Mountains of Montana

Mountains of Montana

Headwaters Camp Trail – Pioneer Mountain View

Architect’s Journal Entry

MOUNTAINS OF MONTANA #djawest :   Well the day finally came.  I had postponed the dreaded walk since the very day I had arrived early last week.  My discomfort in taking a quiet trek near the origins of the Gallatin River by way of the Headwaters Camp trail wasn’t due to impossibly deep snow; where only a couple of inches had accumulated and that in the heart of winter would have easily equaled several feet.  Nor was there any concern for Grizzly Bears known to frequent these parts; that during a period of hyper-aphasia or storing of last minute calories may have decided that I was the equivalent of a Happy Meal.  No, the real crux of the problem was that I had saved this one remaining experience over a week long visit in review of completed works for my last day, and now that day had come all too quickly.

Words cannot possibly begin to convey a feeling or emotion well enough to be shared or understood by others.  How does one capture the sense of place, song, passage or remembrance that moves the heart or soul?  Such things are often deeply personal and occur in a moment of silence; the kind of silence I had experienced while in the palm of Lone Mountain, the Pioneer Range and Cedar located deep within the confines of the Yellowstone Club in Big Sky, Montana http://www.yellowstoneclub.com/  I was once again humbled and pretty sure that it was a hapless snow flake that had caused my eyes to blur in a swell of appreciation, admiration and respect for this magnificent place.

Front page news of the economy, war, politics and paying the bills have been too much of a distraction for all of us in recent days and during this final walk of solitude the mountains gave me pause, perspective and demanded my full attention in a way that only this kind of place could.

During this time of uncertainty may we all think of the Mountains…for our walk in life can sometimes be too brief and may pass all too quickly; be grateful for family, friends and distant places.  For true value resides in such things; events and circumstance will change by the day, however may the things that matter most to you and yours remain forever like the Mountains of Montana!’  http://www.djawest.com/

Advertisements

Dan Joseph + Associates Master Builder

blueprint for construction work with helmet and tools

Dan Joseph + Associates
Master Builder

Dan Joseph Architects now offers Master Builder Services.

Question:  What is a Master Builder?

Answer:  A Master Builder is a career path and chosen profession where real time construction experience is augmented with formal education, rigorous examination and licensure.

Within one person there exists the following capacity.

  1. Design Responsibility – Including deep artistic abilities, design knowledge, drawing skills and an intrinsic understanding of people, environment and dwellings; a formal structured education for shaping and constructing all elements of the built response (including buildings, parts of buildings, landscaping and the urban environment).
  2. Responsibility for Construction – Expert knowledge of construction as obtained from higher education, examination and actual construction experience, on-site project management (involving leadership, organization, supervising workers, financial oversight and artistic discernment).
  3. Complete and total authority on the Building Site – Authority over all on-site activities including design, construction decisions; authority over all workers and unquestioned authority over the entire construction phase from start to finish.

Master Builders greatly differ from today’s Architect or Contractor; in breadth, scope and depth of responsibility.  Today’s Master Builder is a licensed, fully insured Architect who has practiced and thrived in the public arena of a competitive, bid-build industry.

Question:  Why has Dan Joseph Architects elected to offer Design-Build Services as Dan Joseph + Associates, Master Builder?

Answer:  The continued practice of allocating various portions of responsibility separately to Architects and Contractors can no longer be debated as the most practical or cost effective method of project delivery.

Summarizing, placing sole project responsibility in the hands of an ethical, effective, experienced and fully transparent Master Builder, consolidates accountability, preserves integrity and will result in the best solution for the least cost.

At Dan Joseph + Associates we have chosen our career path as that of a Master Builder; we are highly educated in our discipline, have been subjected to rigorous testing and licensing requirements, and have thrived in a open market of a competitive bid-build practice.

