Who To Call First, An Architect Or A Contractor? Part 2

In part 1 we learned that who to call first, and architect or a contractor, is not as important as getting both on board early. Establishing a solid foundation of communication, trust and predictability.

The tip of the iceberg…

Getting the architect and contractor on board together is only a start. Each will assemble their support crews of sub-contractors and engineers. Again, established relationships bringing trust and communication. Together, from the architect and builder down, this group of professionals will design and build the systems necessary to heat and cool your home, provide water, waste removal, lights and the structural framing.

All-In

The process will include periodic design reviews with you, the architect, the builder and sometimes consulting sub-contractors and engineers. Keeping all issues and concerns out in front, heading off potential mistakes down the road. Mistakes that will cost money.

The alternative…

Of course you can take the traditional approach and call an architect, have him or her design your project over a period of several weeks to several months, then introduce one or more builders to bid on your project. They may or may not know your architect, and they were not  involved in the process. This can lead to delays and more finger pointing than is necessary.

Office life

Or, you could contact a contractor who will design you a project that might need several re-designs due to building code or zoning requirements, delaying the project. Yes, contractors are familiar with building codes but are not their area of expertise, especially if the city building officials require and architect’s stamp.

Both scenarios introduce uncertainties, trust and communication being the two vital components that need to be established early.

Please share any anecdotal experiences, good or bad. Your stories can only be more helpful to those seeking advice.

Photos used with creative commons license.

 

Who To Call First, An Architect Or A Contractor? Part 1

You’ve out grown your home or business and are now asking yourself “who should I hire first, an architect or a builder?”

Architects will say “call me first” and builders will say “Nooo…. call me first”. The truth is, you can’t have one without the other. The sensible approach is to get both on board early in the process and as a team. Who you approach first doesn’t really matter, a good architect will have several builders who they trust and will determine the best fit based on your needs and budget, likewise for a good builder.

A pair

Why both? Because, not unlike anyone else you want it done right the first time. By integrating the architect and builder into your project as a team will ensure an open three way communication, and while each of you still have contractual responsibilities, their will be less confusion and finger pointing as the project progresses. You will bring your needs and budget, the architect will bring ideas and the creative ‘designy’ stuff and the builder will bring the construction know how. Creativity does not matter much if it’s not build-able and the builder doesn’t want to be concerned with building codes and drawings and you don’t want to be bothered with approvals. Of course that doesn’t mean a builder is not creative and an architect cannot install a window and you will not be involved, but each will bring an individual expertise to the project. A trusting friendly relationship will ensure the necessary balance resulting in a product that is practical, beautiful and most importantly meets your needs and budget.

Similar to the design build process in which a single prime contract is administered, this approach will allow a bit more freedom to choose by contracting with the architect and builder separately while benefiting from an established professional relationship. Contrary to what you may have heard, architects and builders do have your interests as their priority, and I’m sure you’ve heard stories of kickbacks and conflicts of interest, so have I. But only stories. In 18yrs have never been offered a finders fee, nor have I known anyone to take one or offer one. A bad reputation is the best way to go out of business. So relax and know that we (architects and builders) have your back, together.

Please share any anecdotal experiences, good or bad. Your stories can only be more helpful to those seeking advice.

Photo used with creative commons license

&nbsp

How To Find A Reputable Contractor In One Simple Step

Step 1: Listen to your architect! Seriously!

 …and if you don’t have one, find one and ask for a recommendation.

 

I recently did some permit drawings for a friend who is also a client. I also recommended a couple contractors that I trust, but he decided to go with someone else to save a few dollars. I don’t blame him, who doesn’t want save money, right? It’s his project therefor his choice.

Four weeks later his house is partially demolished and has not seen his contractor in three. We have both made several attempts to make contact but to no avail. As it currently stands my friend is out $5000 and is in contact with one of the contractors I originally recommended.

