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How was I supposed to know?



For almost every project that I worked on as a professional architect, and for every jurisdiction that UrbanForm covers, there are what I call "How was I supposed to know?" moments.


This is where some regulation or requirement which materially affects the development and design of a project pops up midway through the process, and you're left wondering, "How was I supposed to know about this?"


It happens all the time.


At best, it leaves you feeling like you have egg on your face.


At worst, you've put the project, your client, and your team at jeopardy.


At a minimum, weeks-to-months worth of work have to be redone or reconsidered.


And when you dig in, you learn that there was no way for you to have known about this particular regulation in advance--unless you knew somebody who had gone through the same thing in the same location, or you happened to be in a meeting where someone had direct experience with a similar situation.


The information was located in a place where you would not have thought to check. Sometimes the information is not publicly available at all (that happened to me once).


This latest one is something we discovered in Seattle, called the Streets Illustrated. Maintained by the Seattle Department of Transportation, certain streets in Seattle have additional right-of-way development requirements that impact development.


It's not in the zoning code, but it's certainly going to impact your project if it happens to be on one of a few areas in the city. Thanks to Todd Bronk at JETT for alerting us that something UrbanForm had not yet identified was impacting a project he was working on. We're building it in now :)


Because there are so many factors that are involved in making a building and design decision, and relevant information is hidden in so many different places, guarded by so many different stakeholders, it's easy to miss something important.


For our team at UrbanForm, we know that these "How was I supposed to know" moments happen all the time.


In fact, it's probably safe to say that for every project, something is always missed.


Under budget and ahead of schedule is rare for a reason.



At UrbanForm, we're working to make these "how was I supposed to know" moments happen less and less.


We're taking direct knowledge and feedback from our customers, architects and developers who go through this process daily, and building it into our datasets.


In our experience, there was often no other way to know about the many things that may impact a project.


We're putting all this knowledge in one place.


Our belief is that by gathering this knowledge and putting it into an easily accessible place, we will transform the way our buildings and cities will develop.


That's UrbanForm.


Let us know if you know of any more of these "how was I supposed to know" moments :)


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