Friday, September 25, 2009

Red Lined

I thought a lot before writing this post because I don’t think it is very good form to criticize your clients but because so many of the folks who read my blog are in the business, or appreciate the gardening design business I thought that this might be a good learning experience.

I’ve been working on a very small planting plan for the last 3 months.
Yes, three months, you read correctly.
What would normally be a one week turn around job has stretched into 3 months due to a multitude of changes, revisions and indecision's.

The last straw came when my plans were sent back to me red lined.

My client has a daughter who is an architect and she red lined the plans.

Now I don’t mind changes, revisions and construction critique, but when the red lined plans come back and the ‘new design’ is obviously going to fail due to poor materials choice and inferior construction techniques that’s when I say, “No can do. I’m not redrafting up someone else’s plans on my legal construction documents that are bound to fail”.

Anyone who has ever build an exterior planter box can tell you that a 1x 12 board is going to curl and crack in a matter of weeks. You don’t have to be a landscape professional to know this
Hell, even a 2x12 will sometimes curl if not properly fastened to it’s substructure.

So I sent the newly revised ( and final ) plans back to my client with a blank section reserved for the planter box and told her to have her architect provide a set of plans for the box and that I would not be responsible for a design that will fail as soon as it is built.

As professionals you have to stand your ground. We have a responsibility to provide sound construction detailing that will stand the test of time and meets the aesthetic that was discussed during design review.
If someone else changes the design or construction techniques that were shown then ‘they’ need to assume the responsibility when it fails.

The red lines :

From Blogger Pictures

By the way, where is the specifications calling out the quality and the species of the wood ? How about that nailing or screwing detail ? Waterproofing details anyone ?
And do you really think a 1x12 is going to make it out doors as a planter box without curling and splitting ? I think not.

From Blogger Pictures


ryan said...

Always good policy to steer clear of work that's doomed to fail. Best not to take things personally, though. Folks don't always know how bad their manners are.

danger garden said...

Ah the red-lines. Those architects do love their red pencils. You are totally doing the right thing. You can only assume responsibility for your designs. Leaving a blank for the "doomed to fail" part is a smart solution.

Tara Dillard said...

LOL, but then I'm a landscape design nerd.

Who knows what's going on between mother/daughter. Rick Warren said, It's not about you.

Thanks for sharing.

Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

shira said...

I've had this happen a couple of times, but the clients weren't in any related business at all, just thought they knew better. So then why did they need me? It's very frustrating. I would drop them by making some lame excuse as to why I couldn't work on their project any more.

Kerry said...

Wow! How rude. I bet you felt like you were back in design school having some instructor red-line your ideas like that.

Three months for a planting plan, jeesh you must be so over it by now. I think you took the right course of action, let the daughter be responsible for the planter (and its ultimate failure).

Genevieve said...

I wish I could send photos of 1 x 12 planters boxes failing for you to forward to this eedjit, but - they've all been replaced if we've done any work for the people.

I can't imagine hiring someone of your caliber and then dickering with you over construction details. There's a reason you hire the best!

Anonymous said...

I am an architect, and this has happened to me with client's friends or family making comments and suggestions from afar. Latest one was a friend telling my client how to do a roof detail that would certainly fail. I told client that I would happily let his friend take over the design and liability for the roof. Nothing more heard from friend.

This architect was out of line. It is unprofessional, at best, to change another professionals work in a blind side redline. She is also taking as risk of liability on her part, which is dumb. She should have, as one professional to another, contacted you and asked if she could present an option for your review that she thinks the client (mom) would like to see. Then you could have worked out the details with her and perhaps come up with something good.

You can fire clients, you know...!

Unknown said...

Ah, the days when one could 'fire' a client.

What a headache!

(me? architectural drafting contractor)