our involvement protects their HSW. But is that all we do? Ah, no.
In the case of residential design just put yourself in the client’s shoes for a moment. Would you want to be required to hire someone for a service when you were not expecting to need them? You don’t really want their services so every dollar you pay for them is already too much. In fact you probably won’t even use the instruments of their service (i.e. drawings) anyway. It’s simply a means to an end (building permit) and it’s just delaying that end. Therefore, you are left angry but you have to pay for something you did not want. The service provider at the other end isn’t motivated because they know their client is begrudging the entire process and won’t show real appreciation when it’s over. This is being an American.
So what is the secret for how we get people to want us? How do we get people to understand that they need us? Yes we would love for them to love us by letting us show our skill, our value, our worth and how we can “teach the world to sing with perfect harmony…” Sorry, I got off track.
I don’t know. I just know that when the sun got the man to take off his coat, the man was happy, the sun was content and the rest of the surrounding community got a sunny day to enjoy. Everybody wins.
What I do know is the live version of this song is waaaaay better than the studio version.
photos are from the Wikimedia Commons (used under the Creative Common License)
14 April 2013
Since we are not “allowed” to discuss fees as architects, I suppose I have to dance around this one carefully. …keep reading
1 November 2012
Should you build a new house or should you just buy an existing house are two very important questions that can be very challenging. …keep reading
28 June 2012
Okay, I promised myself I would leave this alone. But I can’t help myself, so pardon my sarcasm and generalization ahead. …keep reading