Doctor Who: Trust me by MikaMilaCat

So, to find a reputable contractor in one easy step? Listen to your architect! Other than you there will be no one else more passionate about the outcome of your project. He or she has also invested a great deal of time and energy into building a trusting relationship with several contractors and can fit you with one that best fits your needs.

If your project is small and does not require an architect, find one in your area and ask for a recommendation. They will be happy to help you. I would.

Image used with creative commons license

 

Modern vs Contemporary: What’s the Difference?

Contemporary will be much easier so I’ll do that first, and I believe I can do it in three or less sentences. Contemporary is not an architectural style as much as it is a portrayal of what is happening or needed today; an exploration of, or expression of an idea that defines a need. Such as a shoe that has an unusually long toe to provide the allusion of height. The shoes are still modern, but the feature was contemporary of the early 2000′s.  You with me?

Style

But to truly understand where the difference lies between modern and contemporary, we’ll need to understand style. My trusty dictionary app lists 16 noun definitions, 4 verb and 2 idioms. So I’d say it’s open to interpretation… here’s mine.

style: noun \ˈstī(-ə)l\: a rule or custom of typology in the matters as they relate to the needs of a society or civilization.

 

Some say style is born, experiences adolescence, matures and then dies, but  modern architecture may not have been born, may or may not be dead and might still be maturing. Unless of course your name is Le Corbusier. Huh? Ok, to better clarify modern vs contemporary maybe we need a brief history on where and how modern architecture evolved.

Violette-le-duc

Architects of the late 18th century struggled with a style that was rooted in the classical orders and no longer served the social, economic and technological needs of the people who were about to move into the machine age. Then along came Violett-le-Duc in the following century, whose writings and teachings began to address the functional needs of this emerging modern society. It was his theories that excavated the trenches for the foundation that was to be poured by the modernist pioneers to follow. Some of these guys were Victor Horta, Adolf Loos and Antonio Gaudi (there are more but I need to keep this short).

Corb-Mies-Gropius

Le Corbusier, Walter Gropius, Mies van der Rhoe

As the timeline moved through the 19th and into the 20th the machine age was in full throttle and the new materials it brought were becoming cheaper and cheaper. The result of a new concept called mass production. But the question still remained, what does this new modern style of architecture look like? While architects such as Louis Sullivan, Gerrit Rietveld, Frank Lloyd Wright, Oscar Neimeyer, et.al. offered their contributions, it was the work of Le Corbusier and then Mies van der Rohe and Walter Gropius who were able to build upon Violett-le-Duc’s foundation.

The breakthrough

Machine age

By a rigorous use of new technology and the materials made available by the machine age, primarily steel and reinforced concrete, they stripped the monster columns, flashy cornice and crown details, pointed arches and symmetrical compositions, while remaining true to the proportions, relationships and articulation of formal themes of the classical. What they revealed was an abstracted form that was characterized by large open plans, expansive use of glass, natural light, deep overhangs and a whitewashed minimal exterior finish that clearly expresses form, all made possible by these new materials. And the answer to the question that gnawed at the architects for nearly a century and a half; what does this new modern style look like?  Answer: Open and bright to fully display and express form.

Contemporary vs Modern: The difference

MODERN - Villa Savoye by Le Corbusier | a classic example of large open plan, expansive glass encompassing the building perimeter and a whitewash exterior finish.

MODERN – Villa Savoye by Le Corbusier | a classic example of large open plan, expansive glass encompassing the building perimeter and a whitewash exterior finish.

In summary, we have established that contemporary architecture is not a style, instead it is an expression of the ‘now’ and its temporal needs. However, when modern architecture broke from the classical ornamentation and its formality of symmetry, it was a revolutionary shift in theory thus classifying it as a movement and therefore a style.  Contemporary architecture is today’s (or tomorrow’s) expression of the current style, whatever that style is or was. Huh? Yeah, what was contemporary last year or the last decade is no longer contemporary, because that was then, and today is today. “Today” can be whatever new ideas are being tested and optimized for current use or expression. All trends become more clear with time, therefore contemporary design of yesterday becomes part of the nostalgia and retroactively given such terms as neo-traditional, neo-classical, neo-modern (and quite possibly postmodern & de-constructivism, but I’ll let my fellow architect bash me around on that for awhile).

