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Posted by Mary in PA on 11/5/2010

A bombshell of sorts was dropped on our project a few days back, and it was our architect flying the plane. Well, maybe I overstate, but that’s how it felt at the time. I haven’t posted much about our work with the architect since our start, not so good first draft, and my stint with Chief Architect. To catch you up: I needed a pro to produce the construction drawings, and I decided to use the original architect, since he had done a site visit and was familiar with our project. So, way back in July I contacted the architect and we started work again in August with a mutually-agreed finish in November. Then I would submit for a building permit in early December to avoid any possible problems regarding the adoption of new building codes on January 1st – which may require residential fire sprinklers.

Since August, work was progressing slowly but getting there – and it was tremendously exciting to finally be getting the house plan done. But then on November 1st, the architect let me know his new finish would be somewhere around January 15th. In a discussion to attempt to work out the schedule problem, I was incredulous when he stated that he had a new client who also needed their drawings done by the end of the year... a client who was building in “the” place to live in our area. (And no doubt represented quite the professional coup for him – a far cry from our somewhat modest owner-builder project in the hinterlands). I guess he knew the position he was putting us in, because he ended the conversation with an offer to let us take the drawings elsewhere if we wanted to.

The next day, in exchange for a signed a letter releasing his copyright on the drawings, I paid the architect in full for all of his time on our project. Not the best deal for sure, but I really needed a release on those drawings. Throughout the brief transaction, I was astounded that he apparently considered this completely normal and ethical business behavior. So be it… time to move on.

Over the next couple of days, I focused all my time and effort in getting hooked up with another designer, pronto. When I found one I liked I explained our need to pick up midstream in the process, get the construction drawings done, and submit before the end the year – preferably by mid-December. Our first meeting with the new designer was today, November 5th, and it went very well. Both John and I are cautiously hopeful that this will all turn out for the best.

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