FAQs AND QUESTIONS YOU SHOULD ASK

Let's take the mystery out of working with One One Ten architects and designers of the built environment.

Q + A

We have provided answers to common questions and more importantly identified key questions you should be asking any specialist of the built environment you are considering for the best team fit for your project.

The Practice of Architecture

+ WHY DOES ARCHITECTURE MATTER?

A: Architecture is the art, science and business of building. Architecture Matters because "the quality of architecture is a key ingredient of the overall quality of life of Canadians and of our society."


+ WHAT DOES AN ARCHITECT DO?

A: The practice of architecture involves the "planning, designing or giving advice on the design of or on the erection, construction or alteration of or addition to a building." It also involves "preparing plans, drawings, detail drawings, specifications or graphic representations" and "inspecting work and assessing the performance of work under a contract." The business of architecture starts with a commission from a client which may involve the design of a single residence, prominent public building or campus of buildings and the connective spaces between them. The client may be a person, a government department, a board of directors or a business corporation. In the best scenario, as the prime consultant, the architect leads and organizes a team of specialists including engineers and others who can contribute to a project. As the lead design professional, the architect keeps everyone organized and on schedule throughout the design and production stages of the project and, to the best of their control, adheres to a realistic project budget. The architect must also understand and apply building codes, bylaws and regulations set out by municipal, provincial and federal governments. Additionally, many architects serve in the community on planning boards or assist people in urban areas to affect change in the city and neighbourhoods they live.


+ WHEN DOES THE LAW REQUIRE AN ARCHITECT FOR BUILDING DESIGN?

A: Both the Architect's Act of Alberta and the Engineering and Geoscience Act align with the Alberta Safety Codes Act that regulate the type of buildings that require involvement by a design professional by law. In Canada, the requirement for professional involvement by an architect (and engineer) is based on occupancy type and limits on size and height (by storeys). For example, public assembly or institutional occupancies 3 stories or less in height under a prescribed area and storey limit do not require professional involvement. Much of the built environment tends to be carried out by non-professionals within this limited scope (single family homes, small buildings). Residential, personal services, warehouse and other occupanices have different limits as prescribed by the governing Acts.

Even when not required by law, it is best practice to consult an architect in order to make certian your building is designed competently and that the building constructed provides the greatest long term value and consideration in a particular environment. It is noteworthy to understand that engineers cannot engage in both the practice of engineering and the practice of architecture as defined in the Architects Act without a Certificate of Authorization from the Alberta Association of Architects.


+ WHO OWNS THE COPYRIGHT TO THE DESIGN?

A: Although a building that is constructed is owned by the client, in Canada the design copyright is owned by the authoring architect as intellectual property. At times, the architect may agree to transfer the design copyright to the client for a fee or express right to re-use the design with specific binding conditions. Regardless, changes are often necessarily made to buildings over time by owners, albeit sometimes without sensitivity to the design intent of the author(s).


+ WHAT IS AN ENGINEER'S ROLE IN THE DESIGN OF BUILDINGS?

A: In a collaborative partnership, an engineer's work is complimentary to the architectural vision of the building and it's overall performance and integrity. Engineers are integral technical specialists to the building design team. Most often, engineers support the architect by providing the necessary civil, structural, mechanical and electrical engineering systems that facilitate proper building operation. Their work also plays an important role in the life safety of the building by way of the systems they design. Through a dialogue with the architect, engineers working within their respective design specialties often innovate. Engineers are not usually responsible for the project direction or the contextual, socio-cultural, economic, spatial, material aesthetic or functional relationships of program that define architecture. However, this joint team adds expert value to each project that ultimately improves the quality and experience of city life.


+ ARE YOU COMFORTABLE WORKING WITH ENGINEERING CONSULTANTS UNFAMILIAR TO YOU?

A: While we are eager to try new things in the best interest of projects, we prefer to work with engineering firms familiar to us as they compliment and anticipate our project delivery process. Notwithstanding this, we are usually easy going enough to work compatibly with most engineering companies (but naturally there are a few engineering firms who just do not understand architecture, collaborate well or comprehend what motivates our work!).



About One One Ten

+ WHY ARE YOU CALLED ONE ONE TEN / 010110?

A: One One Ten's moniker 010110 refers to a calendar date (or timecode) when the practice was initially established as a New Year's resolution on January 1st, 2010 - 01.01.10. We choose to pronounce our moniker 'ONE ONE TEN' in reference to our inception date.