Kona Residence

The Kona Residence by Belzberg Architecture is an obvious retreat from Villa Savoye. It’s form is not as obvious and the use of wood in a horizontal expression emphasizes it’s cross axial site orientation. While it shares characteristics such as the expansive glass, natural light &  flat roof, it’s use of material and juxtaposed geometry clearly makes it contemporary.

Gehry-Hadid-Safdi

Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid, Moshe Safdi

Some might say the work of Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid or Moshe Safdie might be the contemporists of today. But I might disagree and describe what is happening today as sustainable design, and only because its a trend that is expressing the ‘now’. But we really won’t know until a name is attached to it in the next decade or century. Will the theorists of the 22nd century be describing the the work of the last three mentioned architects as the emergence of the NEXT style in its infancy? It is certainly a robust departure from that which defines the modern, one that better suits the age of information? Hmmm…

Building a New Home, Part 4: The Home Stretch

In part three I explained the three phases of design, Pre-Design, Schematic Design and Design Development, and how they relate to the construction process. In part four we will discover how it all transforms onto a legal document that your contractor will build from.

 

Construction Documents/Drawings:

If you have ever assembled a bicycle, you likely had a set of detailed instructions nearby. When a client is comfortable with the design development phase, your architect will transition the design into the construction document phase, where the design is transformed into a set of instructions for which a contractor can build your new home or addition.

A bicycle likely requires no more than two people to assemble. However, there will be many hands  needed to construct a house, or even add onto an existing home. Among these hands, you will have building officials, engineers, contractors, sub-contractors, product manufacturers, their distributors and representatives. This construction document phase is where the agreed upon design is translated into an illustrated format with dimensions, quantities and relationships that can be universally understood within the construction industry, and consist of drawings that show floor plans, exterior and interior elevations, sections and details. Alongside these drawing is usually a specification manual also referred to as the spec book or simply the ‘Specs’. This is the written manual that identifies materials and products and the methods for their installation.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/pigsaw/with/3392678017/

The completed set of documents can consist of one page to several hundred pages and usually start with the architectural drawings followed by structural, mechanical, electrical and plumbing. A detailed set of construction documents will not guarantee a trouble free construction process. In fact nothing can provide such a guarantee. But a construction process that includes ongoing consistent communication between the owner, architect and builder will provide the clarity necessary for as smooth of a process as possible.

 

Selecting a Contractor:

The earlier you have a contractor on board the better. They are the experts of their trade and can offer valuable advice related to costs, build-ability, schedule, availability of materials etc. Every architect will have several contractors he or she has worked with and can refer. My personal method is to make a recommendation based on criteria that I feel is the best fit for a particular client, usually budget, schedule, personality, style etc.

www.brunsgc.com

The research and interview process for selecting a contractor can be an arduous and overwhelming process, so include your architect. Let their experience guide you, especially when reviewing bids, they will know what questions to ask and sometimes negotiate a better price. Whether a contractor is recommended, or you plan to bid, it is essential to consider the quality of their work and personal temperament first, then their price.

 

Construction Administration:

Regardless of the type or complexity of your project, construction of any kind is a fluid and interpretive process. It is encouraged that every homeowner retains their architect for construction administration services. It is during this phase that the architect acts as the project’s agent to ensure that the contractor and his sub-contractors are correctly interpreting the project as designed. There will always be room for interpretation, and it is inevitable that there will be changes in some manner and will need to be made part of the official construction documents and carefully recorded for possible payment, credit or simply a future clarification of why the change was made.

