B-101 - Owner Architect Agreement - Article 3 - Scope Of Architect's Basic Services 3.1.6

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    Scott Barber

    Hi Pierre,

    In my experience, the amount of work for this is fairly minimal compared to the overall project, and won't require additional services. Since it's listed under "Scope of Architect's Basic Services" I would take it as such - I don't know of an exception where additional services would be required (could be possible I suppose, but nothing comes to mind).

    The practical application of "assist" will vary, but often we will fill out forms, or give them information to fill out the forms they need. It depends on the client, project, AHJ requirements, etc. When I worked on a project in a historic district, we gave them information for them to fill out their forms (or in that case, for their lawyer to fill out their forms). In projects with typical zoning requirements, we filled out most of the forms and sent it to them for their signature and submittal. 

    Again, the amount of time it takes for us to fill out a form is fairly minimal for the most part, and serving our clients in this way builds our reputation and makes them appreciate our services. 

    Hope that makes sense! I'm sure there are other experiences and thoughts - that's my 2 cents from my (somewhat limited) experience...

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    Pierre Antounian

    Hi Scott,
    Thank you that was very helpful and your response was very clear.
    So if the Architect was asked to submit the documents in person, that to would qualify as “assist” correct?
    Again thank you! Super helpful.

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    Scott Barber

    I'd think that would qualify as "assisting" as well, within reason. If the project was located in another state, I doubt any owner would expect the architect to travel a long distance to do so. Instead, the owner could submit the documents (if they're located in the same area), or they might even have their contractor (assuming they have one under contract, or with some sort of agreement) or have an owner representative submit it. 

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    Pierre Antounian

    Thank you Scott!

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    Gang Chen (Edited )

    If it is a local project, we typically just go to the city or health department to submit the plans and fill out the submittal forms for the client. We do charge the client for related mileage and printing costs.

    If the project is in another city, we simply overnight the submittal package to the city if the city accept them this way. Otherwise, it will be an additional service based on a per-trip charge. We typically have a fixed fee for field visit or city visit if the city is far away.

    Gang Chen, Author, AIA, LEED AP BD+C (GreenExamEducation.com)

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    Pierre Antounian

    Hello Gang,
    Is it assumed the Client has paid the AHJ in advance, or that he has given a signed blank check in order to pay for the cost of permitting?

    Secondly: What if in the example of a local visit to say a Plan Check Office, the process takes hours or worse a full day to complete? What are the fee ramifications if any should it be a long drawn out process?
    I know I’m maybe getting into the weeds here but I’m trying to make sure I have a full grasp of this idea. If it’s a full day process, can the Architect charge extra after the fact?

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    Gang Chen

    Yes, typically we have already talked with the governing agencies and find out how much the plan check fee is before we go in. However, it is safer for the client to provide a blank check with a not to exceed amount, payable to the governing agencies. This way, if there are some minor revisions to the fee, you do not need to go back and ask for another check.

    Most of the plan check submittal forms takes a few minutes to complete, we never had a case it takes the whole day. Regardless, it is unlikely for you to be able to get additional service fees since it is part of the basic service.  A deal is a deal, if you get burned , adjust your fee next time.

    Gang Chen, Author, AIA, LEED AP BD+C (GreenExamEducation.com)

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    Pierre Antounian

    Thank you Gang. Very helpful information!

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