Using an Owner’s Representative to Help Hire an Architect

Conceptualizing, designing, and building new construction is a huge undertaking, and it’s not something many project owners and investors have the time or skill to take on independently, no matter how interested they are in expanding their portfolios or building a new custom home.


Recognizing that our individual expertise can only be stretched so far and that there are only so many hours in a day, it often makes sense to turn to an industry expert to manage and oversee the construction process for you.


This is where an owner’s representative comes in, and partnering with one starts well before the build is underway.


What is an owner’s representative?


Clients who are not real estate- or construction-savvy frequently hire an owner’s rep to represent them and protect them during the build process.


An owner’s representative’s primary role is to ensure that the owner’s goals and wishes for the project are achieved with the build. Their job is to assume responsibilities for the owner, advocate for them, and make decisions that will protect the owner and their best interests.


This includes making sure that the scope of work is inclusive of the project owner’s wishes, that the contract reads appropriately so the owner is not being taking advantage of, that the budget is in line with the owner’s goals, and so on.


Using an owner’s rep to select an architect


Selecting an architect is one of the biggest decisions an owner needs to make at the outset of a project. There is a lot riding on the making the right choice, as the architect will be with you for the duration of the project.


We’ve partnered with numerous skilled architects in our career, but as an owner’s rep, there are a few things that have prevented us from recommending a given architect in the past. Generally it has to do with the availability and attention an architect will be able to dedicate to a project, as well as an architect’s expertise in the project’s given sector. An architect can be highly qualified, but if they specialize in residential and you want a medical build, it just won’t be a good fit.


Protecting the owner


Architects are savvy and know they need to competitively bid on projects in order to win, but sometimes a lack of industry understanding by the owner can backfire on them.


For example, the architect may quote a price for the job with an understanding that it includes and excludes certain details. Someone who is not familiar with how industry contracts work might be in for an unwelcome surprise when they get charged at an hourly rate instead of the expected contract rate they were quoted.


We’ve seen this come to light when there’s a misconception about what’s included in the fixed rate. For example, if you are building a custom home and you choose to go pick the tile or light fixtures with the architect, they may charge you an hourly rate at $250/hour for each trip back to the store. Conversely, if you tell the architect what you’ll be looking at – a certain type of fixtures and specific colors – then you will get a fixed quote to do these same selections with them.


The difference between a fixed price to make the selections versus returning to the store a dozen or more times at an hourly rate could be the difference of tens of thousands of dollars.


An owner’s representative protects you from issues like these and works to proactively avoid other issues that could cause your budget to skyrocket or your timeline to drag out.


For more about how an owner’s representative protects you from the very beginning of a project, get in touch with us at Seacoast Construction. We can schedule a free consultation to discuss your build and goals.




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