Construction administration comprises very little time for the architect as compared to the design and construction document phases. His or her time might require weekly site visits for large projects and ‘as needed’ visits for smaller less complex projects. Most issues can be resolved with a quick phone conversation and follow-up drawing change if necessary. During a site visit your architect will make note of the progress, materials installed, materials stored, take photographs and submit periodic reports. This is not to be mistaken as a supervisory role. Your architect is only there for observation and remains a neutral.

By keeping your architect involved during the construction phase, you not only ensure that your needs are met but also your budget, your design intent, quality and the project schedule.

Should I Be An Architect?

The profession seems to have been glorified to the point where those of us who do it are perceived as part the 1%, a pinnacle usually reserved for the corporate CEO,  the doctor, the lawyer, the banker, the hedge fund manager, etc.  How? Why?  I don’t know.  The mainstream media? The film industry?  Sadly, those who pursue the profession for the gobs of money, a big house and a sports car do not realize, until it’s too late, that the union carpenters, plumbers and even the their laborers that they interact with on many projects are making more, AND punching out at 3pm.

The following question was posed on my previous blog post, 8 Myths About Architects. I felt that it deserved (needed) a post of it’s own.

 

Question:

September 17, 2013 at 11:36 pm

Hi,

I googled ‘Myths About Architects’ and your site came up. I am a second semester Architecture student and I am having second thoughts, I do not have a passion for it, but my professors says that I have “a tremendous amount of ability” and “that there is a lot of talent and intelligence” in me. So, my question is, how is “a life of an architect”, I feel like if I don’t like it now, would I like it later? How far should I go before I decide to drop? I’m afraid of regretting it. Do architects make a lot of money? I know some of them do, but I mean what does it take for an architect to make lots of money?

Best,

(Name removed)

 

Answer: 

September 18, 2013 at 1:16 pm 

(Name removed)

Out here, far away from the glamor and romance of the university architecture studio, a jaded architect who does this for the money will say “RUN!”, and then while flailing about he or she will rant negatively about what we do. Another architect in the same room who does this for reasons not related to money will stand up and say “Wait a minute, before you go…”, and proceed to talk you to death about his passion for what he does. It’s a personal preference but success, whether it’s being happy or wealthy, at any level will require passion… and patience.

But like any career you have to determine what YOU want out of it AND what you want to do with it. Being an architect can be frustrating and lonely. No one really understands what we do and can’t see the value unless their project requires a stamp. Some architects do not feel rewarded unless they get that big paycheck, and for them the frustration will likely cause weariness and resentment, wishing they chose a more financially rewarding career. That’s not to say an architect can’t make a lot of money. Those who do are likely doing something in addition to designing and building, such as real estate development. Those architects who are indeed able to break into the 1% by doing only architecture will tell you that it takes hard work, mind numbing patience, days and days without sleep and countless unappreciative bosses and clients. But they are probably at peace and comfortable with their choice, fueled by their passion to create places for people to live, work, play and pray. A couple of dream clients that we all search the horizon for tend to help as well.  However, this breakthrough in the careers of what the industry calls “starchitects” is not likely to occur at all for most of us, if one does reach that level of success it will not be until he or she begins to approach the age of 50.

If by your 2nd year you are not waking at 5am and rushing to your studio to study and test an idea, on a project that will never be built, working for what seems like just a few hours only to realize that the sun is rising and it’s the day after tomorrow. Then it might be time to explore some options. The talents that you use to design a composition of rooms, or buildings are not relegated only to architecture. Right brain thinkers are also found in fashion, film making, mechanical engineering (designing cars, door knobs or toys… not HVAC systems), even software engineers and entrepreneurs need that level of creativity. If you have not found your passion don’t sweat it, your young. Stay where you are for awhile, see where it takes you.

But don’t take just my word for it. There are other bloggers out there who are architects. See what they have to say…

Coffee With an Architect

Think Architect

Life of an Architect

Good luck!

