ArCHspec update re: Hot Water Heaters

Hello ArCHmembers who are proud licensees of ArCHspec™.  ArCHspec™ has had both a conventional HWH (Hot Water Heater) specification and a multiple tankless HWH specification in Division 15p.  The multiple tankless spec is section 15400-1212.  The conventional HWH (but high efficiency) is 15400-1300.  It is recommended that the 15400-1212 multiple tankless HWH (either gas or electric) NOT be used.  Instead, it is suggested that the 15400-1300 high efficiency conventional electric HWH be used.

Why: the multiple tankless HWHs could result in your project needing many more amps and possibly even a higher MDP (Main Distribution Panel) and larger main disconnect and larger cables feeding the project.  These increases in electrical power infrastructure are sure to offset any energy performance enhancements.

Therefore, it is suggested that the conventional HWH (but high-efficiency) henceforth be specified, rather than the multiple tankless approach.

2nd Qtr Taxes Due 6-15

Hello ArCHmembers: just a reminder to all those of you earning an income (which is hopefully all of you): 2nd quarter 2016 tax estimate payments are due 6-15-2016 Wednesday.

If you haven’t yet calculated your estimated total income projects for the year, then estimated your taxes for the year, then subtracted your 1st quarter payment, then divided the remainder by 3, ask your Accountant, or at the very least, take your best informed guess and take care of that before the deadline.  Your envelopes to State and Federal governments must typically have the US Postage stamp on them indicating that they were put in the mail by 6-15.  Verify with your financial counsel.

Have a healthy, happy and productive 2nd half of the year.

ArCH Membership Recruiting

ArCH Membership Recruiting: every ArCHmember is hereby asked to bring at least one new ArCHmember into the organization each year.  If everyone could do this, the organization would double every year.  That would be an excellent growth rate.

ArCHexComm member, Craig Isaac, ArCH, Charlotte, made this excellent suggestion.

So: please: each and every ArCHmember is asked to invite other Licensed Architects that you know, to join this professional organization.  Email them this link:

That link explains the benefits of being a member of ArCH.  Thank you!

Managing Client Expectations

Managing Client Expectations is what this post is about.  Your ArCHexComm (Executive Committee) identified as the “next thing to tackle” during this last Wednesday’s global ArCHexComm Skype meeting.

Specifically, your ExComm identified the following disconnects:
Managing Client Expectations for:
1.  Architect’s FEES.
2.  Architect’s TIME.

Thorny issues for any Architect to handle, particularly with all the variables on every project: Client changes, various Contractors either promising or bidding different prices along with unrealistic Client budget goals, Client review times and your time to complete complex projects.

Well, your ArCHexComm has solved the issue of Managing Client Expectations.  How is this possible?  And how to document that the Client actual understands and agrees to these expectation scenarios?  Sounds difficult to achieve.

Actual it’s not.  What?  How could this become simple?  Doesn’t seem realistic.

Here’s how:  your ExComm has added a new paragraph #285 EXPECTATIONS to the ArCH AOA (Architect-Owner Agreement).  In other words your Client, once they sign this updated AOA form of agreement with you HAS agreed that they DO understand what their expectations for these aspects will be.  It seemed like the most expedient method to handle this Client Expectations issue.  And it does.  How?

This new version of the ArCH AOA (with paragraph 285) specifically is entitled:
285. EXPECTATIONS: Expectation for our fees, time and your construction costs.

Under architectural fees, there is a blank where Architects can insert a link to whatever 3rd party website they might wish to link, indicating typical Architectural fees for homes of various sizes, and for renovations., and for additional services.  Each Architect can reference whatever website they wish.  It is recommend that a 3rd party website be linked as a disinterested 3rd party source of public information.  For time, you may insert whatever you wish, with the basic text declaring it will probably be several months.  For construction cost expectations, once again, any Architect can insert whatever 3rd party website reference they wish to help Clients understand the realities of today’s construction costs for nice houses.  In this manner, neither ArCH nor any individual Architect is declaring what estimated fees might be (especially if you are hourly) or construction costs.  Rather: 3rd party references are taking care of that expectation for you.  Seems simple.  Should have been done long ago.

See the newly updated ArCH AOA here: ArCH AOA.




Death through Apathy

This online post is about what happens when people don’t do their part, or are “too busy” to help make a difference, when all it takes is a little piece of your time and a bit of your assistance.

