Design things JOSH just doesn't do:
Bi-fold doors: Have you ever opened those bi-fold doors into your closet, and thought, "WOW, these slide open really nicely...I wish all my doors worked this smooth!" I didn't think so. Other than nice Nana Wall or LaCantina doors that open onto beautiful rooftop decks, bi-fold doors just are not a valid solution.
Corner tubs: Putting a tub at an angle in the corner of your bathroom may seem like a good idea, but they just take up so much space. Any way you slice it, they do take up more space...trust me. Unless you have an enormous bathroom, lets consider another option.
Siding between nearby trims: When a door is designed nearby another door or window, the trims around those openings are intended to combine into one wider trim or to change to a completely different contrasting material (as shown on your elevation drawings). The last thing we want to do is put thin slivers of siding (or painted drywall on the interior) between those trim boards. Whenever possible, I design the trim of one opening to touch the trim of another. Nobody wants to get a paintbrush with just 3 bristles and paint that area anyway;)
Pretty close but not quite: Design is all about visual organization. When things are aligned or centered upon one another, they appear balanced, symbiotic, and show true craftsmanship. If two items are just slightly off from aligning, they WILL be noticed...and not in a good way. It will look like a mistake. If a ceiling beam is offset an inch from the center of a window trim, you can clearly see that offset. The best thing to do is to make them perfectly centered OR to intentionally make them "way off" like you weren't even trying to align them together. That way it won't look like a mistake.
Glass block: um no.
Allow clients to get their own permits: On most projects, it is required that a licensed architect get the permit. Occasionally, a client wants to work with the building department and get the permit themselves, but this means I need to train you on how to do that. I get tons of permits for my clients, and I do it very efficiently because of all the practice I've got over the years. It has NEVER been time effective or a cost savings for a client to try to do this on their own. It's a tough process, and it's also not a fun one. It's kind of like dealing with the DMV when you get your license photo. I know how to deal with these "people," and I'm happy to do it easily on your behalf. I will even fight the building department on your behalf to get what you want. Codes are complicated and ambiguous, and I have become an expert at interpreting them in your favor. I have tons of fun stories from previous project on how I have helped "beat the man" if you ever care to hear them.
Encourage clients to print their own large format 24"x36" drawings: I have a much easier and cheaper method of printing drawings. Believe me, FedEx Kinkos will "F it up!" Please see www.josharch.com/printing for more info on printing.
Here's your permit, GOODBYE: I like my job as an architect because I like to see cool architecture built. PERMIT DRAWINGS DO NOT EXPLAIN HOW TO BUILD A BUILDING. Permit drawings really only tell the building department how tall your building is, how energy efficient it is, and how much space it occupies. There is no way a builder can properly build your project by simply reading the permit drawings unless he or she is an architect with tons of experience. Architects design several projects simultaneously, while builders only build one or so at a time. Statistically speaking, architects are involved with at least 10 times more projects than builders and have a broader perspective on the coordination of all applicable features such as sun angles, views, building codes, engineering, aesthetics, materials, spatial relationships, etc. If you "kick out" the architect after you have the permit, the builder is really designing your project. The builder is responsible for (and profits from) building your project as quickly and cost effectively as possible (which does not typically result in fulfilling your design intentions). The architect is your representative during construction. We want to ensure the builder isn't cutting corners, and foremost, we want to ensure that the builder isn't designing your project. From my years of experience as an architect and carpenter, I have the insight during construction to find problems before they become problems, quickly develop appropriate solutions for construction issues to prevent delays, and the personality that enables me to be allies with a builder while still not afraid to tell them, "quit being a sissy...it's not going to cost any extra to do this the right way. Let me know if you need me to put on my tool belt and show you. It's easy. I've done it before."
Draw plans without a survey: Occasionally a project can be done without one, but normally the building department will required a survey be prepared by a licensed surveyor to document your property lines and the location of your building within them. The enables us to confidently plan your project without going too far into the side, front, or rear yard setbacks. The last thing anybody wants is to find out your building is within the setback, and you need to take it down.
Negotiate fees or reduce bills: If I mess something up, I will be the first to admit it and make it right. Trust me. I've messed up once. I dropped a client's check in a puddle, and the bank wouldn't accept it. I had to ask the client to cancel the check and send a new one. That takes time, so I asked the client to deduct their hourly rate from the invoice amount. I take a lot of care and caution to ensure I do the right thing with the information available. I also do things more efficiently than humanly possible. I surprise myself at the end of most days. Talk to any of my previous clients. They will tell you the same. My design fees are commensurate with the level of service and expertise I offer, and they enable me to be paid a reasonable middle-class wage while paying for my insurance, office expenses, etc. I also do not meet with potential clients for free. This would not be fair to my current clients who are paying me for my time. This helps to keep my rates lower for everyone while also weeding out "potential clients" who will never become one of my "previous clients." I care a great deal about the well-being of my clients and our projects, and I would hope that my clients have the same care for me. Construction is a seriously huge expense, and I respect (and am honored by) the investment you are making in choosing me to be your architect. At the end of the project, at your open house party, you'll love the grin on my face when you introduce me to your neighbor and say, "this is Josh, my architect."
Clean up my mouth and wear a suit: I'm in the construction industry. I'm going to step in mud, I'll be up on ladders, and I'm going to bump my head in your crawlspace and say, "shit!" Sorry in advance.