+ WHAT MAKES ONE ONE TEN UNIQUE AS A PRACTICE?

A: One One Ten started as a network of single professionals joining forces as a collective team to realize architecture and the built environment in the context of a new paradigm of professional practice in western Canada. As a team of architects and designers practicing together, our organizational structure purposely allows us to adapt to a profession in transformation and, in many ways, makes us more flexible to respond to the direct needs and requirements of our clients near and far. We also are deepening our base practice to ensure we have a solid foundation and the consistent support projects require.


+ WHAT AREAS OF ARCHITECTURAL PRACTICE DO YOU SPECIALIZE AND HAVE THE MOST EXPERIENCE?

A: First, we focus on modern residential spaces, creative work environments and recreation properties because those are the places people spend most their lives. Second, due to our collective diversity, we have significant experience across post-secondary education, health care environments, commercial retail and hospitality. We also provide master planning, building assessment and functional programming services across most sectors.


+ WHAT DO YOUR CLIENTS SAY ABOUT THEIR EXPERIENCE HIRING YOU?

A: Contact us and we can have past clients provide a referral to you in regard to your specific project and our record of service, competencies and integrity or simply check out our testimonials page.



Getting Results

+ HOW DO YOU FIND CONSENSUS WITH CLIENTS AND STAKEHOLDERS?

A: As each project we take on is different, our design process highly integrates with client participation and input. Early stages purposely explore the potential of program, the site and context of a place in tandem with client goals that define priorities. Along the way we periodically check back to assess how we are doing together and make appropriate adjustments. The process of consensus really is about integration and experiencing the journey together to arrive at the highest project potential within the timeline and budget permitted.


+ HOW CAN A CONTRACTOR PROVIDE VALUE EARLIER IN THE DESIGN PROCESS?

A: The short answer is to involve a contractor earlier in the project delivery process. Contractors do not excel at design (they are not designers), however, the contractor is responsible for the building process. Contractors perform best at developing strategies that improve constructability, maintain quality, schedule the building process and define cost. They also are primarily responsible for work site safety. Architects have a legal role to play during construction to ensure what is designed is constructed as specified and to ensure the determined standards are achieved. Every building success for an owner is the result of team work, proper coordination and an alignment of vision across a broad number of people.


+ WHAT IF I DON'T LIKE THE DESIGN RESULTS YOU PROVIDE?

A: A design process is a collaborative journey involving the client directly and other key stakeholders with our team. We find when the process is rushed or circumvented that outcomes become frustrated. Our design process is self aware and prevents this kind of distress by establishing buy-in at key milestones or phases along the way. We find most often the design journey is a joyful process of seeking and making. Our related services over time are the basis of our fees and are owed regardless of all parties preferring the end design, but we work very hard to provide the best possible design solution and seek to elicit strong cases for decisions that demonstrate a clear progression through design phases and finally construction.



Working With One One Ten

+ WHAT IS YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS AND HOW DO YOU WORK?

A: Our work method defines our creative approach to architecture. Our process starts with solid planning work and leads to a period of exploration and design synthesis without making presumptions about your needs or the end solution. We rely on our solid experience in direct conversation with our clients. Although there are industry names for typical project phases, a project can be broken into descriptive stages of work: Listen, Design, Detail, Document, Build and Celebrate.

We LISTEN to you with interest and empathy. DESIGN transforms ideas and dreams into space. We then select appropriate materials and DETAIL connections. We DOCUMENT design work by translating it into contract form. During the BUILD phase we lead communication and quality control. Finally, we CELEBRATE together and toast a job well done!


+ HOW DOES THE CORE AND COLLECTIVE TEAM REALLY WORK AT SUCH DISTANCE?

A: More than ever, technological tools easily facilitate One One Ten's collective team to work together. However, technology is not a replacement for the design process, communication plan or leadership. Under our direction, we utilize changing technologies to support our work as we endeavor to wield them to greatest benefit.


+ WHAT TOOLS DO YOU USE IN YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS?

A: We have a lot of interesting tools in our arsenal that include fast computers and analysis software, 3-D modelling and visualization capabilities and communication tools. We have not thrown out tradition and still find production tools like the pencil or marker, cardboard and sticky notes are still valuable in communicating ideas, but we prefer to think the minds that wield them are the greatest of all assets.



