Our projects are successful because we foster a team atmosphere amongst the design team, the client, and the contractor. We have a good track record of working with a team build approach where the general contractor is selected though an interview process during the design phase to provide estimating, constructability review and value engineering input. They can buy in to the documents before the project goes out to bid and they can give valuable input that can help keep the project on budget at a time when the input can readily be incorporated.
During construction, we encourage the client to have a negotiated contract where we work with the contractor as part of the team to keep change orders down to a minimum. Unlike the open bid process where there can be an adversarial relationship between the design team and the contractor, in a negotiated contract process we are working as a team with a common goal: a successful project that meets the budget, schedule, and goals of the client. The contractor doesn’t have to be focused on finding change orders to make up for having to bid low to get the job. Both parties are looking out for the Owner’s best interests.
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Having worked on both private schools and churches with limited budgets, we are successful at helping the client set priorities for the initial phase and future phases of work so the project is in line with their budget.
Incorporating flexibility and adaptability in the design is important (because functions evolve and change over time). We also consider multi-use of spaces to get the most out of the facility for the best value, and we encourage the use of durable materials and techniques that provide good life cycle cost benefit. We recognize the budget is extremely important because the school and church clients have to answer to the stakeholders for the wise use of funds, and we take that very seriously.
Budget conscious design starts as early as the programming and master planning phase where we can build in flexibility in the project budget through contingencies, phasing (possible unfinished shell space), alternates, etc. And this same awareness of the budget carries through the construction documents phase where we get valuable input from the consultants on what systems will be the most cost-effective. For example, we can have the structural engineer provide multiple structural concepts for steel frame, wood frame or others and get comparative prices for each.
We also find that high-quality and well-coordinated construction documents can minimize change orders during construction. We accomplish this through the sharing of AutoCAD files where the systems from the various disciplines can be overlaid. We also have a series of coordination meetings where all the consultants and subcontractors sit around the table and brainstorm the project at critical points in the process.
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When a client wants to know the highest and best use of their building and site, potential for future expansion, and possible phasing of addition and remodel projects, we recommend a long range planning and feasibility study.
In this process, we meet with the planning committee and leadership to determine the long range goals and needs. We then develop a space program or site specific ed spec to balance the functional areas of the facility. For example, with a church we balance the areas of worship, fellowship, Christian education, administration and parking.
We do a detailed code investigation to determine regulatory parameters, and then we look at multiple possible design options for the site plan and floor plans. A final presentation is prepared to help the stakeholders understand the proposed long range plan and to generate enthusiasm for it. We also provide a basic cost estimate to help in budget planning.
A long range plan can really become a sort of road map to help the client plan their growth in multiple logical, affordable steps.
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BPH Architects is a leader in school and church planning and design, having worked on dozens of public and private school projects and over 500 church projects since we began over 35 years ago working with clients in the Northwest.
Ours is a very client-centered philosophy and we thrive on repeat clients and referrals. And as a small and personal firm, we are organized so our principals have direct hands-on involvement on projects and will devote whatever resources necessary to make every job a success.
Although we may not be the largest architectural firm, we do have access to technology advancements that help us do our job efficiently. We were one of the first architects to integrate AutoCAD into our production process and have continually updated our capabilities, now incorporating object-oriented elements and 3D rendering capabilities.
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Good architecture is balanced architecture. While functionality and economics are very important, we also feel that successful church and school buildings also need to be welcoming and inviting, with an atmosphere that inspires us and encourages learning.
As a leader in church and school planning and design today, BPH Architects strives to find that balance in our projects.
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Since many of our clients are non-profit organizations (private schools and churches), fundraising is usually an important consideration. So we have developed the technology and capabilities to generate high quality 3D computer renderings and promotional videos in house. This is also a great tool to help communicate to staff, leaders and other stakeholders, the jurisdiction, and even the community what the building will look like very early in the process. It also helps as a design tool to look at different options for massing, fenestration, materials, finishes, colors, etc.
We have found this technology tends to encourage people to support the project, so it can really help the project move forward smoothly. Since we do the work in house, we can provide the service at an economical price while maintaining the quality control on the output. Some examples of these renderings are included in this web site. Sometimes you have to look pretty closely to tell whether it is a photograph or a rendering.