Give Dan Joseph + Associates a call…or feel free to visit us in Big Sky, Montana; we offer innovative solutions, are always an Owner’s advocate and welcome the opportunity to assist you with your future Architecture and Construction needs. #djawest

Dan Joseph + Associates, LLC
PO Box 12770
Jackson, Wyoming  83002

Ph 307.733.3735

Dan Joseph Architects – It’s in My Nature

DJA_HWC

It’s in My Nature #djawest

Remaining faithful to nature and thus to a greater truth is organic architecture’s yardstick.  Organic architecture should begin and evolve naturally; allowing buildings to emerge from the ground with a sense of belonging.  Nothing is arbitrary, but rather a natural harmony or rhythm as opposed to something strained.

These attributes have also defined my career of assisting clients and companies; refining goals and achieving aspirations alike.  Rare and uniquely qualified, I am a multi-talented and broadly experienced Architect and Construction Administrator; naturally evolving within a challenging and demanding profession.

Beginning as a competitive Bid-Build Contractor, I founded one of the top Contracting firms in the nation. It was during this period that I recognized knowing how to build was a matter of science and technology that often times calls into question ethics and aesthetic responsibility.  Equipped with this knowledge, my desire has been to empower Owner’s from a critical, responsible and fully informed perspective.

I truly enjoy the practice of Architecture.  Applying a comprehensive understanding of the built environment with a professional and artistic response, I design and create unique solutions including structures, relationships and results that are deserving of your consideration.

Specialties: Architecture, Engineering & Construction (AEC) as a “Single Point of Contact Service.”
Award Winning Master Planning & Design
Dependable Cost Analysis
Owner’s Project Representation

Dan Joseph Architects, LLC
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Djawest.com

 

If your Life was measured in Summers, where would you spend them?

If your Life was measured in Summers

View of Teton Range interior of the Bar BC Ranch

IF YOUR LIFE WAS MEASURED IN SUMMERS #djawest Tired, perhaps even a little sore you rise for another morning; one more cup of coffee and a tense commute to the office…the trip home will likely be more of the same.  Undoubtedly, the sacrifices have all been worth while; the kids are in college or have transitioned into promising careers, the mortgage is manageable and a little personal time for reflection seems to be more of the norm.

So what will be next in the grand scheme of things?  If you are like me, “quality of life” seems to occupy my thoughts more than I’d care to admit.

Pausing for just a moment, go find a tape measure; put your left thumb on your current age and place your right on 72.  This approach provides a great visual for really comprehending the number of quality years remaining as contrasted to say an average person.  Now let’s take that number and convert them into summers.  And so there it is…if your remaining life was measured in summers, where would you spend them?

For me remote jagged mountains and blue skies speak to my most inner passion and love of life.  There are few other places that really affect me as deeply and spiritually as does our unspoiled western landscapes of the Rocky Mountains; and very few that speak as loudly as Jackson Hole’s Bar BC Ranch http://www.barbcranch.com/ (see pic inset).

Humbled describes best how I feel when visiting this very special community; an historical 1,400 acre Ranch located in one of Wyoming’s most scenic corridors and at the confluence of the Snake and Gros Ventre Rivers.  It doesn’t really matter what your life’s circumstance may be…the Teton Mountain Range, Teton National Park and blue skies for as far as the eye can see will absolutely command your attention.

In final word, I find it comforting knowing that some things are difficult to measure in years or inches; that there are ridgelines and river bottoms I may never walk, snow flakes and fish I’ll never catch…and just knowing that they exist certainly adds to my quality of life; God willing…the remainder of my summers will be spent in the splendor of our beautiful American West.  http://www.djawest.com/

Selecting a Site and Getting to Know an Architect

Selecting a Site and Getting to Know an Architect

Eagle Rock Reserve, Bozeman, Montana

SELECTING A SITE AND GETTING TO KNOW AN ARCHITECT:  You have just purchased the place of your dreams, the views are spectacular and the possibilities seem endless. You want to protect your investment and to fully realize your hopes and aspirations. Perhaps you are ready to hire an architect….but which one, why and what kind of service should you expect? While I could write an entire book on this topic alone, I’ll begin by hitting upon just a few key points; helping you along in a process that may otherwise seem intimidating.

