Many people think that architects are for large expensive projects. Commercial construction, large residential renovations, and generally, expensive. But what are non-profits to do if they end up getting involved in building?
The answer is, they need architects too. We have helped lots of non-profits in jobs large and small. We’ve designed churches. We’ve also designed wheel chair ramps. We’ve assisted non-profit camp grounds with new or renovated offices. We’ve also helped them design million dollar facilities.
If a non-profit has a physical space, they will probably need an architect eventually. That could be to improve or provide accessible upgrades to their building or office. It could be that they need to provide plans to the fire marshal of the existing conditions. If they ever plan to renovate to expand operations or save operating costs, they’ll definitely need an architect. And finally, if they want to build any sort of building, they will probably still need us.
The key here is that most non-profits are dealing with public spaces. That means that, in most locations (although not all), they would be required to have an architect provide plans to indicate compliance with building and life safety codes. This is usually a matter of law and no matter how small or simple a project may seem, the building official may not be able to waive that requirement.
Our suggestion, develop a relationship with an architect. We can provide some guidance pro bono for causes we work with. There is actually a strong push to provide pro bono or reduced cost fees for non-profits in the industry, so it’s always worth asking. Of course, also keep in mind, most architecture firms are for profit small businesses, so there may be limits to what they can give, especially if there isn’t a prior relationship to build trust and care.