PO Box 1344
Nevada City, CA 95959
Typical cost for our construction projects. Design fees are based on scope of services and are seperate from our build costs.
Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), Architectural Design, Building Design, Custom Homes, Energy-Efficient Homes, Green Building, Home Additions, New Home Construction, Sustainable Design, Universal Design, Architecture
Zonas de trabajo
Alta, Alta Sierra, Cedar Ridge, Cherokee, Dutch Flat, Gold Run, Graniteville, Grass Valley, Nevada City, North San Juan, Pike, Plumas National Park, Rough And Ready, Washington, All of Northern California, Northern California for energy, Truckee, Lake Tahoe
Certified Passive House ConsultantLEED APBuild it Green Certified Green Building Professional
Mr. Rumer hired our firm specifically for our knowledge in both designing and constructing high performance buildings. We worked in close collaboration with him over the course of nearly a year on the planning and design. The resulting design, we believe, is an expression of Mr. Rumer’s design program, specifications, and commitment to building a cutting edge, energy efficient home. As an architecture firm we certainly do bring a particular aesthetic point of view (which we believe is one of the reasons to hire a design firm). However, we primarily see our job as translating a client’s desire for a custom home in a way that is clearly unique to the specific site, spatial requirements, energy efficiency goals, and budget. That Mr. Rumer now feels like he was not adequately heard and that we were pushing an agenda is most definitely not the experience we want a client to have.
At each stage in the design process, Mr. Rumer gave us express permission to proceed to the next phase, including completion of the construction documents. A detailed plan set was submitted to the local permitting agencies. (The set incidentally was over 50 pages and the building department even specifically commented on its thoroughness). Mr. Rumer himself applied for the building permit and certainly was not coerced at any point to move forward with the project. It is true that there were details and specifications that were left off the permitting plan set (which is not an uncommon practice). Some were to be completed prior to framing and others were deemed unnecessary as this was originally planned as an inhouse, design-build project. Were there a few minor inconsistencies on the considerably detailed plan set? Yes. Of course we strive for flawlessness, but the minor annotation mistakes that occurred over the course of developing assembly details, were easily revised and didn’t effect buildability.
We strive for transparency and clear communication on both the design and construction end and did our best throughout the process. The location of Mr. Rumer’s project is several hours from our firm’s base in a rural location that required additional expenses by our firm and special effort from all our employees and subcontractors. As a result, at the time we were only prepared sign a contract to build the foundation. The agreement Mr. Rumer signed in advance and with full knowledge of this level of commitment was a cost-plus agreement, which was commensurate with the location and project. From the outset of the design process, we underscored that it was not a project we would be willing to build on a fixed fee due to the location and other particular conditions.
When we began work on the foundation, in the fall of 2018, we did have multiple projects under construction and struggled to source enough labor for his project. Initially Mr. Rumer had offered on-site housing for our employees during construction. However, just before construction began, he rented the house that had been offered causing our employees to have to travel long distances to work on his home. Despite these obstacles, Mr. Rumer and our firm still decided to proceed as it would allow for construction on a site with a high-water table to begin while the ground was still dry. We certainly did not begin construction on Mr. Rumer’s project to extract money from him – an accusation that totally contradicts our well-earned reputation for honesty and integrity.
Once construction commenced, it seemed like Mr. Rumer started to have second thoughts about his project. The stress of building can bring out strong feelings for some and it seemed like he suddenly found fault in everything. We tried to compassionately negotiate his discontent and provide professional responses to his concerns. However, we did conclude it would be untenable for our firm to continue leading construction beyond the foundation phase and recommended that he find another contractor to complete his project. We still remained committed to ensuring the overall quality of the project and were prepared to finalize design details and specifications and provide continued oversight and consultation during construction. There is still no reason that the project could not be completed as it was originally designed, or even scaled back as Mr. Rumer was discussing with us as recently as a month ago.
One of the primary objectives of our firm is to not only provide excellent service, but to be extraordinarily respectful of our clients’ investment during design and construction. We only work with a handful of clients each year and each relationship is precious to us. We do our very best to please each and every client while maintaining our own high standards. We profoundly regret that Mr. Rumer feels like we failed him and consequently is abandoning his dream of building his home as it is well-planned, buildable Passive House.