Architecture is an extremely volatile business, overly sensitive to economic fluctuations, strong personalities, and personal agendas. Firms come and go, restructure, relocate, lay people off and deal with constantly changing personnel. Alternatively, ERT Architects has stayed the course; we have been working as a team since 2001 and are pleased to report that we have remained a financially stable and unified firm. For you, our potential client as for all of our clients, this translates to greater accountability.
Whether your project is big or small, we make you our priority. Our architectural design principal, Erik Tolley, serves as the project lead, ensuring that your project will be completed in a timely, professional manner with a superb support staff and the capacity to easily comply with the timelines you establish.
We are genuinely excited about your project and the opportunity of working with you. We bring to the table an unparalleled combination of enthusiasm, expertise, and experience as well as an exemplary portfolio of successful work, including over 700 New England & Cape Cod architectural and interior design projects. Before we get the chance to know you better, we’d like to give you the opportunity to know us and understand our practices and work ethic. This page, as well as our brochure, will provide a snapshot view of who we are, our capabilities, and the qualifications that will enable us to support your project and bring your visions to life.
ERT Architects provides a complete range of professional architectural services, from feasibility studies to complete project design and construction supervision. The relatively small size or our architecture firm ensures that clients deal directly with principals and receive personal service and attention. ERTA works with residential and commercial clients, including but not limited to: new home and building construction, additions and renovations, adaptive reuse and full-service interior design.
Good decision making, like a fine home, must be based on a solid foundation. During the preliminary development of a project, ERTA, gathers relevant information, reviews existing conditions, evaluates the client’s current needs and prepares a realistic vision of future needs. This stage usually involves the preparation of several schemes with preliminary cost estimates, and then more thorough development of the preferred design.
A master plan is an evolving document that addresses two things; first – what are the current needs of the building/program and are they being met by the current space allocation, and second – what are the needs 5, 10, 25, or 50 years from now? Deferred maintenance, regulatory changes, and program modifications are some of the issues that can make a master plan so valuable.
Whether it be a vacant piece of land or an existing structure, it is full of boundless potential. Unfortunately in today’s world, that potential can be severely limited due to regulatory intricacies. Questions such as “Is the property within the flood plain?” or “What is the maximum building height or lot coverage in this area?” or “Will I be required to design a hurricane resistant home?” These are all questions that could a regulate your ability to renovate your existing residence or to build your dream home. By contacting ERTA at the onset of any potential projects, our trained professional will immediately be able to make you aware of some of these issues and how they may effect your project.
Architectural problem solving is an art, not a science. ERTA will guide you along an informative path, providing knowledge and recommendations that will enable you to make the best decisions, as well as gain a better understanding of your own visions. By asking thorough questions and engaging in productive dialogue with you, we are able to foster an in depth understanding of your needs and goals. The ability to bring your vision to life takes not only talent and knowledge but also a bigger picture approach accompanied by the utmost attention to detail. In addition to developing superior designs, ERTA is also skilled at preparing construction documents to effectively communicate your vision to contractors and suppliers in the field.
The stages of design are as follows:
- Programming: One of the least talked about and perhaps most important roles for the architect is assisting clients in defining the scope and the nature of their project. It is common for clients to begin with only a vague outline of what they want. Whether designing a new bathroom or a ten-thousand square foot home, listening and understanding the needs and wants of the client is critical to developing a successful project. As the first step in the design process, ERTA reviews a client’s “wish list” and develops a realistic program based on issues like need, cost, schedule, and future growth. Realistic goal setting is crucial for the development of a sound project.
- Schematic or Preliminary Design: During this phase the architect may visit your home or land and observe such things as existing architecture, proximity to neighbors, vegetation, view corridors, and the track of the sun. Successfully considering a wealth of seemingly small items such as these in conjunction with the project’s program, is the key to appropriate and well conceived design concept. At the end of this stage, you and your architect will have fleshed out the concept that will serve as the basis for all work to come.
- Design development/Final Design: This stage fine tunes the previously conceived concept and begins to consider elements such as interior details, materials, finishes, etc. This stage is also where you and your architect would begin to seek any required municipal approvals such as those granted by Historic Commissions, Conservation Commissions, Planning Boards, and/or Zoning Boards.
- Construction Documents: When floor plans, elevations, materials, finishes, and the like have been absolutely finalized and have received any and all necessary municipal approvals, ERTA’s dedicated staff will begin to gather all of this information in order to generate a complete and comprehensive drawing and specification package that is suitable for obtaining competitive bids, permitting, and eventually, construction.
- Bidding and Negotiation: At ERTA some of our clients know that they want us to design and build their project right from the get go. Others, at some point during the design process realize that while they may not have originally intended to utilize ERTA to build their project that the “one stop shopping” that we offer is extremely convenient and offers an unusually high standard of performance and excellence. Still others prefer to put their project out for competitive bidding and we always appreciate the opportunity our clients give us to offer them a competitive bid. And, if perhaps the client chooses to utilize another contractor, perhaps due to the fact that they had a prior relationship with this person or still another comes highly recommended, ERTA will work hand in hand with that person to ensure your dream becomes a reality.
- Construction Administration: Responsible project administration is a key ingredient for a successful construction contract. Schedule, cost, quality, accessibility, accountability, and value are the important issues that good construction management can control. ERTA, whether acting as the general contractor or not, will continue to act as your representative and on your behalf, protecting your interests and your investment. This is achieved by conducting site visits at intervals appropriate to construction progress, documenting progress with digital photos, and in some cases, drafting progress reports for your records.