At Clawson Architects LLC we believe that the success of our projects is based on our commitment to serving our clients. We are creative. We are loyal to our clients and their needs and we are grateful for each and every opportunity we have to make a positive impact on the lives of the people we work with and the communities they live in.

How To Work With An Architect

Working with an Architect

Working with an Architect is not something many homeowners do on a regular basis. To find out answers to questions like: Do you really need an Architect, what is the value of an Architect, what should I expect from my Architect, what should I expect to pay for services, and what makes a project great?

Consult:
The American Institute of Architects
The book How to Work with an Architect by Gerald Lee Morosco, AIA

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions about Architecture, Design, and Your Home

Licensed and Insured Architects

An Architect must be licensed and registered in the state in which they are working and in the state where the project is located. Members of the Clawson Architects Team hold licenses in the following states: New Jersey, New York, Florida, and Vermont. Below are the license verification sites. Put in your architect's name and check. Learn what is required in your state of the professional you choose. Your architect should also be able to provide you with a Certificate of Insurance.

New Jersey State Board of Architects
Architect - Certificate of Authorization - Clawson Architects, LLC
Architects - Marvin Clawson, Mary Clawson

New York State Education Architecture: Office of the Professions
Architects - Marvin E. Clawson, Mary Rene Clawson

Florida License Verification
Architect - Marvin E. Clawson

Vermont Secretary of State Professional Licensing
Architect - Marvin E. Clawson

Working with Clawson Architects

Marvin and René believe that the success of our projects is based on our commitment to serving our clients. We are creative. We are loyal to our clients and their needs and we are grateful for each and every opportunity we have to make a positive impact on the lives of the people we work with and the communities they live in.

  1. The personal attention of Marvin and/or René is guaranteed through out the process. Their plans are based on conversations with you about what you are trying to achieve. No project is ever the same, which makes each job unique and interesting. The scope of your project, your budget or your location does not impact the care or level of service you receive.
  2. No project is ever too small. Whether it is a new portico and stoop for your home, renovations to an existing bathroom and kitchen or a new home from the ground up, The Clawson Team of licensed professional architects understand details and scale which will insure that the investment in your home is well designed and executed for long term value.
  3. Marvin and René and the Clawson Team work for you. We are not in the business of selling products or taking a percentage of what you purchase or a cut from the contractor you select. Clawson Architects will do their best to educate you and provide you with information so you can make informed decisions and achieve your goals.
  4. Accountability, Compassion, Excellence and Integrity are the core principles that we use to guide our practice.

Developing a budget for your project

Clients often have questions about budgeting for their projects. Budgets are very personal, and how you get to a number you are comfortable with can be achieved in several ways. The current value of your home and the market comps in the area are a good place to begin. If you are thinking of adding a family room, you may want to investigate what similar homes in your neighborhood with a family room are selling for. In some cases, clients are adding on to or renovating their homes based on how they want to live and resale is a minor concern. The link below illustrate costs vs. value on several different projects in different regions as well as midrange vs. upscale. We have found that the cost numbers in the following link to be realistic ones: Remodeling.hw.net

The Process

Clawson Architects uses a process in developing your project. While no two projects or clients are exactly the same the process will follow similar steps. Depending on the size and scope your project, some steps will overlap and others may not occur. As an example, Existing Conditions for an interior renovation that do not include an addition, would not require any site work or surveys, while a new home on a vacant lot would need a site and soil analysis.

  1. Development of Client Program

    • Develop preliminary scope of work.
    • Develop desired space allocations for rooms and/or areas.
    • Develop overall strategy for the house/property.
    • Estimate a timeline for construction/renovation of client’s property.
  2. Site Analysis/Building Analysis

    • Maximum building area in accordance with local zoning requirements/analysis of existing circulation and use.
    • Site Orientation for major rooms/room adjacencies.
    • Views
  3. Existing Conditions

    • When responding to an existing structure with renovations, alterations or an addition we must document As-Built conditions.
    • These drawings become the base drawings for all future phases of the project.
  4. Schematic Design

    • Prepare Alternative Schemes in sketch form for the Client to review at intervals to confirm project’s program.
    • Prepare formal set of Schematic Design Drawings to submit to client selected cost estimator and/or contractors to obtain preliminary cost estimate for budgeting purposes.
    • Solicit proposals and drawings from required Consultants and Structural Engineers.
  5. Design Development

    • Select building materials for project.
    • Incorporate materials into Architectural Design Drawings.
    • Submit Design Development Drawings to Contractor and/or Cost-Estimator to reconcile drawings with project budget.
    • Incorporate amendments into drawings.
  6. Construction Documents

    • Develop detailed Construction Documents from Design Development drawings.
      1. These Drawings will be dimensioned plans, building sections and elevations as required to build the job.
      2. Specifications for any fixtures and finishes that have been selected.
    • Client to submit Construction Documents to Building Department in order to obtain Building Permit.
    • The Client’s contract with the Contractor is based on the detailed Construction Documents.
  7. Construction Administration

    • Visit the site to document construction progress to ensure the drawings are being followed.
    • Prepare Field Report to document site conditions, work progress, and compliance with the Construction Documents.
    • Review samples provided by Client or Contractor.
    • Review Contractor’s Request for Payments for accuracy relative to progression of project.
    • Trouble shoot with contractor and client on any unforseen conditions or client requested changes.
    • Providing Field Sketches and documentation.

Understanding Architectural Drawings

Below we have illustrated plans, section and elevations of a custom vanity. The plan is a bird’s eye view looking down from three feet above the floor.

The sections are cut in two locations and these locations are shown on the plan with a “cut line” and an arrow showing where the cut has been made and which way we are looking at the section.

The elevation shows us what we would see standing in front of the vanity. The location/point of the view is again noted with a circle and arrow on the plan.

The corresponding numbers in these circles tell us the drawing number and the drawing sheet/page in the set. As with the sections symbol, the number on the top of the line indicates the drawing number on a sheet and the bottom number is the page or sheet number in the set. While these drawings all occur on one sheet, the principle remains the same for a larger set of documents where the drawings are on many sheets ... you match the “tag” numbers.Architectural plan page

The Client/Architect/Contractor Relationship

A successful, efficient project considers the client's needs, their well being, and their budget. The Client, The Architect, and the Contractor have very specific and necessary roles.

  • The Client – have specific goals, expectations and a budget that is in alignment with these goals and expectations.
  • The Architect – must guide the client, propose reasonable, sustainable design solutions, and provide accurate detailed drawings. These must meet the client's requirements as well as applicable building codes and zoning criteria. The finalized construction documents will become the client’s contract with the contractor.
  • The Contractor – must be a responsible craftsman with expertise and the experience necessary to manage the trades and to build the project as designed and documented.

As with a 3-legged stool, all of the three parties must work together in concert. They must maintain open dialogue and be able to troubleshoot as a team in order to respond to unforeseen issues or client-initiated changes. Limiting or eliminating any of these components will leave the client with a compromised solution.

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