Bryan

 

Photos used with creative commons license

Building A New Home, Part 3: The Fun Part

In part three I will cover the three phases of design, Pre-Design, Schematic Design and Design Development. I call this the fun part because a house is more than a building with a front door, a back door and a roof over a few rooms separated by walls and doors. It is a place. A place in our vast universe where we are allowed to laugh, cry, play, eat, sleep, pray, work, debate, escape, invite, entertain, display, grow, decorate, disagree, watch, listen, dance, raise a family and express ourselves. There is a great deal of excitement that is experienced when creating this ‘place’.

Pre-Design:

This is the first of the three design phases and once the initial hurtles are cleared this is where we begin to uncover clues that will initiate and inform the design as well as inform how it will proceed. Informed? Yes, I know, it’s a strange word that doesn’t seem to fit. I mean we’re building a house here, not writing a paper, right?  Keep reading.

There are laws in place to protect lives and laws to protect property values. Building code and zoning law data collected from the initial documents is laid out and a determination of constraints and possibilities is made against what is required by these laws. This phase also provides an initial guideline or ‘point of departure’ as we begin to discuss the program.

As part of the pre-design process the site is analyzed for its own set of constraints and possibilities. This investigation will include a walkthrough to review and verify items not documented on the plot plan, taking measurements and photographs to document elements not shown but necessary to inform the initial shape and orientation of the house as well ass any natural landscape features that can or should be preserved. Important items to verify and document include how the site drains, where the utilities are, or if a septic system is required and its best location, trees, streams and most crucial to the living experience are the views, sun orientation and shade.

Programming is where we discuss room uses, sizes and amenities as they relate to your needs. A question and answer session where we will begin to analyze and interpret your vision and illustrate a clear understanding of your intentions. The  strategy here is to get beneath the ‘wants’ that occupy the surface and get down to the genesis of your choices. Because let’s face it, a ‘want’ based on what you’ve seen in a magazine, website or a friend’s kitchen might work well for them, but does it work for you?

Schematic Design:

This is where your vision merges with your architect’s ideas. Schematic design is where we study and test ideas for contextual and spatial relationship, form, proportion, scale, and then developed into a presentation for you to review. You will see those initial conversations and analysis take shape in the form of sketches, quick study models, floor plans, and always 3D digital perspectives. Let’s face it, understanding how something is going to look from a 2D drawing is not easy for all of us. Even architects.

This phase also gives us a sense of whether or not we have made accurate interpretations and are representing the criteria that is the basis of your needs and lifestyle.  We always present several iterations, two at the very least and usually three, encouraging the conversation and assessing possibilities. To get a sense of whether or not the presented concepts meet your budget, an approximate opinion of cost will be included. This opinion is based on experience and industry publications and is an approximate per square foot cost, and only to be a preliminary consideration. Schematic Design will then transition to Design Development when a design option, budget and schedule are approved.

 

Design Development:

Design Development is where you see the schematic sketches begin to transform into something closer to real. Earlier programming conversations are revisited and space requirements are refined as they become more specific. Structural requirements are determined as well as mechanical, electrical and plumbing. Architectural elements such as windows, roof and stairs are detailed and conversations about finishes such as floors, cabinets, counter-tops and lighting start to take place. It is important to have fixtures and finishes introduced before the construction document phase where they are detailed and specified. By the time this process is ready for the next phase most of the major decisions will have been made. While it is not too late to make changes during the construction document phase, if major changes are requested the research and detailing can prolong the process. With your architect’s expert counsel, all proposed design elements, fixtures, hardware and finish materials are presented as clear as possible and with opportunity for discussion and comparison during the Design Development phase. This ensures that our clients are fully informed of the choices that need to be made and are not rushed or overwhelmed and are comfortable moving forward.

Next post, Part 4: Construction Documents & Construction Administration

All photos by author.

Building A New Home, Part 2: Getting Started

Initial documents: In part 1 I discussed the process of building a new home or renovation from the initial contact to the proposal and finally reaching an agreement. Part 2 will cover the documents that will be your responsibility as the property owner.