ArCH needs more Architects to join.  We are now Global, but we have a long way to go.  Simply by the act of joining, ArCH becomes stronger.  Your small membership yearly fee helps ArCH accomplish vital tasks, such as creating new videos that enlighten the public about what you do as an Architect and the value you bring to every project.  ArCH creates one of kind products that help you practice Architecture, creating homes, because there is no other source on Earth that does this.

Support those organizations that help feed you: intellectually and literally.  That would be ArCH.

Thank you for being a member and for guiding other Architects to join and for continuing to be a member.

If you don’t, who will?  Before ArCH, the world was a gray and dim place for residential Architects.  There were no products custom made for residential Architecture.  There was no worldwide brotherhood/ sisterhood of Licensed Architects that design homes.  There was no global comradery of residential Architects.  There was no global ArCHdes™ design awards program just for residential architecture around the world.  Now, all that colorful energy has infused the planet, all because you helped ArCH come about and remain vital.

Help us grow and remain sustainable, with your support.    You can and will make a difference.

Support ArCH.

ArCHchart is now available

ArCHchart™ just was launched.  You can read all about this new ArCHproduct here:


ArCHchart™ is what all Architects have been missing in their Client management applications.  ArCHchart™ allows you to simply, swiftly and easily update the present status of where your firm is at on your Clients’ projects, without cumbersome scheduling software.  Clear colored cartoon diagram bar charts in Excel explain so your Clients’ understand what’s been accomplished to date, where you are now, what’s next and what phases/tasks remain, from Programming all the way through Construction Administration, Warranty Period and Post Warranty periods.

And because this application is in MS Excel, you can easily modify it to suit your practice/process as you wish.

A happy Client is an informed Client.

Have Clients getting upset with you because they don’t understand why you’ve done what you have, what you’re doing now and why you’re soon to be doing other things?  ArCHchart™ charts the course through the project and helps to diagrammatically explain the relative amount of effort/time devoted to each typical architectural project phase.  Don’t talk talk talk about architectural phases.  Let ArCHchart™ do your talking for you.

This application just might save your next project.  Buy it today.  Deeply discounted for ArCHmembers, of course. And now a part of the new ArCHsuite™.

Improving Client Relations During the Architectural Process

Improving Client Relations During the Architectural Process: is about how to make the experience more enjoyable for your Clients.

This is the next Big Thing for ArCH: Architects Creating Homes.  There seems to be widespread opinion that for Clients, going through the architectural project experience is not as enjoyable as perhaps we (Architects) would like it to be for our Clients.  And if our Clients feel better about what’s going on, then we, as their Architect, will also feel better.  The bottom line: an improved level of satisfaction during the process.

We’ve not seen where any other architectural professional organization has taken this on, or even recognized that there could be issues in this regard.  Since ArCH is the main organization for licensed Architects who design homes, we thought it appropriate that we do something about this.

This started out by ArCHexComm members wondering if the Architectural Design Process could actually be FUN for our Clients.  At this early point, we’re going to strive for that, however, some Architects are weighing in and saying that they don’t think that “fun” is a realistic goal and may be very difficult to achieve, if not impossible.  We’re not throwing in the towel on the “fun” aspect yet, but at the very least, your ArCHexComm is going to find easy methods to improve the “feeling” that Architects’ Clients have going through the Architectural Design Process.  And these improved “feelings” may be centered around such aspects as:

  1.  Improved explanation of the design process
    and timing of when what explanations are delivered/sent to the Client from the Architect.  This will likely involve multiple transmissions of explanatory materials from the Architect to the Client, at key points in the process.
  2. What the Process is
    We are going with the classic Architectural Design Process:

    1. Programming
    2. Schematic Design
    3. Design Development
    4. Construction Documents
  3. The above may be amended by each Architect as they deem fit, per their company process.
  4. Possible Marketing Materials
    1. either physically sent and/or emailed
  5. Possible Generic Simplified Scheduling Tool
    1. Not detailed: but perhaps a bar that advances as the process moves forward, so the Client understands about where they are in the phases of work.
    2. On Client page on Architect’s website?  Or emailed to Client, or?
  6. Other

Your ArCHexComm will be exploring these things.  Just one more reason that ArCH is: IMPROVING RESIDENTIAL ARCHITECTURE.


