|Watts Architectural Consulting||
Service Pricing List
(updated Aug. 2017, subject to change)
Consulting fee: I offer this valuable service to new clients. * 1.5 - 2 hr. consultation for $400 + mileage cost to site if req'd or your desired meeting location.
Preliminary Design(s) / Site Strategy:
$30 / hr + supplies/ materials costs
Outside office model firms: $$ Market rates $$
Schematic Design & Design Development:
Daniel Dominique Watts
Over 25 years of Architectural Experience
Architectural Consultant service for Chicagoland
& Midwest states.
Organic / Green Architecture; High-end Commercial;
Solar: Passive/ Active systems; retail & residential;
Preservation; Frank Lloyd Wright Specialist & author-2015
10 Questions to ask Designers/ Architects before starting designs
& from my own thoughts added)
1) Do you have contractor and client references/letters to read
A: Yes, see my references tab
2) How much time do I need to commit, and when?
A: Architects deal with clients that are "hands-off" & clients who "want to be
involved in 'detail' decisions". Be clear about the "type" of client you are, &
ask your designer the time commitment they expect from you. It is
recommended that clients be as specific as possible on when they’re able
to meet —what time is best, whether you’d like to meet in person or talk by
phone. Often clients aren't available to meet during business hours so they
should make sure that their architect/designer is available to meet either on
weekends, evenings, early mornings, etc.
3) How can I be helpful in the process?
A: Not sure which type of client you will be, or how involved you want to be with
your designer? Then ask! It's recommended you first understand the
organizational process already in use, then ask how you can be most
helpful within it. "Understanding timelines and workflow helps set clients at
ease knowing they can anticipate certain updates or documents to be sent
for their review at a certain timeline". Having a thorough conversation at the
beginning of the process with a vision in place & personal preferences on
hand helps your designer hone in on the right solution."
A: Having been inspired by a previous mentor I worked for in my home town
& another in Des Moines that used the same system & again I found used
by a friend/ Frank Lloyd Wright Apprentice John Lautner who sadly also
passed away since my knowing them all, they had a great tool for clients to
use. What TOOL?
A (3) section ringed notebook - wide lined that a client can use to write down
thoughts regarding their "project" & for adding photos, clipped data, etc. I
will get into specifics of it after an initial meeting/ site visit. It can be helpful
in the design process as well as organizing/ isolating your thoughts for the
4. What's your fee structure & what can I expect in costs?
A: There is NO set standards for Architects/ Designers since 1990 when a
Gov't law forbid firms listing price minimums for firms. This was so they
couldn't unionize/standardize the market. It limited uniformly to keep rates
equal & kept a competition/free market. Hence, every firm uses different
fee structures or methods to charge for their services, but any
reputable firm will be able to share their service rates quickly. "Be open
about your budget". Cost limitations are extremely critical, since quality
work can be very expensive.
Make sure your designer is open with you about any additional costs that
may not be spelled out in service fees or your contract. "These are often
extra construction administration hours or amendments/changes to the
drawings due to changes during construction". "If the client anticipates
these costs, then it doesn't come as a surprise later, so it helps to ask the
question & get a detailed response from the firm of these potential
5. What are the important issues, considerations, & challenges of my project?
A: From my experiences --This is usually done after a site visit & initial
meetings, usually prior to any concepts or designs are started. However it
can also occur in renovation, additions, & preservation work as well as
new work if any constraints are noticed or come into being. Sometimes it's
not anything that affects a budget or time to fix designs or construction,
& sometimes it greatly affects everything including limiting your budget due
to removal of unknown site items below ground, buried behind walls being
restored / renovated, or otherwise not visible upon site visits, or knowledge
from utility companies.
A: It's recommended you get the big picture view from your firm, picking their
brain about what particular elements stand out. They’ll also have insight
about construction, city approvals, and design challenges you may not
have been considered or been aware of.
Also ask if the firm has previously tackled a similar project to yours. Every
project type has its ups/ downs & experience with these is essential.
Knowing how to solve problems and knowing what worked last time as well
as what if anything didn't work so well. Things that may affect your project
can be soil type, soil load bearing limits, underground aquifers, ground
gases like argon gas, site debris, grading/steep slopes, roadway access,
utility source locations, site vegetation - village 'tree' or 'siting/ setback'
6. What will you show along the way to explain the project?
A: Ask your architect how he/she will be showing your project to you before the
construction process starts. Will there be models, drawings, computer
animations? This is a good time to bounce around ideas, express critiques,
& make adjustments."Ask for sketches of alternative designs, request
product samples or showroom visits to get a realistic feel for various
possibilities." A: I feel these "phases" of the project are vitally important &
place alot of efforts into as many possible solutions as I can think of for the
7. Are you insured?
You will want to know, very simply, if your design firm is insured. If so, what level of insurance do they have? Ask if the architect has "any open claims against you or your firm." A: I do not have any claims against me in the past or present.
8. What’s your role with the contractor?
Once construction starts, much of the project will be in the hands of your
contractor. Many design firms will recommend contractors they have a good
track record with, but you’ll want to ask how the firm plans to work with them
during your project. What role does the architect plan to take on with the
contractor, or will you be expected to deal with the contractor directly?
A: You can chose your own contractor if you have one you prefer or it can be put
out to open bid. I will deal with the contractor
9. Who’s on my team?
Often, there are many different people at a firm that will contribute to your
project & you’ll be working with. Ask for introductions. "Learning more about the
team that will be working with you is also incredibly important". Very often you
will meet a principal that you love, but are working with a project manager 75
percent of the time that is too junior or may not gel with. Who will be designing
your project?" A: I work mostly by myself or as needed with other colleagues as
the situation may arise. I also have preferred electrical, mechanical, plumbing
Engineers who review/add to the work as it progresses. I do not "farm-out"
designs. I do not use any "junior" or mid-level designers and do the designs /
drawings myself. If you hire me, you get ME, being involved at every step and
doing whatever I can to go above & beyond your expectations which is always
10. How can we reduce the environmental impact?
Most firms are happy to work with you to design more environmentally
sustainable buildings, & there’s a chance the firm will integrate low or no cost
sustainable design strategies into your project. If it’s something you’re
interested in, ask about the type of green design they have experience with, &
what the pros / cons may be moving ahead with it. "Reducing the impact on the
environment is important to us, and we’re open to discussing the benefits". "it
expands the time and many times budget… but there are certain tax benefits
that come along with certification." A: I could not agree more. Sustainable
architecture is architecture that seeks to minimize the negative
environmental impact of buildings by efficiency & moderation in the use of
materials, energy, development space & the ecosystem at large. I try to do
sustainable designs & encourage using low / no Odor products. I have done
this in most of my work since 1977, always trying to utilize free heat from the
sun with passive panels/ storage systems I have developed, & utilizing active
solar systems for any heating / cooling or electrical needs. I personally have
used in my own homes whole house instant hot water systems by ECOSmart.
They are very easy to maintain (1-2 times/yr) even though I use now one with
my well water & septic system. I do not have an active panel system currently
but pan to completely go off-grid in the near future. I'm still tinkering since 2001
in my head for a better cooling system than the marketplace has available. I
feel radiant or gravity heat for winter use is the better system to use vs.
conventional "furnace / heat exchangers". In my opinion, having "any" blowing
air in your home is not the best solution for your health or that of the home /