Asking that an architect walk a parcel or two before your final purchase is perhaps one of the most overlooked opportunities that I know of. A casual stroll over a plot of land allows you to measure a number of variables: the architect’s temperament, personality, competency, communication skills, artistic vision, passion, respect for place and a holistic, educated, informed opinion about location; helping you to arrive at that next level of decision.

For larger tracts of land (multiple acres), the best opinions will generally come a few days later; after the many possibilities have had a chance to cook….or reduce to the essence of place. If available, be prepared to offer a topographic plot of the parcel or an aerial illustrating property boundaries, adjacent improvements, etc. before walking the land.

HOW TO COMMUNICATE YOUR WANTS

Architecture is technical competency expressed as art. Competency alone will not guarantee you of a successful solution; however an artistic professional may very well achieve something remarkable. Look for passion, sensitivity, reservation, a quiet soul that will allow themselves to be absorbed by the intangibles. When expressing your project to an architect….think about how a radio works. In other words when discussing a vernacular or architectural vocabulary, dial in on the channel you would like to hear…say Modern Mountain, Western Rustic, Post & Beam, Craftsman, perhaps a mix of two or more and so on. Then think about volume, how loud would you like to hear the music? Just like the volume knob on a radio, you can turn up or down the variables of design and character to suit personal taste and budget.

YOUR ROLE IN THE PROCESS

Once you have decided on which architect to hire, execute your understanding of fees and services with a Standard AIA Owner-Architect Agreement. AIA Agreements have withstood the test of time, are impartial and have proven to be the best document available for defining the obligations of both parties. Have your attorney review the agreement before endorsing the final contract.

Before beginning the first phase of activities with your architect, have a topographic survey for your parcel prepared at 1’-0” increments and anything else your architect may request. Such surveys should include easements, setbacks, utilities, building envelopes, compass bearings of near and distant views, improvements and alike noted and illustrated plainly on the document. You’ll want a “boots on the ground” survey, commonly referred to as a field survey. Do not trust aerials as a sufficient tool for understanding much of anything; other then a rough idea of the property lines. Now is not the time to save a few bucks and an inaccurate survey can cost you big time later on. Do not expect your architect to provide survey services, the liability associated with this practical need cannot be justified.

If you haven’t already ordered a geological survey of the bearing capacity and underlying geology of the site before purchasing the parcel, then you will need to under take this task next. Your architect will want to understand the particulars of the proposed building envelopes and the required built solution response to each unique location. The idea is to avoid differential settlement and perhaps if located in mountainous terrain, the avoidance of below grade obstructions, etc. Again, do not expect your architect to provide this need to service. However in each case (surveys and geotechnical reports), your architect can be helpful by providing you with reputable companies, approximated costs and contact information.

THE BUILT RESPONSE

Early on you will want to consider how to manage the built response. Because the many advantages…Design-Build has exponentially become one of the most desired methods for project delivery. Design-Build is by where the architect will contractually provide all services; from concept to completion. Often times the architect will engage a pre-qualified general contractor and provide as “Single Source” accountable, professional services, construction management, project budgets, allowances, progress review and delivery of the final product. As always exercise good judgment; not all architects will be qualified as capable in delivering this level of service. Discuss your architects experience, capacity and understanding of the process. (please see Design-Build link below)

The alternative to Design-Build will be to engage for the built response directly with a reputable general contractor; the architect in return would be designated as the projects construction administrator. Under this type arrangement each entity will report to you directly for the services provided. Again AIA Standard Agreements are available for your use. Either way, insist that budgets be respected and quantified for each level of the evolving design.

PROFESSIONAL SERVICE TASKING

Each architect will possess their own way of tasking through schematic design and design development; however each will need to gather the stats: budget, site improvements, square-footage, programming, captured views, building vocabulary, etc. Sketch renderings of elevations and floor plans will assist you with understanding that the tones of the architect’s intention, are demonstrating a working comprehension of your preferences.

