Frequently Asked Questions
This page has been structured to organize Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's) by category. The primary focus of this page is to be on Architecture & Development. Our team believes in transparency as a foundational element to equipping clients for success. Please do not hesitate to contact an experienced team member below should there be any additional questions regarding any of the processes and answers listed.
An Architect is someone who designs Structures for People.
There are two primary sub-disciplines with which Architects are typically concerned: (1) Form and (2) Function. As rudimentary as this may initially present itself, both Form and Function are incredibly difficult for an untrained individual to properly execute. Each structure is comprised of a series of interlinked criteria governed by constraints that are either defined by the Client or other Key Stakeholders such as Government Bodies, Private Organizations, etc. As the subject client begins to describe their primary criteria and goals, it is the responsibility of the Architect to comprehend and execute optimally a strategy for adhering to both the Key Stakeholder’s goals and to avoid acting harmfully in self-interest.
Architects are primarily focused on ensuring that a building is:
(1) Aesthetically Appealing
(2) Designed to Flow Properly
(3) Safe for those who live in or use it.
To complete the above points, an Architect needs to understand the client’s goals, budgetary restrictions, target timeline, spatial needs, and a general idea of the occupant’s lifestyle. If the project is a residential building, the Architect should understand how the client will live in the space. If the project is a commercial building, the Architect should have an idea of the types of people working in the space or the customers who may use the space. Architects are typically given quite some power with respect to design processes. Instead of designing a house from the Architect’s perspective, it is also their job to ensure that they still account for the client in all stages of the design process.
Architecture is the overarching discipline that governs the best practices by which an Architect should adhere. It is often directly linked to Real Estate Development, with Architecture contributing a portion of the collective Development Process. It is first best to understand the steps in the Development Process, and then note at which phase an Architect‘s scope is initiated.
In the simplest of terms, an architect typically:
- Understands basic Zoning Regulations - i.e. make sure you can actually build what you want to build.
- Understands general costs - i.e. helps ensure that you don’t design a space that is far too expensive to build. This may seem simple, but most people do not actually have a firm idea of what constitutes “Cheap” vs “Expensive” building materials, and how this actually affects the project budget.
- Ensures that the structure is safe - i.e. what many people do not understand is that majority of Architecture is paperwork. The Architect needs to understand things like: sizes of hallways for accessibility, sizes of windows for fire escapes, and things of this sort.
- Ensure that the structure is aesthetically appealing - i.e. Architects should typically focus on creating balance in the space. This ensures that there are proper bones for an Interior Designer and Interior Decorator to properly create within the space and deliver the correct mood.
Architecture contributes a piece to the overall Development Process. Architects can occasionally consult in sourcing land or existing buildings, but their scopes are typically initiated after the client has purchased or is about to complete the purchase of a plot of land or existing building.
The Architecture Process oversees completion of a project which materializes by following a set of prescriptive stages. In the most formal aspects, an Architect will follow an extensively detailed checklist, and complicated projects will often require quite some organization to materialize. In the most basic aspects, an Architect should follow a simple checklist to ensure that even small projects can be appropriately standardized.
Typically architects are involved in the development process after the parcel is secured, and after the property is closed, with title is in hand.
However, our firm and best practices also dictate that it is better to involve an architect earlier in the process, especially when there are questions about restrictions with respect to zoning and other portions, that may hinder the development process.
It is always smart to approach the process, stepwise and involve professionals earlier in the process if possible we therefore recommend that if you are even as early in the process as sourcing a proper parcel, to contact one of our specialists for further direction and assistance. Our team is equipped to handle complex queries in ensuring that your calls, or as satisfied as possible, regardless of what is presented given that it is within the realm of feasibility.
In all development projects our fees are estimated and communicated upfront. Total fees will depend upon the size and scope of the project, and are standardized in most scopes.
Any fees that cannot be estimated upfront will be communicated to you as the client so that there is an initial understanding of anything additional that may be part of the development process.
Contact our team to obtain an estimated fee structure for your development project.
Typically a pre-fabricated structure will be pre-approved to be built and therefore the plans associated will be semi-complete. The plans must still be tailored to the actual site depending on site conditions and other factors that may affect the construction.
Pre-fabricated structures will still typically need to undergo an additional level of approvals, which Taylor the design to the actual parcel which is to be developed. This is when an architect would become involved as a professional with that need to obtain approval for building the pre-fabricated structure on the parcel as selected.
The short answer is yes, pre-fabricated structures do simplify the process. However, they typically do not come with enough documentation to completely eliminate additional architecture or engineering scopes that may be required.
As the development process is extremely complex and can involve many layers, the first step is to understand what your budget and risk appetite likely are. A risk appetite is the amount of risk that you are willing to undertake as an individual.
Once the budget and risk appetite are determined, it is simpler to focus the strategy on to any form of asset class that would assist in providing you with a direction. From this point A qualified architect may be sourced who may an assist in outlining your goals and vision and then helping craft a strategy to proceed henceforth.
Our team undergoes an extensive due diligence process, which begins with the empty parcel or proposed project. Experts, then analyze in extreme detail, all of the portions that would contribute to the development, including budgetary, constraints, development, constraints, zoning, constraints, or any other potential constraints that may hinder the process of the project.
In doing so we may discover early on that a project becomes in feasible. This is rarely the case however, also possible in this scenario, our team may also propose an alternative solution that could still satisfy some of the needs of the development space for a parcel.
Ultimately, your finances are a driving force of the project, and should therefore be approach with the most amount of caution.
Please note that this is not financial advice, and that all decisions that are financially oriented should be consulted with a licensed finance professional in the appropriate municipality or jurisdiction.
Any portion of the real estate industry should be approached with a high level of patience as it can take up to many years to develop a certain space, depending on the scope of the project, and any other complexities that may arise therein. A simple renovation may be completed in as few as six months, including the purchase of the property through the filing of permits through the construction process however, something as complicated as a rezoning of an existing parcel to develop another space can be extremely time consuming. Therefore, it is important to source the appropriate parties who are knowledgeable in the spaces to assist in ensuring a successful outcome
1. Not cross-verifying the professional's licensure - most professional services require licensed professionals to undertake scopes. Always ask for the professional's license number, insurance information (if available) and a portfolio of past projects or description of prior work to ensure that there is some level of professionalism.
2. Rushing processes - oftentimes, development follows a strict set of prescriptive steps to ensure success. Requesting that a portion is expedited may come at the expense of quality in later phases.