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  1. Why should I retain Terence L. Thornhill, Architect?

  2. Do I need to retain any other design professionals or consultants?

  3. Will I need to retain an interior designer to choose materials, colors, and furnishings?

  4. How do you help to control project costs?

  5. Do you accept small projects?

  6. Can I save money by not involving the architect after building permit is issued?

  7. Do you work directly with the General Contractor's after the design phase of the project is complete?

  8. Will I save money if you work from house plans purchased from a plan book?

  9. Does the Architect need to be located in the same vicinity as the project he is designing? 

  10. Do you design projects in locations other than Washington State? 

  11. Do you carry Liability Insurance? 



1.   Why should I retain Terence L. Thornhill, Architect?


An architect is trained to draw from you, your desires, dreams, thoughts, and ideas and turn them into a design that response to these needs and requests.  An architect can make the process of design run smoothly and act as an objective advocate during the construction process.  A seasoned architect will strive to create a building that accommodates your desired lifestyle, as opposed to a building that makes you adjust your lifestyle to it.  Terence L. Thornhill, Architect does all of these things as a basic part of the design process. 


In most cases, hiring an architect can save you money!


Terence L. Thornhill, Architect is educated in the process of construction, and assists in making the project run smoothly.  We foster better communication between owner and contractor in an effort to avoid costly change orders and construction delays.  We help you to position your building on your site to best take advantage of views, sunlight and prevailing winds, and develop drawings and specifications for an energy efficient building. 


We help you choose low maintenance and long lasting products that can save in future operational costs.  Homes and buildings designed by architects will typically sell for a higher amount and in a quicker time frame than non-architect designed buildings, which is a testimony to good planning, attention to detail and appreciation for building aesthetic. 


In addition to all of the above, we at Terence L. Thornhill, Architect believe that the process should be enjoyable, fun, and creatively satisfying for the entire team, and we work hard at making it so. 


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2.    Do I need to hire any other design professionals or consultants?


Many projects will require the services of licensed geotechnical (soils testing), structural engineer and other consultants.  Depending on the complexity, we may also recommend hiring a mechanical engineer, electrical engineer, fire safety engineer and other consultants to prepare drawings specifications if the design of the building warrants it.  We typically arrange for these professionals and have them bill you directly for their services.  We issue requests for proposal (RFP) to these consultants, giving you a detail overview of the fees required for these services ahead of time. 


Additionally, many projects will require the services of a licensed surveyor if you do not have a current survey of your property.  On many multi-family and commercial projects, a civil engineer may also be required.  Some projects require assembling a team of consultants including an interior designer and landscape designer.  We can assist you in choosing compatible individuals for a professional design team.  These consultants typically are retained by you and will contract with and bill you directly. 


We encourage that these consultants be retained at the outset of the design process, if they are necessary.  We have found that these early collaborative efforts can be extremely beneficial and enjoyable and can produce outstanding design results. 


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3.    Will I need to hire an interior designer to choose materials, colors, and furnishings?


Interior designers can assist and contribute much to the design process, however, they are not always necessary.  If an owner is comfortable in the decision making and selection process, they can perform this highly involved process themselves.  The basic services provided by Terence L. Thornhill, Architect includes the design of everything that is "built-in", such as cabinets, vanities, counter tops, light fixtures, etc.  We assist you as you select materials and fixtures, such as tile, carpet, plumbing fixtures, plumbing accessories, drawer pulls, door hardware and other accessories by referring you to appropriate vendors and suppliers of these resources.  If you desire the assistance of an interior designer, we help by making recommendations and maintain a role in the overall coordination of this element of the design process. 


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4.    How do you help to control project costs?


Three words.





As the owner, you are encouraged to select any two of the above three elements to control as you choose.  We control the remaining element.  Again, you choose the two that you desire to control. 


For example, you choose to limit your building size to 2,500 square feet.  You also determine that your budget is limited to $200,000.  As your responsible architect, we will inform you that at $80 per square foot, you are not going to be able to afford a highly sophisticated level of interior and exterior finish (we control quality in this case). 


If on the other hand you, as owner, select quality and cost as the two elements that you wish to control, and your level of finish expectation is high while the budget remains at $200,000 - you can expect your responsible architect to inform you that you can afford to build a home of 1,800 to 1,900 square feet (we control size in this case). 