Design Development is generally your last chance to direct changes before entering into the preparation of the Construction Documents. Construction Documents are the blueprints of your final built solution. It is the responsibility of the architect to provide all consulting services (structural engineering, civil engineering, mechanical, electrical, plumbing, geothermal, specialty and alike), necessary in the preparation of the construction document. I prefer that consulting fees be separate from the architects, so that when comparing services of another, it is plainly evident what the costs are. Afterwards, a competitive solicitation of supporting services can be shared with you and a simple overhead and profit margin applied upon the final selection. Final selection of consulting service can be made under a joint review performed by owner and architect alike, with preference given to the best qualified respondent. The owner should yield to the architect’s qualified and professional judgment; however the architect must be prepared to make the case as to why or why not a particular consultant is to be considered. An owner should never engage consulting service directly and will be discussed further under “Chain of Accountability”.

IT’S ALL IN THE DETAILS

The architects Construction Documents (Con Doc) must be sufficiently detailed as to help avoid Change Order extras that may arise in the absence of ones ability to quantify all work entailed. Missing detail is often the reason for escalating project costs and with some effort during the architect’s Con Doc phase of service, building costs can be held in check. Elaborating, while there is no one formula on how much architectural detailing will be enough….too little often means more profit for the architect and a built solution that will be delivered at a premium cost to you.

ACCOUNTABILITY

Now let’s talk ‘Chain of Accountability”…far too often over zealous owners and builders alike are quick to allow changes with substitutions of materials, inferior standards, means, methods or in other words to compromise performance and safety criteria of an approved and specified requirement, for a perceived savings. The very moment of this occurrence, a snowball effect of liability is placed upon the shoulders of the party breaching the architects approved standard. Some changes may result in nothing more then a cosmetic difference, while others could result in catastrophic failure, exponential cost in remedy, or in a worse case scenario…loss of life. Maintain a Chain of Accountability for which the architect is insured. If a change is desired, discuss it with your architect and have a Change Order (add or deduct) issued for the want. This process will keep everyone accountable, informed and most of all protected.

As always Dan Joseph Architects http://www.djawest.com/ is ready to serve your needs; give me a call….I would enjoy meeting you, walking the site and discussing my process of bringing you the best in Professional Services.

POINTS TO REMEMBER

1. Asking an Architect to walk your parcel(s) will help with understanding the potential of multiple locations, while also providing some feed-back regarding the Architect themselves.

2. Architecture is technical competency expressed as art. Competency alone will not guarantee you of a successful solution; however an artistic professional may very well achieve something remarkable. Look for passion, sensitivity, reservation, a quite soul that will allow themselves to be absorbed by the intangibles.

3. DO NOT USE AERIAL SURVEYS WHEN ACCURATE INFORMATION IS REQUIRED.

4. Early on you will want to consider how to manage the built response. Because of the many advantages…Design-Build has exponentially become one of the most desired methods for project delivery. Design-Build is by where the architect will contractually provide all services; from concept to completion. (see link below)

5. Request that consulting fees be separate from the architects, so that when comparing services of another, it is plainly evident what the costs are.

6. The Construction Documents must be sufficiently detailed as to help avoid Change Order extras, that may arise in the absence of ones ability to quantify all work entailed.

7. Maintain a “Chain of Accountability”; require that all changes…on any level, be managed by Change Orders (adds, deducts and even if there is no difference). #djawest

Click on the link below to view Design Build attachment:

http://www.djawest.com/DesignBuildBrochure.pdf

No Kid Hungry . . .

No Kid Hungry

NO KID HUNGRY #djawest :

Pledge with us at Dan Joseph Architects http://www.djawest.com/ we believe that no child in America should go hungry.  By pledging today, you add your voice to a National movement of people committed to ending childhood hunger in America.  Visit http://www.nokidhungry.org/ if you would like to join in the fight to end childhood hunger.