Rachlin Partners

Substance

A PRACTICE GROUNDED IN CLIENT SATISFACTION

At Rachlin Architects, 80% of our commissions come from existing clients. Since 1982, we’ve paired imaginative design solutions with exceptional client service, providing comprehensive architectural and planning services throughout California from our Los Angeles headquarters.

Our diverse, integrated studio environment meets our clients’ needs with deep expertise in the full range of project design and delivery services:

  • Needs assessment, planning, and programming
  • Architecture and interior design
  • Program and construction management

Design Principal Michael Rachlin, AIA, along with Management Principal Richard Ingrassia, AIA, oversees the development and delivery of each project, working closely with our clients from kickoff to close-out. Our moderate size allows for responsiveness and staffing depth, while fostering the highest level of creativity and craftsmanship on every project.

 

Vocation

We design and nurture places of learning.

From new campuses to renovations, our portfolio of more than 250 K-14 projects for 16 public school districts in southern California stands as a testament to our expertise in, and understanding of, issues associated with learning facilities.

Learning environments have evolved more swiftly over the past decade than in the preceding 100 years. New classrooms and campuses must accommodate evolving teaching technologies and methods. For more than 20 years, Rachlin Architects has been transforming school campuses, working with school districts, principals, and teachers to create environments that will stimulate learning and remain relevant for decades to come. Above all, we provide Districts with facilities that celebrate the communities they serve.

 

Results

Architects as construction managers.

Before the 1980s, architects typically served as the owner’s representative during construction, with full-time representation on the jobsite. We believe there is no one better qualified to represent the owner’s interests during construction than a licensed architect. As combined architect and program /construction manager, we are prepared to direct and coordinate the District’s project team from feasibility and planning to project closeout.

Our tools include design guidelines and standards, budgets and cash flow analyses, and procurement management services, all of which have been selected for simplicity and transparency. They can all be adapted for the District’s future endeavors.

We believe in designing processes and systems that will fulfill the goals of your project while streamlining the experience.

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Rachlin Architects offers comprehensive planning and coordination services for Bond Programs involving multiple campuses or buildings. As an extension of District staff, we direct and coordinate all project team activities, from feasibility and planning through project implementation and close-out. Our experts guide Districts during the planning phase by assisting in the development of conceptual budgets, site selection, and consultant selection and oversight. During the Construction Phase, our role is to observe / report / recommend — reviewing and monitoring the construction process and coordinating with the individual Construction Managers and project teams at each campus or site to ensure that the overall program stays on track.

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As on-site Construction Manager for individual campuses or projects, our staff manages and coordinates all design, procurement, and construction activities. We also initiate work and coordinate the various tasks and vendors that comprise the District’s project-related workload.

Rachlin Construction Managers serve as the equivalent of an in-house project implementation department, overseeing the work of the Design Team and General Contractor.

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For more than three decades, the construction industry has tended to compartmentalize the stakeholders of large projects, separating architects from project and construction management functions. On school projects, this has led to inefficiencies, delays, and miscommunication between the project team and the District.

The Rachlin Process establishes a transparent "whole-project culture" of collaboration in which all stakeholders communicate openly and come together to make decisions in the best interest of the project. As a result, the process becomes more efficient, responsive and collaborative.

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In our experience, successful school projects require mastery of four elements: accountability, culture, efficiency, and community support.

Accountability

The key to accountability is communication. To keep all stakeholders in the loop, and to align our results as closely as possible with District expectations, we facilitate the flow of information with timely and regular board presentations, Citizens’ Oversight Committee reviews, progress meetings at the District offices and jobsites, and monthly budget and project reports.

Active communication is the basis of our long-standing relationships with State and local agencies like DSA, CDE, and OPSC. Integrating DSA and other approvals agencies into the process from the beginning helps us coordinate all aspects of project planning, relocation and execution.

Culture

The whole-project culture provides leadership within a context of teamwork. The success of any project, from a bond program to a single project, requires a high level of performance by a group of individuals. There is no substitute for positive commitment toward shared goals, and this can only happen when leadership instills these elements from the beginning.

We start by bringing all stakeholders together to develop a common focus, or whole-project culture, for the program. Each stakeholder’s role and expectations are defined and agreed on, with periodic re-evaluations to eliminate surprises and keep the program on track. The non-adversarial environment of the whole-project culture encourages productive, collegial relationships that will last for the duration of your program.

Efficiency

Soft costs, like fees and other administrative expenses, typically make up 30% of a District’s bond expenditures. We’ve demonstrated that a District can save more than one-third of these soft costs by expanding the Architect’s role to manage the program and individual projects, freeing up those dollars to help fulfill the bond issue’s initial promise to the community and, in some cases, to fund new projects.

We introduce efficiencies by:

  • Streamlining the decision-making process
  • Eliminating duplication of effort and recordkeeping
  • Hardwiring constructability reviews into the design process
  • Explaining decisions to all stakeholders to maximize consensus on value-to-program
  • Reducing delays, Change Orders and RFIs with on-site architect decision-makers

Community Support

Once a bond measure passes, the community expects immediate, tangible results. We work with District Bond and Eligibility representatives to develop an expedient yet realistic timetable for program goals, dovetailing cash flow from the bond and other sources, all in line with District educational goals.

We help the District communicate with the community in ways that best serve the program, from Board reports and presentations to construction status reports on District web pages. Transparency builds trust, and demonstrating that a District has responsibly implemented its current bond can help reinforce community and voter support for the District’s current and future efforts.

 

 

 

 

 

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