FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ's)
Answered by Principal Architect and Owner, Dan Nutini, AIA
YOU REFER TO YOUR FIRM AS A "VIRTUAL PRACTICE." WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?
Technology is continuing to change the way we work. As we have seen with recent events with the COVID-19 pandemic, working remotely is becoming the "new normal." Even when we resume our lives when world events subside, I suspect that we will be seeing a lot more remote working arrangements implemented on a more permanent basis simply because we, as a society, will be used to it and we will be really good at it. We also have the tools now to perform at a high level and continue to collaborate as effectively as we would be sitting next to someone in an office. A virtual practice basically means that I don't have a physical office space. Because of this, I work wherever I need to (mostly in my home office / Green Bay Packer shrine room) and whenever I need to to get the job done for my clients. I hold meetings remotely, on "client's turf" at their business or office locations, at other collaborator/partner offices, work-sharing environments, etc. This is advantageous for a couple of reasons: 1) this allows me to press my overhead costs down as far as possible (passing savings back to the client in many cases) and 2) allows me to collaborate efficiently with a multitude of people, from other designers outside of my company, to contract workers that I am working with, to engineering consultants among others. I can be very responsive working this way, ultimately being nimble enough to not get bogged down with things that aren't directly related to providing high-quality service to clients.
WHAT ARE YOUR CREDENTIALS AND EXPERIENCE?
I am a Licensed Architect in the State of Iowa and practice primarily in Central Iowa. I hold a Masters Degree in Architecture and a Bachelor of Business Administration degree as well. I have over 15 years of experience in the design and construction industry spending 9 years at another great local firm as a Project Architect and Designer working on everything from medical clinics to churches, banks, restaurants, residences, animal research facilities - you name it. I have a wide range of design experiences which gives me unique insight into whatever project type may arise. I also spent 5 years in the Facilities Planning & Management department at Iowa State University as a Project Manager and Associate University Architect. In that role I worked on campus planning initiatives and gained valuable insight into the project team from the perspective of an owner's representative for a large organization with billions of dollars in real estate assets. I started my own firm in 2019 to bring all of my professional experiences together and deliver high-quality design and planning services. I also dabble in the art world because I just really enjoy creating.
WHAT TYPES OF PROJECTS DOES YOUR FIRM WORK ON?
Any and all types of projects! That may sound a bit vague, but I hesitate to scare anyone away by giving the impression that "we don't do that type of thing." As a designer and architect the first thing I tell prospective clients is "let's talk about your idea." If a particular project is outside of my wheelhouse due to size or complexity, I am open to collaborating with other talented folks and build a team tailored to provide the necessary expertise and resources to execute a project. I have found that many time clients just don't know where to start - that is where I come in. Generally speaking though, my company works on projects in both the small commercial and residential markets. My firm also works with owners to "plan" and "scope" larger projects in order to develop an understanding of size, complexity and associated costs so organizations can make informed decisions. My goal is to be a resource to clients and a value-added contributor to the design and construction process. In a nutshell, let's talk about your project idea!
WHY SHOULD I HIRE YOUR FIRM FOR MY PROJECT?
I will work with you. What I mean by that is, I will be your point of contact, and your project will always be very important in my office. One unfortunate thing that I have witnessed in our industry is that sometimes a design firm's marketing and sales team works to secure the project, then a whole new set of people show up for the project kickoff meeting with you and then you have to get to know and build rapport and trust with a completely new team, when all you want to do is start talking about your project. I don't think that is a good way to build relationships, and I don't work that way. If I am fortunate enough to work with you, I can assure you that you and your team work with me and my team start to finish. You will see me at the first meeting and through construction. You will be my priority.
More to come...stay safe and healthy! - Dan