When it comes to taking on new clients or maintaining a solid working relationship with current ones, it’s important to communicate your needs, preferences, and expectations as an architect. Having solid plans laid down and openly communicating at a transparent and regular pace helps you create the best design solutions for a project, while also strengthening your clientele.
Architects who fail to communicate ideas, plans, or changes could be assuming too much and find themselves in messy legal claims that can arise from unfinished work or failing to find common ground on a project. It’s important to keep Architect Professional Liability Insurance claims at bay by investing in the right kind of insurance and the right kind of communication outline. Here are some important things to discuss with clients to keep a healthy, open communication line open.
While talking about money is never an easy thing to do, it’s best to be upfront and forward about it. Architects need to work with clients to outline a realistic estimate through a cost analysis, which includes everything from operating and maintenance costs. Go over what’s best for your client based on their project’s scope, but also be open to their suggestions when it comes to budget and limits. Getting everything out in the open from the start will help to alleviate financial stress for both parties, as well as cover you legally in the event of a claim.
A client will more than likely come to the table with a million different ideas and maybe even a fully outlined concept for exactly what they want. You, as the architect, should take everything into consideration and blend it with your own ideas and realistic takes on what you can do within a certain boundary. Architects and clients should come together on space requirements, aesthetic ideas, and time frame. Covering all the bases in everything from look and feel to schedule will allow you to keep expectations realistic.
Location, Location, Location
It’s important to fully research the site that the client’s job is on. Get down to the nitty gritty and pinpoint unusual or troublesome site conditions (i.e. soil, drainage, slopes). This will help you set realistic expectations with your client as far as how these conditions affect the proposed project. Plus, having physical proof of these conditions will support your assessment, which can lead to a job moving forward with understanding or stopping before it starts; which, in some cases, may be the best option to avoid legal issues and troubled relationships.