One of the most important things an architect can bring to a project is knowledge of materials and systems. In order to provide this service, an architect has to be constantly looking, researching, and learning about what is available and what has been tested. In a recent project that we designed, it was discovered late in the process that the well was a low producer. A low-producing well on a project of this building type in effect would prevent construction as it was required to have a sprinkler system. So through our knowledge of systems, we offered a rainwater management system that would allow for a quantity of water that would save the project. The other option would be to invest a similar amount of money in drilling additional wells hoping for better results.
The rainwater storage system we implemented is lightweight and easy to install, has high strength, and is modular. To that end, we were able to catch 95,000 gallons of rainwater harvesting off of 50% of the building roof without sacrificing parking lot space. The rainwater tank was installed under the parking lot.
This value-added, rainwater harvesting, option for the owner saved his investment already used in soft cost. Hiring an architect is more than getting someone to do some drawings, it is more than making a building look good, it is about adding value to a project. An architect should save the building owner money through good planning, they should offer insights that avoid potential problems, and they should add value to the process.