words and our word 


We use a lot of words, but we give our word and that should me something more. Nonetheless, when we give our word it seems we need a lot of words to ensure that we actually give our word.

What a wacky time in our culture and our history.

This is why we have contracts. It is a based on the possibility that the other person is not going to do what they say, or it is a measure put in place hoping the other person will do what they say. If not there’s a price to pay.

In the world of architecture, I find it amazing how many words we have to put in place to bring comfort to both parties in the eventuality that one party doesn’t do what they agreed to do. I’m told there used to be a time when a handshake was a physical symbol of a commitment that one party would keep their word to the other. These were not perfect times as the dark secrets were easily hidden, but I’m told it was a time of honor, a time of integrity. Perhaps everybody did not keep their word with only a handshake, yet that was understood and accepted as a binding means to ensure that person did what they committed to doing. A person’s word meant something. Their word was connected to their name and their name was important.

I found it intriguing, funny and a bit disturbing thinking through the efforts we’ve gone through in negotiations between two parties because of an eventuality that no one wants to happen. I was told by the contractor party that it seems we are creating a prenuptial agreement, or we are focusing too much on a divorce before the wedding has even occurred. My client is concerned, not by the contractor, but by history – history of their friend’s encounters and history of other’s encounters that they read about. It’s a safety net or a perception of safety if nothing else.

Well, in the world of business, things cannot always be so simplistic. The American Institute of Architects has crafted a series of contracts tested by lawyers that know far more than I do. They created words and sentences and paragraphs that bind one party to another legally. They are words.


If you are considering a construction project I highly recommend you have a legitimate contract with your intended contractor. I recommend you even seek legal counsel to ensure that you have a contract, the terms are clear, the payment amount and method is clear, and it is clear what happens if one party breaches that contract.

Far too often I’ve dealt with others who have gotten involved in a construction project and there’s been very little written contract. That generally does not end well. Although I’m not a lawyer I have experience with construction contracts and can speak to the basics of them quite well as I assist my clients in their preparation.

If you are working with an architect, which I recommend, discuss the Owner-Contractor contract with your architect prior to signing with your contractor.

On a fundamental level, don’t be a liar. if you give your word, it still needs to mean something.

read my friends’ positions on words

Jeff Echols – Architect Of The Internet (@Jeff_Echols)
Does anyone hear your words?

Lora Teagarden – L² Design, LLC (@L2DesignLLC)
Visual Words

Eric T. Faulkner – Rock Talk (@wishingrockhome)
Words are Simple — Too Simple

Michele Grace Hottel – Michele Grace Hottel, Architect (@mghottel)

Meghana Joshi – IRA Consultants, LLC (@MeghanaIRA)
Architalks 40: Words

Brian Paletz – The Emerging Architect (@bpaletz)
A pictures worth

Drew Paul Bell – Drew Paul Bell (@DrewPaulBell)
Mindset for Endless Motivation and Discipline #Architalks

Jeffrey Pelletier – Board & Vellum (@boardandvellum)
Use Your Words (Even When You Can’t)

Jim Mehaffey – Yeoman Architect (@jamesmehaffey)
Words Are Important

Mark Stephens – Mark Stephens Architects (@architectmark)

Leah Alissa Bayer – The Stoytelling LAB (@leahalissa)
Architects Are Storytellers

Anne Lebo – The Treehouse (@anneaganlebo)
Storytelling for Architects


words and our word 

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