Author Archives: shelleymfreeman

What’s with percentage fees?

I’ve been thinking a lot about fees lately.
A couple of reasons (apart from needing money to pay for childcare):

  1. I have a great relationship with a number of clients who are paying me hourly. I find this method of payment lends itself to an open and collaborative process where on one side the client’s wants and needs are being prioritised and on the other side I am being paid for each hour I work…win/win
  2. I have a deteriorating relationship with a consultant – where I am on the other side – and feel taken advantage of by an exorbitant hourly rate…lose/lose

So is an hourly rate a better way to charge for architectural services than a percentage fee?

To clarify in case any non-architect reads this post, a percentage fee refers to a fee for architectural services that is tied to the construction cost (or estimated construction cost or client’s budget or some even vaguer idea).

Some of the recurring questions that arise with percentage fees on projects:

  1. How do you ensure adequate fees for small (ie low budget) projects?
  2. How do you ensure clients their budgets are not being ‘blown out’ for the sake of more fees (or appear this way)?
  3. How, if the budget does increase, do you tell your client ‘it’s not my fault and btw you need to pay me more’ without it looking like 2.
  4. How do you encourage more people to explore architectural ideas and potential (with an architect) without the need to commit to a full architectural service?

It is this last point where I believe there is so much work for architects.  We can actually provide a meaningful service that may not be about an end product (or a photo of an end product). The idea you have to commit to an architect (and an architectural project) after one meeting is like getting married after a one night stand…

Ummm I might stop with that analogy at this point, it doesn’t really translate to the whole hourly rate argument as well as I had hoped.

Hourly rates are good.

 

 

 

 

Moral Rights PART II

The purpose of the previous post was not to say ‘Oh well, missed out this time around, I’ve learned my lesson, next time I’ll make sure I talk to my client about moral rights, it won’t happen again’.

While I was composing the post I was also in contact with my client and Alice Blackwood, the writer of the article.

To Alice it began with a tweet reply to a photo she had posted of the space:

@aliceblackwood bit slow on the pick up but unhappy not to be credited for my design work here 😦

A bit lame in retrospect, but I was treading cautiously and nervously – unsure how best to approach her, unsure about whether I was over-reacting or not.

However once it was put out there my concerns were almost immediately addressed by Alice.

We ended the day of back and forth messages and emails with a phone call discussing issues of attribution and how this is particular rife in the more fickle retail design sector, how we could explore the topic in more detail in a further article, online vs print publication and when we could meet for a coffee to talk about all of this and my work as well.

Oh and with regard to the article, it was an oversight that can easily be amended.

It’s funny, I have spoken with many architect friends about this. They often have their own story to tell, how they were pissed off but didn’t do anything about it.  Or they retell the story of someone they know and how they can’t believe it happened.  Or they just complain about us being ‘too polite’ not ‘fierce’ enough as individuals and as a profession.

It could also be that not being credited makes us feel like we have failed, and no one wants to talk about that, right?

Moral of the story of Moral Rights:
Question the omission – it is more than likely an oversight or error.  The beauty of on-line content is that it can be easily fixed.
And remember to have that conversation with your client!

Share your story and/or follow up on that incident that’s been eating away at you and let me know how you go.

Will Work For Shoes PART V – Moral rights

I didn’t know about this article from last year until a friend came across it and sent me the link.

http://www.habitusliving.com/desire/wilfredandenric

Sure I can publish this project on my blog and website (if I had one), tweet about it, instagram photos until the cows come home but how great it is to actually be published by someone else!?  I just wish I was mentioned in it…

So over the past fortnight I have agonised over how to write about this in a productive and fair way.  It is not about blaming anyone or seeking pity for poor ole me not getting my name in lights.  It is a question of Moral Rights, our relationships with our clients and our ability to empower our clients to not only contribute and collaborate during the design process but take ownership of their design without losing our own connection to it.  This last part is critical to my practice, but clearly I am yet to work out how to achieve this balance.

