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blogpost – time

I got my coffee to-go, but I’m still at Morning Times. It’s raining – to walk outside would be to swim. Timing can change your plans.

How far back do we go with this – my dad was known for being early, actually being early to being early. We would get to events in time that we could be there early for warm up before the event. And then I had a best friend who was older than I, had a car and would pick me up – a couple years into that friendship, I realized she was always, by the clock, fifteen minutes late. I often think I’m still trying to catch up to those fifteen minutes. It’s probably a deeper condition that could be treated through programmatic therapy. But of course, upon adulthood, those are just excuses.

Time is a part of a construction contract, but it’s rarely a component of a design contract. In construction, Time relates directly to the cost of materials. In design, time is almost always boiled down to as-soon-as-possible. As a professional service, fees are computed as a factor of time. To finish a job in less time, actually means less service to the client. However, that’s rarely the clients’ perspective. It’s true that there’s a difference between “faster” and “sooner,” but it’s easy to confuse the two on either side of the table.

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Our office is busy this week. We’re thankful – lots of new clients, all urban work, things we like to do. However, the way I know we’re busy is that I make too many promises, mostly about timing.

I heard today about an architect (famous, Scandinavian) who doesn’t give schedules to his clients. It’s the artist’s prerogative, like an author arguing with his publicist. A demand: "When will it be done?" A response: "I’m working on it." To say I don’t know when work will be done sounds irresponsible. If I try to be accurate, considering all the office and market variables, it’s never what my client wants to hear. I don’t mean to lie. I don’t intend to keep my clients waiting. I understand that they have budgets and commitments, and they’re trying to figure out their business as much as I am.

But we do like to plan. In fact, I’m forming a policy right now: Dear clients, from now on, I will give you a written schedule at the beginning of the job. I won’t be bound to it because it’s a fair gamble which one of us will screw it up first, but you’ll know what’s coming next, and we’ll both try to keep pace.

The rain has cleared. Back to the office to catch up on time.

Andy Osterlund AIA | LEED AP
Andrew Osterlund, Architect, PLLC
19 W Hargett Street, Suite 700-A | Raleigh, NC 27601
(919) 889 6823 | | TWITTER: aoarch

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Osterlund Architects is a full-service architecture and interior design firm, committed to our clients and their work from concept through construction, and through to their next opportunity. Our firm has expertise in all project phases, including programming, pre-design and planning through construction administration and closeout, as well as interior design, including furniture, fixtures and equipment (FFE) services.

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