Architectural services are basically "Advice"

File this under “Education of an Architect”People hire me for my professional advice. This may take the form of helping them design a house or do some master planning or a simple addition. It all boils down to advice. Some people try to hire me for drafting but I try to make it clear that if I see something that isn't working or is unnecessarily complicated or un-buildable or even just plain stupid, I'm not going to ignore it. There are often times in the process when the client and I disagree and depending on how important the issue is, I'll push back. If the issue is not so important such as a siding material or color I'll say my piece for the record and then lay off. If the issue is a bigger one and involves the client basically shooting themselves in the foot in terms of budget or previously stated design/function goals or sustainability issues or if it would result in something so ugly that I wouldn't want my name associated then I'll push harder but only up to a point – I'm not much of one for a fight and I'm not the sort who comes into a project with a slick attitude of “I know what's best”. There are times when I've gotten kicked off a job or removed myself because of such issues. Things that had I caved in on would have come back to haunt me later. The architect is an easy entity to blame for design decisions when all is said and done even if there is a good paper trail showing the architect's protestations. Sometimes clients state a set of expectations up front involving budget, design goals, functional requirements and time frame that represent an unsolvable equation. This is where a slick architect or builder has the initial advantage over me. If I am unsuccessful at helping the client re-define these parameters, (sales and education) then I walk. In the past I may have been naïve enough to go forward with the project anyway but when proven right, I got the blame. Sometimes, I see completed projects that I turned down and another architect was hired where it is obvious that the other architect was a better salesman and educator than I and the compromises that I recognized would be necessary are apparent in the final product. Sometimes, I don't take a job and hear later though the grapevine about how the clients fought with the architect and everyone came out with sore feelings and tarnished reputations. The projects pictured on my website (I really need to get out and photograph a bunch of recent projects) never represent what I would have done on a given site and with a similar set of design parameters but instead represent advice – some taken, some not.