Sample plot plan showing site features

A plot plan shows all natural and man made features on any piece of property professionally surveyed by a civil engineer or land surveyor.

Plot Plan: Before getting started with the design process your architect will need to know if your project will fit on the property and meet all zoning requirements. For this a plot plan will be necessary.   This is generated by a civil engineer and can cost north of $1,000. If you don’t already have one contact your building official at the town hall, he might already have one on file. A plot plan is a very important document when building a new home or adding an addition. It is basically an overhead view of your property and contains many symbols and abbreviations, but the important information your architect will need are any existing structures, property lines, any public easements, wetlands, and the locations of any existing underground utilities. If your town has a public utilities at the street, these will also be on the plot plan, as well as the location where they cross the property line. These utilities will be indicated as several confusing lines in the middle of the street.  If you don’t see them don’t run out and pay for another survey. This likely means you will need a septic system and a well.

Soil Testing

Test Data: An empty site for a for building a new home will need at least the following two soil tests and enough to get you started.

  1. The first, called a perc test will determine how permeable the soil is and aid in design of a septic system. This will only be necessary if a public sewer connection at the street is not available.
  2. The second test will determine the structural capacity of the soil and ultimately the type of foundation that will be required for your new home. If your property is in a development or has existing homes nearby there may already be test data available. Check with your local building official for the availability as well as whether or not he/she will require additional testing.

Renovations and additions will not likely need either test due to the existing nature. Testing has already been done.

Existing drawings: If building a new home these will not be necessary, if you are doing a renovation or addition, existing drawings (formerly known as blueprints) are not required but will be will save you a few dollars. If none are to be had your architect will have to measure the house, interior and exterior and then have plans drawn from scratch. This is time consuming and can take several days to a week. So if you have those drawings stashed away somewhere dig them out, it will save you money. However, before going through the task of re-drawing, a good architect will take a trip to the local building department and see what they might have on file from previous permitting, if any. Ensure he or she does this, or better yet go down yourself.

Budget: Not a document but a conversation that needs to happen early on, and will likely be one of the first questions asked by your architect. A project budget will provide a clear path and reliable reference that will eliminate assumptions leading to frustrations. Dave Ramsey, a financial expert who in my opinion offers the most sound and realistic advice says asking “how much will it cost to build a new home” is asking the wrong question. Your question should be around what you can afford, and any good architect (including yours truly) will get you as close to your wants as he can. We just need a budget to work with.

Residential clients typically have a rough idea of what they WANT to spend but not solid plan. The budget is important because it will give your architect a place to start the design and most importantly a limit to the design. Not having a budget is like trying to walk normally without shoe laces. It can work, but it will be frustrating and you won’t get far before you’re tripping all over yourself.  Your budget will also be a point of reference for the architect’s fee, see previous post “What Does An Architect Charge & How They Structure Their Fee?” However, if you just cannot arrive at a budget, don’t let it delay your will to get started. Just tell your architect, he or she can assist you in arriving at a budget that meets your needs and fits your wallet. In these situations I will start the discussion by describing three levels of quality, high-end, middle or economical and each having a cost per square foot attached. This will then give my budget challenged clients a visual perspective and a place to determine what they can afford. It’s not ideal but it beats walking without shoelaces.

Next week part 3: The Fun Part

photos not by the author used with creative commons license

Building A New Home, Part 1: Where to Start

Part 1 of this 4 part series will cover a quick overview of what can be expected in the early phase, with parts 2 through 4 covering each subsequent phase in more detail.   So let’s jump into the vast unknown.

When I get a call from a prospective client who wants to build a new home an addition or renovation, the conversation can vary from client to client but will almost always include  “…we have no idea what we are doing, or where to start.”  Yes, the process of putting a building in the ground can be intimidating and overwhelming. With the right person leading your project it can be a  rewarding experience, but where to start can be the most challenging hurtle to clear. Most architects offer free consultations so just call one and schedule a time to meet. If it doesn’t feel right, call another one, with each conversation you’ll gain more experience.