Updated ArCHspec: improved shower waterproofing

This post is about the previous post: and how ArCHspec™ now incorporates it.  RedGard just became part of ArCHspec™.  Should have been there a decade ago.  Well; it’s there now.  Makes perfect sense: an economical, roll/trowel or spray-on elastomeric waterproof liquid that goes on top of the concrete backer board and on top of the mud bed in a shower and is taken all the way up to the shower ceiling. Result: no leaks, no rotting walls.  About time!  And the tile is set over it.  It sticks and it works.  Yay!  Simpler than the PVC shower pans most of us have been using for most of our lives.  Better.  Makes the entire shower waterproof.

Also, Schluter Kerdi Shower Niches have been added to ArCHspec™. Once again: about time.  These are prefabricated substrate waterproof shower niche one-piece units that after installing, you then coat with your wall tile.  No leaks.  And the RedGard can be applied over the outer flange to result in a totally watertight shower assembly.

Might sound boring, but to our Clients, this is a big step forward in waterproof technology that many quality tilesetters and Contractors have been using for a decade or more.  Nice that we caught up on this.

I remember Don Duffy, ArCH, telling the other ArCHexComm members a couple of years ago that he had to go to one of his Clients’ houses on a weekend to fix the leaking in a shower pan (that the Contractor caused by penetrating it with nails).  Don and everyone else: those days are past, if you start using this updated specification using RedGard.



Waterproofing Shower Walls & Floors

Waterproofing Shower Walls & Floors is about the latest technology improvements to help Architects specify products that will render their residential shower installations watertight.

ArCH: Architects Creating Homes has as its motto: IMPROVING RESIDENTIAL ARCHITECTURE.  Sometimes this deals with business or administrative matters, other times this has to do with products, details and design features an Architect might want to consider using in their projects to improve the quality, durability and performance of their projects.  In the end, the Clients of Architects receive a better built home and the Architect’s reputation is enhanced.

Image courtesy Custom Building Products

Image courtesy Custom Building Products

Today, ArCH is reporting on a product that is gaining ground with tile setters and General Contractors: RedGuard® by Custom Building Products.  While ArCH does not exist to endorse products of any particular manufacturer, ArCH does find it important to report on significant improvements in technology that help Architects and Contractors make homes a better place in which to live.

Custom Building Products created an elastomeric liquid fast-curing paint-on coating called RedGuard®.  We’re not sure of the exact date when this product was introduced into the marketplace, however, we have seen online references dating back as far as 2005.  That’s at least 11 years.  So far, all comments we’ve seen are positive, although that’s no guarantee that this or any product reviewed by ArCH is a perfect system.  However, we searched for problems with the materials online through Google purposely and could not find any reported issues to date.  However, that does no mean that there are not issues with this or any other products discussed on the ArCHwebsite and ArCH takes no responsibility for the quality of any products discussed on this website.  See the manufacturer of any products discussed for their warrantees.

ArCHmembers have spoken with Contractors who have been using RedGuard elastomeric paint-on waterproofing membrane for years and so far, all have only good things to report, and no callbacks from happy homeowners.

Note: Contractors have said this should Not take the place of the traditional old-school PVC membrane used over OSB/Plywood and under the thick “mud bed” of grout in a shower tile floor.  However, the RedGuard is used in all cases immediately under the thinset mortar setting bed of the tile, to insure waterproofing between the tile and the substrate under it.

Many Architects and Contractors have for decades, relied on the tile mortar setting bed, the tile itself, and the grout to protect the substrate.  When using concrete backer board as part of this system, this performs well, however, the concrete backer board could theoretically become saturated, particularly at imperfections in the tile work, thereby allowing water to enter the inner wall, where it could promote mold and structural rot.

Therefore, the use of a paint-on liquid elastomeric waterproof coating for shower floor substrates and walls, all the way up to the shower ceilings, makes good sense.  All corners, both vertical and horizontal are reinforced with a fiberglass screen tape that is embedded in the first coat of RedGuard.  At least 2 coats of RedGuard are recommended.  In this manner, any moisture getting behind the tiles (in most cases, which should not be much), will not be able to get over the top of the coating, because it goes up to the ceiling.

Of course, specifying epoxy grout for tile joints should help greatly to keep water from penetrating around the tiles and a quality tile sealer should help to prevent water penetration through the tiles themselves (if using a natural tile like slate).  Glazed ceramic tiles should be inherently waterproof, except around the edges, which is why an epoxy grout there might be something to consider.

However, ArCH in no way is recommending or endorsing any particular products or methods; it is merely commenting on what appears to be a significant proven technical improvement that should help Architects, Contractors and Homeowners to greatly improve the watertightness of their tile installations.   Google RedGuard tile waterproofing for more information.