Why you need an architect that will listen and can also say, “No”

I recently met with a customer who asked for an architectural drawing for residential modification. We met for one hour and she explained what she wanted and we discussed it.

I offered to prepare a schematic design of her idea. She accepted and I completed the work within a week. I returned with the schematic which she liked very much.

The conversation then went in another direction. She began introducing elements into the project beyond the scope of our original plans. In other circumstances where requested changes are architecturally sound, I would have had no problem proceeding.

However, in this situation her ideas raised structural problems. I had to tell her no. While this was an uncomfortable moment, I was confident that my judgement was correct.

This illustrates the importance of working with an architect that has the following:

  • a good feel for style and esthetics and
  • the experience to know when a project is heading toward problems

Often, to avoid contradiction, an architect will accept proposals that are not in the client’s best interest. This is a huge mistake.

At Tim Nichols Architect you can be confident that your residential project will be handles with the greatest care and professionalism. We have been in the industry for fifty years and all of our best clients keep coming back.

Give us a call today to schedule a consultation.

When will you address acoustics in your building project?

Have you ever been in a restaurant when you cannot hear the person across the table; and, before you know it, you are nearly shouting?

Have you gone to use the bathroom and felt uncomfortable because you can hear people talking in the next room?

Or have you gone to your hotel room for a pleasant night’s rest only to be kept awake by the celebration in a room nearby?

We’ve all been there. The question is why do these problems happen and how can a more thoughtful design prevent them.

Tim Nichols with Frank Comentale at a recent recording studio project

The importance of acoustical design is highlighted in our current project with renowned recording studio designer and sound engineer Frank Comentale.

A recording studio requires control of sound at the highest level. Therefore, many techniques, developed over decades in this industry, can be used in business and residential applications as well.

The resources and requirements for sound management may differ between projects, but the principles and the science are the same.

Acoustical privacy

A standard stud wall with insulation and drywall transfers sound easily. Adding a sandwich of sound deadening board and a second layer of drywall can cut the sound transfer by half. Further reduction can be achieved by using an appropriate sound deadening insulation along with other materials and techniques.

Acoustical ambience

Sound travels over smooth surfaces and reverberates between parallel surfaces. When these surfaces can flex and move, they act like a drum head to amplify the noise in a room. These effects can be reduced or eliminated by introducing absorptive materials, angled surfaces and interrupting shapes.

Frank Comantale’s experience over many decades at the Hit Factory in New York City as well as building many custom studios for leading figures in the music and entertainment industries have combined these and many other techniques to achieve the ultimate acoustical results. It has been an honor and a pleasure to work with him.

Roadmap for building on a tight schedule

When faced with a tight schedule, it is all the more important that business and home owners and builders consider a few basic guidelines to create a project-specific roadmap for success.

  1. Set budget prioritiesYour budget is your fuel. Make sure you have enough to hit all the critical milestones and roll to completion without running out of gas. It may be necessary to change the start date, or reduce the scope of work, to bring the available budget into line with projected costs. If you need to make some basic changes, you want to know that right up front.
  2. Define critical deadlines: It’s hard to say which is more important—time or money—they are inseparable. When planning the project, consider both together. Set critical deadlines and budget targets on the same critical path.
  3. Identify municipal team members: If you have ever had a building official throw a monkey wrench into your schedule, I don’t have to explain the importance of having all the municipal officials whose input and approvals are needed for the project on your team from the very beginning. The key is clear communication, usually with meetings and drawings and plenty of lead time.
  4. Schematic design requirements: What are the basic requirements, appearance, uses, structure and materials. Collect sketches, photographs, notes, interviews and ideas; and put these into documents that define the general direction the project will take. Use these materials to get agreement from all stakeholders on the compass setting before you start.
  5. Permit documents: Based on what has gone before, determine which permit you need first and when you will need it. Prepare the necessary documents with adequate time for approval. You will be better off if you work with building officials as part of your team, not the opposing team.
  6. Construction resources: Men and materials have been part of your preparation and planning all along—lining up contractors, taking bids and proposals, discussing their availability, what their requirements are in terms of payments, permit approvals, surveys and layouts. The more questions that have been answered ahead of time, the more efficient the builders will be in getting to the job and completing it. If they sense that there are important factors which are still undefined, you will pay a price in delays.
  7. Making strategic adjustments: From first step to the end of the line, the best project managers are ready to execute strategic adjustments while keeping the final goal in mind. A good map is the key to making timely adjustments which can produce significant savings along the way.

Every navigator needs a good chart, a good road map, in order to check his bearings along the route. This is especially true as the complexity of projects is rapidly increasing. The best manager will keep his bearings at all times and provide a transparent process for his whole team.

If you need help mapping your next project, don’t hesitate to give me a call.

Safe travels!    Tim Nichols (248) 470-3043

Groundbreaking at Skyline Industrial Park in Morenci, Michigan

GMJG, LLC has waited a long time for this day. The groundbreaking took place on Monday, April 2 on a sunny afternoon. In attendance were Morenci Mayor Jeff Bell, GMJG Partner Lucinda Swinney, her son Zac Swinney, City Councilwoman Susan Pierce, Tim Nichols of Tim Nichols Architect, City Councilman Jeff Lampson and City Manager Mike Sessions.

The groundbreaking started the first factory in a development that will populate the entire industrial park of 65 acres. The GMJG building will be just over 20,000 square feet and housing facilities for the production of medical marijuana.

Many local residents welcomed the event as a sign of major investment in their rural town on the Ohio border. They are looking forward to the expanding services and infrastructure that are already in evidence in the new water main under construction just 100 yards away.

Tim Nichols Architect played the pivotal role of preparing the site plan and construction documents for the project.

The Top 3 Reasons Why Building Permits Are Delayed

Every business in modern society is driven by deadlines and none more than construction. This is well known. What is less well-known is that the process of permitting and approvals in construction can result in significant cost overruns when projects fall behind or cannot be started.

In our experience, the top three reasons why building permits are delayed are:

  1. Miscommunication between customers, architects and plan reviewers before documents are submitted.
  2. Construction documents (CDs) have not been properly reviewed and corrected prior to submittal.
  3. Building officials comments are inadequately assimilated and CDs amended in a timely manner.

Tim Nichols Architect has worked for years to develop the technique of design-build in which CDs are delivered to the building department organized and easily understandable packages that building officials appreciate.

Because the plan reviewer can focus on foundation systems, for example, a permit for the part of the project can be issued promptly. Once the process is agreed and initiated, the documents go through permitting and approval in a timely manner.

If you have suffered from delays in permitting and approvals or if you have a project pending, call Tim Nichols today for an appointment.