Behind The Design 003: Canal House by The Ranch Mine

Project Name
Canal House

Project Location
Phoenix, AZ

Firm Name
The Ranch Mine

Architect’s Name
Cavin Costello

Project Design Team
Cavin and Claire Costello

Consultants
MPE Engineer, Structural Engineer, and Civil Engineer

Firm Address
4340 E Indian School Rd. Suite 21552, Pheonix, AZ

Website URL
www.theranchmine.com

Instagram Account
@theranchmineofficial

Photography Credit
Roehner + Ryan

Photographer Instagram Account
@roehnerryan

What was the marketing strategy behind acquiring this project? If it’s a development project, what is the marketing strategy to sell it?
Our marketing strategy is primarily the same across the board, for acquiring and selling, which is using social media as an ongoing story. This allows us to educate future clients on what is important to us, how we work, what we are working on, what we’ve recently completed, what is available, etc. We actually weren’t looking for the property, but we received the call because it was someone

Continue reading "Behind The Design 003: Canal House by The Ranch Mine"

What Was I Thinking?Four Lessons in Telling the Truth

My First Assignment

Many years ago, before Annmarie and I started our residential architecture firm, I was a project manager with Kaeyer, Garment & Davidson Architects in Mt. Kisco, New York. I worked very closely with the senior partner at the time, Dick Kaeyer. My first assignment as Project Manager was a major addition and renovation project for a church and facilities in Yorktown Heights. Dick designed the project and I developed it through construction drawings. Then, in order to learn the tips and tricks of construction administration, Dick and I worked as a team through construction. Everything was going very smoothly and I was feeling very confident, until the windows were delivered. I will never forget the day. A sunny summer afternoon, I was attending the project meeting alone and the first window was being installed. The owner looked at the new Andersen Sandtone window and said, “The windows Continue reading "What Was I Thinking?Four Lessons in Telling the Truth"

What Was I Thinking?Four Lessons in Telling the Truth

My First Assignment

Many years ago, before Annmarie and I started our residential architecture firm, I was a project manager with Kaeyer, Garment & Davidson Architects in Mt. Kisco, New York. I worked very closely with the senior partner at the time, Dick Kaeyer. My first assignment as Project Manager was a major addition and renovation project for a church and facilities in Yorktown Heights. Dick designed the project and I developed it through construction drawings. Then, in order to learn the tips and tricks of construction administration, Dick and I worked as a team through construction. Everything was going very smoothly and I was feeling very confident, until the windows were delivered. I will never forget the day. A sunny summer afternoon, I was attending the project meeting alone and the first window was being installed. The owner looked at the new Andersen Sandtone window and said, “The windows Continue reading "What Was I Thinking?Four Lessons in Telling the Truth"

How Project Accounting Will Transform Your Architecture Firm

Take the Time to Examine Project Financials—You Won’t Regret It

Your projects have many moving parts, and sometimes tracking their financials might seem overwhelming. You might not get all the information you want or maybe, you don’t even bother to determine the profitability of each project because it would involve too much time. It’s completely understandable, but if you want to get serious about boosting your firm’s efficiency and profitability, you need to start monitoring your project financials in a routine way. You can do this through what we call project accounting. It sounds simple enough, as it is essentially the practice of accounting on the basis of individual projects. In reality, though, it’s so much more. If you do it correctly—and have the right tools—project accounting will transform your firm. You’ll keep projects on schedule and within budget, you’ll have more time for new ideas, and you’ll experience the
Continue reading "How Project Accounting Will Transform Your Architecture Firm"

How Project Accounting Will Transform Your Architecture Firm

Take the Time to Examine Project Financials—You Won’t Regret It

Your projects have many moving parts, and sometimes tracking their financials might seem overwhelming. You might not get all the information you want or maybe, you don’t even bother to determine the profitability of each project because it would involve too much time. It’s completely understandable, but if you want to get serious about boosting your firm’s efficiency and profitability, you need to start monitoring your project financials in a routine way. You can do this through what we call project accounting. It sounds simple enough, as it is essentially the practice of accounting on the basis of individual projects. In reality, though, it’s so much more. If you do it correctly—and have the right tools—project accounting will transform your firm. You’ll keep projects on schedule and within budget, you’ll have more time for new ideas, and you’ll experience the
Continue reading "How Project Accounting Will Transform Your Architecture Firm"

Every Architecture Project Has Four Corners

Begin with Intention

Effective project execution is associated with successful achievement of design intent, high-quality construction, profitability and efficiency. Effective management indeed rests in part with a project manager’s ability to deliver a quality project on time and within the approved fee. But profitability and efficiency of design and production are not the only markers of successful project completion. Successful project delivery relies on the manager’s understanding of the constraints and goals of the project, both those of the firm and those of the client. At project kick-off, identify your client’s priorities. At periodic intervals and at the beginning of the next project phase, confirm whether these are being met or if their importance has changed. We must understand the importance of clarity of intent with respect to project goals. The team benefits when this information is clearly communicated to the project team: upward, downward and laterally.