It is through these "three legs of stool" that responsible building design can occur.  It is sometimes difficult for an owner to reconcile these concepts in their mind, but once they do, the process works much more smoothly. 


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5.    Do you accept small projects? 


Admittedly, there are many projects featured on this website that are large, complex projects, but we have also designed countless small remodels and additions for clients.  We have designed small porch additions, kitchen remodels, new entryways, trellises, patio extensions, etc. 


If you can imagine it, we have probably done it! 


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6.    Can I save money by not involving the architect after the building permit is issued?


Architectural construction administration (CA) is an important aspect of the design and construction process that is often under-utilized by owners.  We have experienced that not involving the architect during the construction of the project is an administrative/owner representative role can lead to a loss of control and poorly coordinated project. 


Many times this lack of architectural involvement during the construction creates a situation where the original architectural design intent is violated.  Building any project is a complex, involved process and problems will arise.  An architect can help to look forward, see the issues, and help to solve these problems before they arise. 


An architect is responsible for maintaining the original design intent, whereas a general contractor's solution to a problem may not be aesthetically sympathetic. 


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7.    Do you work directly with the General Contractor's after the design phase of the project is complete? 


As an additional service, during the construction of your project, we can offer ongoing interpretation of the contract documents and elaboration on the detail intended, in order to achieve the best possible results.  If products specified are not available, we recommend substitutions or adapt the design to fit a new product.  In remodeling projects, some assumptions must be made in earlier phases of design about existing conditions inside walls or below grade and when actual conditions are revealed during construction, adjustments to the design are necessary.  If a difference of opinion between the owner and contractor arises, we attempt to resolve the disagreement. 


We make periodic visits to the construction site to check on the progress of the work and it's conformance with the contract documents.  We endeavor to guard you against defects and deficiencies in the work. 


We review and make recommendations regarding the contractor's submittals (such as shop drawings, samples, and requests for substitutions), and prepare change orders and other documentation of decisions made during the construction. 


For further information, please refer to Benefits of Design/Build in the 'About Us' section which will expand on the following benefits:

Single point of accountability for design and construction.  The owner saves time and money. Quality and performance are enhanced. Design/Build offers a complete project. 


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8.    Will I save money if you work from house plans purchased from a plan book? 


The owner's influence at the start of the design process is initiated in many different ways.  Sometimes owners bring "plan book plans" as an example of what they want in their design.  We don't recommend this method, however, because of the fact that during our discernment process, our design ends up being fundamentally different than that selected from a magazine or the internet. 


We recommend that you bring with you your thoughts, ideas, photographs, magazine clippings, notebooks full of sketches, drawings and other influences for your project and let us assimilate this information along with a detailed interview with you, into a project that truly meets your needs.  For the added investment, you will get a project that is unique and ideally suited to you. 


Additionally, we have found from past experience that clients and building departments will request so many modifications to the stock plans that there is little, if any, cost savings in this approach.  Furthermore, sit factors and engineering requirements often times render the ready made plans useless. 


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9.    Does the architect need to be located in the same vicinity as the project they are designing? 


With the advent of computer, internet and high tech communication, the architect does not need to be located in the same vicinity as the project in order for it to turn out successfully.  There is normally an initial visit to the site and local building department to determine local code related issues.  Once the building is designed and permitted, it is normal to follow up with course of construction visits to check progress and we are willing to make these visits, if the owner desires them.  These visits are not totally necessary, especially if you have a good relationship with your contractor.  As evidenced in the individual project photos on this website, Terence L. Thornhill, Architect has designed many projects throughout the state of Washington that have turned out beautifully. 


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10.   Do you design projects in locations other than Washington State? 


Terence L. Thornhill, Architect is capable of performing work in any locale and region as long as the licensing laws of the specific jurisdiction are upheld.  Our license to practice architecture is currently limited to Washington State, but we are able to obtain reciprocal licensure in other states when a specific project warrants it. 


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11.   Do you carry Liability Insurance?


Terence L. Thornhill, Architect, Inc. P.S. carries an architect professional liability insurance policy with a $500,000.00 per claim per year limit of liability and $1,000,000.00 aggregate limit of liability per policy year.


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