 

Initial Contact

During the initial contact, usually a phone call, the conversation can take on many forms but is usually around your thoughts, needs, goals and concerns. Before the conversation ends a meeting will likely be set up and is always best to meet on site.  This way all involved will get a firsthand perspective without relying too heavily on mental images. This meeting will be a quick walk-through while the issues of the initial conversation are reviewed and discussed in more depth. A brief explanation of process, expectations (both client’s and architect’s) and any documentation that your architect will need to get started. Plot plan, existing drawings, budget, etc.

 

The Proposal 

Every architect will have their own style or format when writing their proposals. Depending on the complexity a proposal can range from two pages to a small booklet of several pages. For residential projects they are typically of the two to three page varieties. My proposals will always start with a brief summary of the project and initial conversations, followed by a description of the services that are necessary when building a new home, from the initial documents, conceptual design, through construction. After a schedule of time needed to arrive at these milestones is detailed the proposal then concludes with the fee structure. One that is fair, can pay the expenses and hopefully turn a little profit.  A great deal of time and attention goes into the proposal because it is the document that will be the basis for contract negotiations.

 

Agreement

A proposal is just what it is, a proposal. An introduction to negotiating an agreement to design and build your new home, and once an agreement is reached a contract is signed by both parties and the process can begin. A small project with minimal scope can usually get by with a simple terms and conditions letter. Large to medium sized projects that are more complex, in both scope and mutual expectations will usually need a more comprehensive contract.

Next week part 2: Getting Started .

photos not by the author used with creative commons license

Architecting. What Makes An Architect An Architect?

So I came across another interesting article, “Architecting Your Exit”. Now I initially found this odd because not much design goes into the exiting of a building. The building code has very specific criteria with thousands of minimums and maximums that govern how high, how wide, how low and how many. All contained in 184 pages! My point? With so much regulation there is very little left for architecting. In the design sense anyway.

Business Insider, which is a very good source for architecture news, published the article on their website and was written by Firas Raouf. Not that it’s relevant but if I’m going to use his words I should keep it legal. And by no means are you about the read a critique of this fine gentleman and his authorship.

First sentence…

 I participated in a panel… about the technology exit environment and… how their companies are getting to their desired exits.

Ok, so maybe you picked up on the thought but at this point I am still focused on companies (people) getting to their exit in the event of a fire. So I continue…

The one key point I tried to drill into the audience was about the need to proactively architect your exit. There are several reasons why I stress this point. 1. Companies with great exits are bought not sold.

Ok, who buys companies because they want their emergency egress route to be a pleasant experience? If you’re lucky the corridor is not filled with smoke, and if it’s clear are you really looking at the nice paint job or the use of frosted glass?

 Then…

Which means that you need to find a way to get a strategic buyer to notice your company…

By now feel like I just walked into a tree while being occupied by my handheld distraction. Was the alleged topic of Mr. Raouf’s article regarding the, now obvious, exit strategy and posturing for a corporate buyout misleading? Likely only to myself and a handful of other architects with the same search query.

The use of the word architect looks to have infiltrated other professions, seemingly to imply a creative approach to… something.  For the industry, my colleagues, maybe my own ego and certainly my student loans, I want to make clear that I am not a software architect, an IT architect, a systems architect, an architect of research and development, the architect of a defensive strategy, the architect of the 2013 Earned Income Tax Credit Reform Act, the architect of House Republicans’ January 2011 repeal efforts of the new health care law, the architect of your education or the architect of the capitol staff directory (Really?).

No! I am an architect. No need for before or after descriptivisms. A napkin, a sharpie and an idea will do.

But I can architect your exit, AND make it a pleasant egress. Even if filled with smoke.

 

Photos used with creative commons license. and can be found here and here.