Policies: Not Your Traditional Architecture Firm
No charge for meeting time
Communication about your project is vital, and to that end I do not charge for meeting time during the design process. Initial consultations are free, as are all design process meetings.
LD Arch Design uses a shared home-based paperless office to eliminate commuting and use fewer resources. This not only keeps the ecological footprint lower, but also keeps overhead costs down so that architecture fees can be lower. The office space is passive solar, with excellent natural light, breezes, and views for good productivity. Meetings and reprographics are done off-site. Billing and communications are done via email or phone as often as feasible. Usually it makes sense for project meetings to happen in the space that is being designed if applicable, but they can also happen in coffee shops or other available spaces.
Architects can structure their fees on an hourly or a percentage basis, or as a fixed amount. I prefer to use a fixed fee, as I feel that percentage-based fees are very open-ended for the owner and do not encourage the architect to design for a lower construction cost. Often clients do not have a clear idea of their needs when we begin the process. In this event, I use an hourly fee until we have identified the scope of the project, at which point I propose a fixed fee for the whole project.
Design should be fun
If you do not enjoy the design process, then I have failed. The process of designing your own space should be invigorating, challenging, and fulfilling. I cannot promise that there will be no stress, as change is often stressful. But the results of the changes should be worth the hard work and hassles.