True Dollarized Value of an Integrated Design Process

lake-side-home-and-wallsI was recently reminded of the value of Landscape Architecture services to clients. And I mean dollarized value not just touchy feelly or intangilble aesthetic value. This is about good design saving clients money for either residential scale projects or large campus corporate development. My example occurs at the residential size, but applies to all projects.

The project I was called to assist was well underway. Upon arriving at the site of this million dollar custom lake front home, the challenges quickly became apparent. The architect and client had sited the home at the very edge of 60 feet of steep slope droppping to the lake edge. The views were amazing. However, the owner need a grading plan to detail out what was only conceptually thought through by the architect and civil engineer. His home was designed to have two terraces on the lake side of the home. One at the first floor elevation of the kitchen for entertaining and one at the lower walkout level with stone steps connecting the them parallel to the house.

My efforts were to make the grades work now that the house was under construction and almost complete. I discovered that simple boulder walls as envisioned by the owner would not work for the upper terrace. The end result was a series of interlocking block style retaining walls. Some were as high as 20 feet. Cost to the home owner was in excess of $60,000.00. Which was never in his budget!

My analysis discovered that if the home had been sited a mere 15 or 20 feet away from the top of the slope we could have saved the cost of expensive and unplanned retaining walls. Providing design services to the architect up front as part of a dedicated and integrated service approach would only cost the owner a fraction of his wall costs and make the architect’s product look better to the client’s satisfaction.

This is just a small example how integrated design service benefit clients as well as architects or other lead project consultants.


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