Getting Started

+ WHAT INFORMATION SHOULD WE HAVE BEFORE APPROACHING YOU ON OUR PROJECT?

In the best situation, clients come prepared with key deliverables for an architect to review and interpret in order to make sense of the key goals, design parameters and project vision. Architects often help clients in this early thinking stage to prepare these deliverables regardless if they are the architect who will carry on with the design work. These deliverables are part of a discovery phase of Pre-Design (PD) activities commenced at a time when clients are gathering information in advance of beginning a project or performing a feasibility or needs assessment. Integral activities may include creating an inception plan that entails a vision statement and project strategy, a feasibility study or business case, creating a functional program to quantitatively define what manner of spaces the building requires to perform as intended. We also assist to oversee the procurement of other specialists to gather information regarding a property such as a geotechnical investigation or topographic survey of the site.


+ WHAT ARE THE TYPICAL STAGES OF A PROJECT?

A: The idea for a project really begins with the client as they begin investigating the merit of a building project as a result of a change or improvement that needs occur. In a typical Design-Bid-Build delivery, the stages of a project proceed when the goals of the project are defined with consensus during a Pre-Design (PD) stage, after which the architect carries on into two distinct stages of design - schematic and design development. Schematic Design (SD) consists of a series of explorations investigating building concepts and alternatives while Design Development (DD) focusses on the best option produced in the prior stage. After the building design has matured and the project construction value is confirmed based on a well defined design, Construction Documents (CD) - drawings and specifications - are produced to describe the work to a level that a contractor can understand so the work can be tendered or bid and later constructed. The design and Construction Document deliverables are legal works known as the Instruments of Service.

While there are variables involved in more specific project delivery methods (design-build, construction management, bridging, etc.) there is a process that is known to everyone on the team to ensure proper delivery of the building outcome.


+ HOW DO YOU STRUCTURE YOUR ARCHITECTURAL FEES?

We base our fees on a percentage of construction cost because we have found this to be the best representation of the value we bring to a project. Construction cost is an indicator of quality and complexity and our level of involvement rises proportionally. We are creative professionals and the creative process is inherently non-linear, therefore it is often not in the interest of our clients for us to do hourly billing. For small scope changes we can provide a fixed fee.

Architectural services typically depend on many factors tied to scope, delivery method, project complexity and others. The Alberta Association of Architects (AAA) and Association of Professional Engineers, Geologists and Geophysicists of Alberta (APEGGA) have jointly issued the Recommended Conditions of Engagement & Schedule of Professional Fees for Building Projects (September, 2013) ratified through decades of practice research, client feedback and project data related to the intensity of effort required to deliver an appropriate standard of care for different project types. This provincial fee schedule is further complimented by a national Guide for Determining the Fees of an Architect compiled by the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) and supported in principle by the AAA. The provincial self-governing legislated bodies of architecture are among the oldest professions in Canada and have a duty to be ethical and protect the public while simultaneously maintain excellence in the built environment.

Expenses called disbursements represent an estimate of all reimbursable costs associated with the project. Disbursements on the project are billed separately from service fees.

"Price is only an issue when value is a mystery."


+ HOW CAN I ARRANGE FOR AN INITIAL CONSULTATION?

A: Due to the duration of most projects, hiring an architect is like beginning a relationship. People do not usually get married on the first date. As a potential buyer of our services we know that our work can be performed in steps. Ideally we use a method to help you get know us better and allow us to earn your trust. One of the ways we can introduce ourselves to you is to offer a short Discovery Consultation service for a project you are now considering. This early consultation prepares you with valuable information and professional insight to help you make early decisions about your project (when you are still gathering information and when changes to the project are inexpensive). Our comprehensive consultation will lower your risk by identifying key project considerations and requirements, potential opportunities, timelines, constraints and other roadblocks that determine the feasibility of your ideas. A major benefit of the Discovery Consultation is the end summary deliverable we provide completes the first Pre-Design step of a project forming the basis of departure for the design stage. Regardless of the architect you hire to move forward with in design (of course, we hope it is us) you will have a solid foundation to proceed with. We also offer a Professional Project Diagnosis which is a 20 minute conversation to help you gain insightful feedback.

Appointments can be made by contacting principal architect, Spencer Court directly.


+ WHEN CAN YOU START?

In most cases, depending on prior client committments and our simultaneous workload, we can begin work within five (5) days of a signed fee proposal or agreement.



Have a question of your own for us? Let us know.


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