General Design Dilemma


blakel39
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I need some advice.

My question is not related to Chief Architect Software at all but I am a user of CA since 2007.

I recently started working with a client that has me really scratching my head.............in their proposed remodel she is adamant about such things that as a professional I would never do!  Such things as locating a Powder room directly (and I mean directly) off of the dining/living room!  I've tried to explain to her that there arises privacy and ventilation issues............even with a mech. vent guest WILL hear and smell the occupant.  But she does not want to hear it!  Further she is also 'hell bent' on having the kitchen directly off of the living room where there is no exterior wall to locate a window for ventilation.  Again, I've tried to explain to her that the noise of a 600 cfm vent in the living room is unpleasant...........again, she won't budge!  There are at least 2 other issues that I care not to mention but I don't know what to do! 

I live in a small community and I am so afraid of someone visiting her refurbished dwelling and asking.............."who did your design?"  She mentioning me, and from then onI'm referred to as doing awful designs!

Is this a case of the client is always right or should I try finding some way of getting out of the contract without telling her that her design is something I don't want my name associated with?

 

Thanks

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Unless you REALLY need the work, it sounds like you will be better off not taking this job. 

 

The other thing you could try if you do take the job is find some articles written by other design professionals that backup what you have tried to explain to this person. 

 

Some people are bull headed enough not to want to take common sense advice.  I have had some customers a little like that that eventually come full circle and finally see why I suggested a certain layout. 

 

No guarantees though ... good luck.

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This person  IS NOT your client!  Nothing good will come from this.  If for some reason you decide to move ahead maybe you could enlist the aide of the local building inspector to suggest that the things she wants are not code friendly or some term that makes it seem against the code without actually saying that.    Even if that worked I believe there will be a long list of other unpleasant things to follow which very well may effect you getting paid in full.

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I have no problem giving people what they want - it literally defines my job - it's what I do - it's a promise I make to the client going in etc. etc. I advise, then get out of the way and get them what they want.

 

Everyone is different though - your call.

 

You could be very upfront if you can't go forward and simply tell them, "I won't put a powder room there." ...and see what happens.

 

Let us know what you decide.

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This job is not going to make any magazine's, so do it. After all we work for money, don't we. I always try to please every client, even if it wouldn't be the way I would do it. I know what I like but someone else might not. What your talking about here doesn't seem to be anything that hasn't been done many time before. As long as it's not something really bad, it just a matter of taste.

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I would make sure that you are defined as the one that is preparing construction documents, and the client assumes all design liability. 

Not sure there would be any genuine 'liability' for bad design and just think, if the house gets sold you can do like a design build client I told this situation to has done more than once and change the powder room location for the new owner. Win. Win.

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Hello Folks!

Thanks so very much for the advice!  I just had a meeting with the client where at the beginning I asked her if I could talk to her as if she was my wife ;) ..............she agreed!  After running through the design 'faux pas' with her again and explaining to her possible revisions she politely declined.  I then expressed how the existing concepts where not something that I felt comfortable with, detailing that there have been many designs that I did not like personally but they ultimately made decent use of form and function.  I then proceeded to propose to her that I continue with the design as she wanted but the Planning, Building, and Tender Documents will be submitted by her without my Logo attached.  Further, when discussing her project during and after construction she will reference herself as the designer and me as the draughtsman (and I will advise on structural matters).  I told her that I would adjust my invoicing accordingly and we both left happy!! 

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There seems to be some inference that there's an actual problem getting the client what they want and one should protect themselves from this imaginary problem with a paper trail or maybe even keep your name off a design that the client really wants.

 

We are all different but if I have a client that I work for and I give them what they want, they recommend me to the next client, who recommends me to the next.

 

Don't get me wrong, I ALWAYS advise, and just now moved a powder room door from the kitchen/dining room to the hall way (the new designer on board put the door facing the kitchen/dining room) and I don't anticipate an argument about the door location.

 

If the client does indeed want the door facing the kitchen, they get the door facing the kitchen, and my reputation grows just that little bit stronger because I was able to overlook what I wanted and got what the client wanted.

 

It's an art really listening to the client and I am fortunate to not have any formal training and am able to produce designs that clients love, because I ignore the rules, listen to them carefully and get them what they want. I think it's a winning formula and never lost any work that I know of because I pleased the client.

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I used to be a landscape contractor and did a job for an engineer. He wanted his irrigation valves set up in his garage off the cold water feed from his hot water. Can't remember why and of course it's the stupidest idea I had ever come across for many reasons. I told him the downsides, adding another possible leakage vector being the biggest of course, and recommended we put them outside but he wanted them mounted inside the garage.

 

I put them where he wanted and he was another happy customer. I know, I know, all the legal reasons I shouldn't have and should have not done something to protect myself from another imaginary problem but that was 20 years ago, have no idea what became of the job or house but got him what we wanted without making him feel stupid. Just installed it the way he wanted.

 

Of course I wouldn't install anything that violated code (and heck maybe this did but it was many years before I knew what a code was) but placing a door where a customer wants it? No brainer. Left hinge or right.

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