Look Outside

As
Continue reading "Every Architecture Project Has Four Corners"

Limit Their Stress By Limiting Their Choices

When performing our Design Development phase with clients, we typically assist them in selecting all their finishes, plumbing fixtures and lighting. It’s an Additional Service, but one that most clients are happy to have us complete. The process of selecting is completed most efficiently when we discover and learn, through questionnaires and images, what our clients like and what they dislike. Then, with a thorough knowledge of their taste and personal style, we offer a limited number of items from which they select. We find that when clients attempt to perform this task themselves, they are often overwhelmed by the almost infinite number of choices from which to pick. They have access to hundreds or even thousands of materials, fixtures and finishes from which to choose. The overwhelm of the process typically leads them back to us and our efficient system of selection… There is a fine line Continue reading "Limit Their Stress By Limiting Their Choices"

8 Reasons Why You Should Provide Construction Administration On Every Project

One of the most popular topics discussed throughout the EntreArchitect Community is the role of the architect during the construction phase. I am often surprised by the number of firms providing architectural design services and forfeiting the final phase of the process, Construction Administration. Here is a recent comment from the group;
“I need to get better at selling my clients on construction administration. Most think they do not need it and refuse it when offered. I had a recent client back out on (the service) because my drawings were essentially too well done. Once they saw the final drawings, they decided the contractor could handle it without my involvement.”
This is a common problem; architects offering Construction Administration and their clients opting out.

Construction Administration Is Not An Option

During the past few years, we’ve begun to discuss, as a profession, “taking back” the process, regaining control of Continue reading "8 Reasons Why You Should Provide Construction Administration On Every Project"

Better Project Management for Small Firm Architects

better project management

11 Steps To Better Project Management Systems for Architects

One of the most important of all the tasks we perform as architects is Project Management. The success of each project sits squarely in our hands. If managed poorly, a single project may set our progress back years. If managed well, it can take us to great heights. I’ve been continuously improving my firm’s project management systems since we launched in 1999. With each new project, I learn more and modify the systems we follow. Here are my eleven steps to better project management systems for architects;

1. Create systems for success.

Systems are the sound structure of a successful architectural firm. They establish the discipline required for financial success and the freedom to develop a portfolio of highly developed architecture. We create systems by breaking down our projects into many separate processes. Every firm, with any experience, has many of Continue reading "Better Project Management for Small Firm Architects"

Better Project Management for Small Firm Architects

better project management

11 Steps To Better Project Management Systems for Architects

One of the most important of all the tasks we perform as architects is Project Management. The success of each project sits squarely in our hands. If managed poorly, a single project may set our progress back years. If managed well, it can take us to great heights. I’ve been continuously improving my firm’s project management systems since we launched in 1999. With each new project, I learn more and modify the systems we follow. Here are my eleven steps to better project management systems for architects;

1. Create systems for success.

Systems are the sound structure of a successful architectural firm. They establish the discipline required for financial success and the freedom to develop a portfolio of highly developed architecture. We create systems by breaking down our projects into many separate processes. Every firm, with any experience, has many of Continue reading "Better Project Management for Small Firm Architects"

Better Project Management for Small Firm Architects

better project management

11 Steps To Better Project Management Systems for Architects

One of the most important of all the tasks we perform as architects is Project Management. The success of each project sits squarely in our hands. If managed poorly, a single project may set our progress back years. If managed well, it can take us to great heights. I’ve been continuously improving my firm’s project management systems since we launched in 1999. With each new project, I learn more and modify the systems we follow. Here are my eleven steps to better project management systems for architects;

1. Create systems for success.

Systems are the sound structure of a successful architectural firm. They establish the discipline required for financial success and the freedom to develop a portfolio of highly developed architecture. We create systems by breaking down our projects into many separate processes. Every firm, with any experience, has many of Continue reading "Better Project Management for Small Firm Architects"

White Windows

WhiteWIndows

Originally posted on February 22, 2007, this was the seventh entry on the site and was the first full length article I shared. The lessons presented then are just as relevant today. Be honest, have integrity and any error, omission or mistake you may experience will always work out.