For any readers unfamiliar with Moral Rights, as part of the Copyright Act  Moral Rights protect the rights of artists (including architects), our reputation and the integrity of our work.  Key to this is our right to be attributed as the designer of a project when it is constructed, publicised or represented in print. (Definition courtesy of Acumen)

The Australian Institute of Architects Client and Architect Agreement has a clause for Moral Rights:

The architect must be attributed in any Public Information about the project promulgated by, or on behalf of, the client or architect, whether the project is complete or not.

If you do not use the standard Client Architect Agreement or DIA Design Agreement make sure your own version includes a clause on this.  More importantly (as we all know most clients will never read the contract) ensure to have a conversation with your client with regard to Moral Rights,  attribution and how mutually beneficial this is – actually maybe have a couple of conversations with them about it.

For an excellent article on Moral rights and architects

 

Clients and where to find them

For a while now, I have been meaning to do a post on projects in progress

and I will,

when I come up for air.

But none of these PiPs (projects in progress) would be possible if there weren’t clients.

So where do they come from?

Last week I was at Officeworks printing some drawings for a current project and started chatting with the woman at the counter next to me.

‘Ohhhh, that’s a big block’, she said, glancing over, ‘where is that?’

Within 30 seconds we had established that she was looking to buy a block of land in the Dandenongs, that I was an architect, and that maybe fate had brought us together.  Maybe it had…

But while I’m waiting, let’s look at the origins of my clients this year:

  1. W+E Shoe Gallery (see earlier post) – partner delivered the mail to her old shop
  2. Living Cubed – referral from old business partner
  3. Inside Henry – friend of a friend
  4. Hornby of Plenty – friend of a friend (Same friend as 3. She has lots of friends)
  5. Cranked Macedon – contact via Architours Andy
  6. Thornbury Three – contact via Architours Esther
  7. Blazey of Glory (BoG) – follow on from 6.

So the moral of this short tale:

Smile and talk to the person next to you

>>>do this anyway<<<

Opportunities are all around you

If you are not out there you may not see them.

Link

Nesting Ground Stories

The reason I have not posted to my blog over the past month is clearly because I was busy writing this for Nesting Ground…

Well, that’s my excuse anyway.

 

Click title above to read

(That may be totally obvious to you but as this is the first time I have posted a link in this way I wasn’t sure myself so thought I’d just mention it in case)

Archi-Tour of Berlin

Well…not really…

But this coming Friday could be close(ish) – An exhibition of Gerrit Engel’s BERLIN PHOTOGRAPHS will be opening at the Academy of Design in Port Melbourne. Courtesy of the Goethe Institute, 42 of a series that numbers more than 200 of his photos will be on display.

The subject matter:
buildings
buildings as objects
buildings as objects against a grey sky

INVITATION_Gerrit_Engel (2)

The selected images cross time, geography, history, style and form. Some buildings are iconic, many others are more obscure, but they are all buildings as objects against a grey sky.

1936_trudelwind 1830_pfaueninsel 1959_rotaprint

Gerrit specifically takes the photos with an overcast sky so that all objects are equal, presented objectively. This also gives them a stillness and neutrality that makes them very accessible. You can allow yourself to be absorbed by them like Mike TeeVee in Charlie and Chocolate Factory.

You are (I am) there.

The exhibition is on until September 6 – For more information http://www.goethe.de/ins/au/lp/ver/vme/de11213266v.htm
(please RSVP if you can make it to the opening – I will be delivering the floor talk)

Find information on Gerrit Engel’s Berlin and more  http://www.gerritengel.com/_en/projects/berlin/

And don’t forget the local (Melbourne) tangible version of the Architour can be found right here http://www.architours.com.au/

Will work for Shoes Part IV – Wilfred and Enric

w+e_01
The Wilfred and Enric Shoe Gallery is an example of a truly collaborative process between architect and client.
The design process was rich with brainstorming. We tried many design options before settling on the final concept for construction.
The care and rigour with which Vel Tasevski, the Director of Wilfred and Enric shoe gallery curates her shoe and accessories collection and her background in film production is evident in the final outcome.
The flexible retail space has a clear design intent + vision, careful detail and material resolution and a great feel…and the shoes are AMAZING!

w+e_06

w+e_03

w+e_02

Wilfred and Enric is found in the basement at 1B Stanley St, Collingwood

http://www.wilfredandenric.com.au