[Strawbale]ethical question?

Stewart Hargrave Stewart at Hargrave....uk
Thu Mar 3 16:42:45 CET 2005

On 2 Mar 2005 at 19:38, fostertom at clara....uk wrote:

> Just keep clear in your mind that the more time/effort you put in, the
> more economically designed the project is. So by you putting in extra
> time, the client saves far more than your extra fee, because the build
> costs far less. If you weren't there, it would cost them much more, over
> all.

Sounds good in theory. But in reality there is a limit to how much an architect can 
save a client by designing for economy.

> Don't let them screw you down - some always try it on - they won't value
> it if you sell yourself cheap.

Disappointing to hear that attitude on a SB forum. Why do you suppose anybody 
is trying to screw anyone down here? Poor people can have legitimate 
aspirations. Don't presume people won't value someone's work if they are 
prepared to be understanding and lenient with their fees.

It would seem that no one is asking for freebies; rather, they need help on how to 
achieve a modest aim on a limited budget. The suggestion that professional 
advice is only valued according to how much is charged is somewhat patronising 
to both parties.

> If you work with enthusiasm and flair,
> and get paid well, they'll just be really grateful at the end of it

Not meaning to be rude, but I rather take exception to the suggestion that poor 
people should automatically be grateful for the opportunity of paying someone 
beyond their means.

However, I would suggest that most people would be grateful and willing to pay, 
as far as their means allow, for someone to help them in a modest and 
unassuming way, with integrity and a kind heart, helping them acheive their aims 
honestly and economically.

Valentina, I would suggest you first have to decide whether you are actually in a 
position to help this client in a professional capacity. If sufficient money really 
isn't there as a prerequisite, then you may not be able to. There is nothing wrong 
in that honest assesement, and the client may prefer to know this rather than pay 
what little money they have to someone who cannot give them the necessary 

But if, despite this, your interest lies in helping the client achieve their aims, 
maybe you can offer advice and guidance without necessarily becoming involved 
in the administration of the build. 

Preparing drawings, pursuing an application through the regulations, negotiating 
with suppliers and contractors, managing the site and administering the project 
can all be done by the owner. It may not be easy, but with the right advice it can 
be done. Maybe you and the client can find areas here where it makes most 
sense to spend money on professional services, and save on others. But you will 
need to be clear with the client about where your services end, and clear with 
yourself about how far you are prepared to go beyond what you are being paid 

Stewart H.

More information about the Strawbale mailing list