If You Build It... Working With Architects

Whether you're talking about an individual unit owner's renovation project or a major capital improvement that affects the whole building, chances are that there will be an architect involved at some point, to a greater or lesser degree. Sometimes this person will interact mostly with the board and management, sometimes with just the individual resident, sometimes with a board-appointed design committee, and sometimes with all of the above.

Let’s take a look at the two ways that architects typically liaise with boards and property managers:

Capital Improvement Projects

Let’s say the board decides—after the usual period of review and back-and-forth with the shareholders—that it’s time to renovate their building's lobby, or replace the roof, or (as sometimes happens) squeeze a 2,000-square-foot gym into the 1,000-square-foot basement space. It’s time to find an architect.

“We get involved at the initial stage,” says Howard L. Zimmerman, AIA, founder and president of Howard L. Zimmerman Architects, P.C. in Manhattan. “Once the decision is made to re-do the lobby, or whatever the project is.”

The first step is the bidding process.

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