F.A.Q. (Frequently Asked Questions)

Because you want your project to be a success.

Because an Architect will help your vision to become a built reality: Architects are trained in “the big picture,” and will consider all aspects of a project to accurately translate your vision from concept to built form.

Because an Architect will assist you in navigating through the complicated building process: An Architect will make your life easier by helping you to:

  • Identify the critical elements of your project
  • Refine your ideas and the design to achieve your goals
  • Define the requirements of applicable zoning laws and building codes
  • Develop a realistic construction budget
  • Select a competent Contractor for your project
  • Ensure that the construction proceeds according to your project’s plans and specifications
  • Provide support to you and your General Contractor with answers to questions that may arise during construction

Because hiring an Architect is an investment that can save you money:

  • An Architect will develop the plans for your project to ensure that the design meets your programmatic requirements as well as your budget
  • An Architect is trained to design efficient, well-proportioned rooms that flow properly, thus avoiding wasteful spaces that cost money to build, decorate, heat and cool
  • An Architect is skilled at designing aesthetically correct buildings, thus increasing the value of your project
  • An Architect will protect your financial interests during construction

Often people learn of an Architect from word of mouth, or from seeing a project either under construction or published in the media. People also look to professional organizations such as the Architectural Licensing Board of the state where the project is to be constructed or the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards for lists of Licensed Architects in the project area. It is advisable to interview more than one Architect: Architectural firms structure their services and their fees differently, have diverse attitudes toward design, varying approaches to resolving a project’s challenges, and distinct personalities. This last point is significant – the building process from design through construction can be lengthy, complicated and frustrating at times, so it is very important to hire an Architect who you are comfortable with, who communicates well with you, and who you feel understands your goals for your project. You should make sure that the Architect is duly licensed in the state where the project is to be built, you should check the Architect’s references, and ask to look at samples of the firm’s work. Both completed construction projects and Construction Documents should be reviewed to verify the extent, thoroughness and quality of detailing.
  • Schematic Design: Based on the program and budget established by the Client the Architects prepare Schematic Design Sketches to illustrate the scale, location and relationship of project components.
  • Design Development: Upon the Clients approval of the Schematic Sketches the Architects develop the design concept to better define the various parts of the project, and to begin identifying finish materials and mechanical systems. At this point the Architects do preliminary costing assessments to verify that the design is in keeping with the budget. If required, the Architects and Clients make adjustments to the design and / or budget accordingly.
  • Construction Documents: After approval of the Design Development Drawings the Architects prepare Construction Documents that spell out in full detail the requirements for the construction of the project, including structural and architectural specifications as well as recommendations for the electrical and mechanical aspects of the project.
  • Bidding and Negotiation: The Architects prepare bidding packages and assist the Clients in the procurement of bids from qualified Contractors. The Architects help the Clients to analyze the bids in order that the Clients can make their final selection.
  • Construction Contract Administration Phase: During construction the Architects make periodic site visits to check on the progress of the work and to verify that the construction is done in conformance with the information given in the Contract Documents. The Architects keep the Clients informed on the progress of the work, review General Contractor’s submittals, answer questions that may arise, and help the Clients prepare their punch list at the end of the Construction.
  • Some firms provide only partial services and opt to not to be involved in the construction phase. At KATZ/NOVOA, it is our practice to provide the full scope of Architectural services: we believe that this allows us to best serve and protect our Clients and their projects.

In addition to the Basic Scope of Services Architects can provide a wide range of services to their Clients, such as:

  • Developing the program and /or budget for a project
  • Measuring, documenting and preparing as-built drawings of existing buildings
  • Procuring approvals and variances from government agencies such as Planning and Zoning Boards, the Department of Environmental Protection, and local Construction Offices
  • Coordinating with various consultants and professionals involved in the project
  • Interior Design
  • Construction Management

The amount of time required to complete the Design through Bidding phases of the services varies greatly, and is dictated by many factors including: the complexity and size of the project, the Clients’ ability to make decisions about the design options, the number of design revisions required to arrive at the right solution, and the time necessary for the Contractors to complete their bids.
Firms use various methods to structure their fees – some base their fees on a percentage of the actual cost of construction, others on a percentage of the average of the construction bids; in both cases you can expect the percentages to fluctuate according to the size/cost of the project, and may include a “not-to-exceed” clause. Other firms base their charges on hourly rates that vary according to the firm members involved in the project. At KATZ/NOVOA our preferred fee structure, as long as the project scope is fairly well defined, is the Fixed Fee; it allows the Clients to understand from the outset how much they need to budget for Architectural Services.

There are four characteristics that distinguish us:

  • Our expertise in understanding and deciphering our Client’s needs and expectations, and ultimately translating them into a built project that responds to those needs.
  • The fact that both Principals are intimately involved with each project. Our Projects and Clients are never handed off to inexperienced staff. This translates into outstanding Client Service and highly personalized attention that insure our Clients a positive experience during every phase of their project.
  • Our focus on producing Client and place specific designs. This means that we don’t design within one given aesthetic vocabulary or style. We produce designs that fit our Clients’ aesthetic expectations, their lifestyle and budget. This also means that we produce environmentally friendly designs, that is, designs that harmonize w/ their surroundings and that avoid wastefulness.
  • Our attention to detail and careful consideration of quality, coupled with our mindfulness of Clients’ budgets. Whereas great design is our main goal we are also very mindful of our Clients’ budgets, and we work hard to keep our Clients focused on their targets, often reminding them that “less (can be) more”.