Common Questions

If you’re looking for an architect, there are some common questions you’re likely to ask. Here at August Hill, we like for you to be as informed as possible.

Every architect brings their own expertise, skills, experience and values to a project. If you do not already know an architect the challenge is to find the one that best exemplifies the qualities that align with you, your organization and your project goals. The collaboration between the Client, Architect and Contractor is a unique union of personalities, values, methodologies and trust. The following list is only an abbreviated item of questions, but they are typical and are a foundation of a rewarding project. 

Common questions people ask before beginning an architectural project.

Whether it is a commercial tenant improvementcustom residential or remodel or public entity design, we often hear the following common questions from our clients.

How long will it take?
The time it will take to begin construction is dependent on many factors based on the complexity and scope of work for your project. Once the design concept is known we provide a design schedule that is broken down into three unique design phases of work. This way everyone is on board and we can minimize surprises, which no one likes. Each phase is more detailed and informative. Once the permit drawings are submitted to obtain a permit, expect eight to 12 week period for the local permit review to be completed.

Is a permit required?
Typically any project will require permits. Typical permits are a site development permit, grading, sewer, building, electrical, HVAC and plumbing. Permits also carry with them supplemental fees such as school impact fees, Permits are not required for projects that are minor repairs or work that does not impact safety per the building codes. There are a number of codes that

How much will it cost?
Fees are established by a number of methods. They can be based on a percentage of total construction costs, the number of hours to provide the services or negotiated. Our design fees are set at the beginning of a project as either a fixed fee or an hourly fee with an estimated number of hours to complete. The total fee is then divided into the individual phases by percentage of the total fee (for fixed fees), or as an estimated number of hours per phase (for hourly fees). We like these type of fees because they give our clients an understanding of what the design fee will be from the beginning of a project, helping to avoid surprises down the road. fees vary depending on complexity, location, scope of services, Owner’s budget, and if it is to be a competitively bid or Design-Build.
What is the Process?
Standard Phases Standard phases bring an order to the design process. Each phase has a purpose and a level of expectations that you as the owner can expect to see. In general the phases are sequential and you as the owner will sign off on the completion of each phase, permitting the project to move forward based on the decisions you made up to that point. The timeframe to complete each phase varies depending on the complexity of your project. Here are the six phases:

  • Phase 1 – Pre-Design
  • Phase 2 – Schematic Design
  • Phase 3 – Design Development
  • Phase 4 – Construction Documents
  • Phase 5 – Construction Procurement
  • Phase 6 – Construction Observation
How do I select an Architects?
You are really looking for qualities and character that best fits your won personality and objectives. The best way to select an architect is from personal references. Knowing that people you trust are sharing their personal experience is a great advantage. the American Institute of architects maintains a list of architects that are members, but there many very good architects that do not belong to the AIA. On-line searches are obviously available as well. We cannot emphasize enough that the architect you select must be collaborative, listen, an educator, keep your interests first and be attentive to your needs .
What do Architects Fees cover?
Architectural fees cover three basic phases of work. these phases are: 1. Design 2. Project Management 3.Construction Administration Within this structure are: design, preparing construction and permit drawings, permit application process, consultant coordination, project budget analysis, code analysis, establishing project schedule and objectives, bidding, contractor selection, construction observation, contractor billing requests, manage requests for construction changes, review requests for material substitutions, respond to contractors request for information and guidance review contractor quality of work, assist in closing out the project.
How do i sekect a Contractor?
The best way to select a contractor is through referrals and relying on past performance and working relation ships with folks you know. A contractor can be selected very early in the design process, or after the architect has completed drawings that a contractor can bid on. They should be selected on their technical expertise, known quality of construction methods, past experience, bonding capacity, ability and willingness to work as a team partner and above all place your project first. Your architect will prove great value for you in assisting in selecting a contractor.
Is your Architect Licensed?
Unfortunately there are people who will claim they are an architect. This is an illegal representation and every year people are heavily fined for this practice. It is very easy to go on-line and visit your state’s business licensing and professional licensing sites to research the status of someone’s architecture license. August Hill Architects is licensed in the State of Washington and California.
What do you need to provide?
In the very beginning conceptual phase it is best to provide ideas about what you are striving to achieve. These can be illustrated by photographs clipped from magazines and a number of web sites or on the architects past work. Ideas cost nothing to get going. Once a determination has been made to get going it is typical that the client hire a geotechnical engineer, a land surveyor for property surveys and topography, and for existing buildings an environmental assessment will need to be performed for assessing the existence of hazardous materials such as lead paint or PCB’s and asbestos.
What is the Architect's role during construction?
In a typical construction project the architect acts as the Owner’s Agent as the direct line of communication between the Owner and the Contractor. This involves observation of the construction and various intervals, Evaluation of contractor requests for payment, process submittals and questions, review results of tests and inspections, supplemental documentation to clarify design intent, handle requests for changes by owner or Contractor, act as mediator in case a dispute arises and assist the Owner in closing the project in order to move in and occupy.
Please see our resources page for additional information