My First Assignment

Many years ago, before Annmarie and I started our residential architecture firm, I was a project manager with Kaeyer, Garment & Davidson Architects in Mt. Kisco, New York. I worked very closely with the senior partner at the time, Dick Kaeyer. My first assignment as Project Manager was a major addition and renovation project for a church and facilities in Yorktown Heights. Dick designed the project and I developed it through construction drawings. Then, in order to learn the tips and tricks of construction administration, Dick and I worked as a team through construction. Everything was going very Continue reading "White Windows"

Unforeseen Horror Stories

IMG_0496

Unforeseen Conditions Could Destroy Your Next Project Moldy flex duct. Buried waste pipes. Decades old aluminum wiring with frayed cloth sheathing. A leaking oil tank buried in the front yard that no one knew existed. Structural beams chopped and abused throughout the history of the house by tradesmen forcing chiseled routes for their new pipes and ductwork. Any of this sound familiar to you? Discovering unforeseen conditions can be one of those events that tip the balance of an architectural project, causing it to spiral out of control into a flaming pile of budget over runs and angry hurt feelings. If not properly managed, unforeseen conditions can destroy the relationships among every party involved in a project. As residential architects, my team and I uncover unforeseen conditions on every project… and that is the key to success when managing these situations. It Happens on Every Project Unforeseen conditions are there, Continue reading "Unforeseen Horror Stories"

5 Cost Estimating Mistakes You’re Probably Already Making

Estimating (This is a guest post by Eric Halsey.) There’s an irony in the fact that everything else can go right on a construction project, but if your cost estimates are off, it can still wind up costing your firm time, money and reputation. Accurate construction estimating is essential for your firm to prosper. All too often, the problems in your construction cost estimating aren’t immediately obvious. You see the consequences, but not the causes. Finding those problems, particularly when they’re small and seemingly innocuous, is the first step towards bringing greater efficiency into your business. If you’re struggling with this issue, here are 5 cost-estimating mistakes you’re probably making. 1. Using Hand Calculations
You need the right software to do quality construction cost estimations. There’s just no way of getting around it. If your employees are still performing cost estimation calculations by hand, you’re creating a greater risk of Continue reading "5 Cost Estimating Mistakes You’re Probably Already Making"

Managing Your Client’s Happiness

One of the keys to success for small firm architects is client satisfaction. Keep the client happy throughout the project and that happy client will lead you to more happy clients. Our clients don’t like surprises. They want to be fully informed and up-to-date throughout the process. Expectation Management is an important practice that must be included […]

EA092: Profit… Then Art [Podcast]

12 Steps to Business Success in Architecture I’m a day late on producing this episode because Annmarie and I just returned from Minneapolis, Minnesota where we attended the Custom Residential Architects Network 2015 Symposium (aka CRAN). This was the second CRAN event we attended. Last year we traveled to Charleston, SC, which was a fantastic […]

How To Manage Your Architecture Projects Using Evernote

Every morning, as I prepare for my day, I sit down at my iMac and launch my most critical apps. I use the native Mac Mail for email. Nozbe for managing my tasks. Fantastical 2.0 is my current calendar of choice and all my AutoCAD drawing files are safely backed up and accessible on Dropbox. Each app helps me stay productive whether I am in the studio or on the road. And then there’s Evernote. I’ve been using Evernote for a few years now and it has slowly become my most useful tool. Evernote collects all my thoughts and ideas. It organizes my personal life, life at my architecture firm Fivecat Studio and here at EntreArchitect. Together with my Fujitsu ScanSnap Scanner, Evernote now stores all my most important documents. I haven’t opened a metal file cabinet in over a year. In my never-ending quest to find the most
Continue reading "How To Manage Your Architecture Projects Using Evernote"

How To Manage Your Architecture Projects Using Evernote

Every morning, as I prepare for my day, I sit down at my iMac and launch my most critical apps. I use the native Mac Mail for email. Nozbe for managing my tasks. Fantastical 2.0 is my current calendar of choice and all my AutoCAD drawing files are safely backed up and accessible on Dropbox. […]

Learn to Use Deadlines with Skill

The deadline is a critical tool, used by the most successful people in the world to make things happen. When teaching about business planning, author/speaker Dave Ramsey says, “Goals are dreams with deadlines.” It’s the deadline that will take our intentions and turn them into reality. Without them, life flows into the void and our […]