Answers to some frequently asked questions

If you haven’t worked with an architect before, these answers should help with your most pressing questions.

Why should I hire an architect and what will they do for my project?

Architects are educated in all facets of design and construction. They are the middleman between your wants and needs and the actual construction at your building site. They are the communicators in the language of construction.

Prior to actual construction, architects see and coordinate the big picture when it comes to your project. We help you explore what appeals to you aesthetically and what you require functionally. We coordinate design, engineering and construction professionals to focus on your specific project; we sort through the maze of building codes, energy, fire, plumbing, and electrical regulations and planning and zoning requirements; we provide design leadership so that your project is built the way you want it – comfortable, attractive, impressive, functional and, of course, efficient.

At what point in my project should I involve an architect?

As soon as you decide you want to begin planning your project, you should lean heavily on the advice of a professional who has previous experience in your project type and who can advise on a wide range of important components before critical decisions are made. Architects provide important pre-design services including site evaluation, and can help you explore options you may not have considered. We are customarily hired as partners in the site selection and are advisors in the investment/expense decisions so critical to your project success. Involving an architect early in the process can help avoid costly missteps, and greatly increase the likelihood of your improved lifestyle and satisfaction with the project.

Why should Jeff Abrams be a leading candidate for my project?

With many years of experience in the residential realm, we have worked in most municipalities up and down the front range, the mountains and outside the state of Colorado. Our years of experience designing custom luxury homes, additions, renovations, and remodels, as well as multi-family projects and builder products gives us experience with many client types and the breadth of design knowledge to understand and interpret your particular needs. We are familiar with the products and materials constantly coming on line and have pioneering involvement with the passive solar homes movement. We keep up with the building codes as much as possible and know how to avoid violations. We are constantly attending seminars, conferences and continuing education programs in our field.

Do architects add cost to a project?

Hiring an architect can actually save you money in many ways.
While it’s true that architects’ fees may seem like an additional project cost, your architect will work alongside you, as a partner, monitoring your budget and negotiating to get the best materials and workmanship at a good price. We do get discounts, and work hand-in-hand with contractors, builders, interior designers and landscape experts.

An architect’s design can reduce energy and maintenance costs, and provide an efficient layout so that you don’t overbuild what you really need. The clever architect can find ways to insure that your building works for you and provides energy and cost efficiency. We are often called upon to creatively turn a difficult lot into a successful building site. As Architects spend time planning and fully developing your ideas to avoid changes once construction is underway.

How do architects get paid?

It is imperative that the parties are able to define a realistic scope of work to reach a fair and equitable payment plan; yet, often, a project may need to start off on an hourly basis until planning, zoning, and design parameters are established.

Hourly, stipulated sum and square footage compensation are most common for residential projects once the scope is nailed down.

What‘s the owner’s role in the design process?

Your architect will depend on you to communicate about your design preferences, functional requirements, and budget.

To begin the process, we will require several documents to define existing conditions of the site and/or existing improvements and to assist with creating a scope definition. These may include a Lot survey with topographical information, an Improvement Location Certificate, a Deed, a hydrological report and geotechnical information, and a “program” of your very specific wants and needs. The permitting authority may also require further information.

Your timely response to questions and design submissions will help keep the project on track. It is also important for you to raise any concerns you have as the project proceeds, so they can be addressed in the earliest stages.

Working in close partnership with your architect, will help achieve a successful outcome for your project.