NUMC Letter of Recommendation

29 February 2008

Dear Peter,

We are writing this letter to express our gratitude for the assistance Vivus Architecture provided on our recently completed church kitchen remodeling project.

You and Mary made a very capable team that guided us through the early stages of our planning. Our Church committee struggled at times for direction on how to effectively modernize our 40 year old kitchen to best meet our current program needs. Your team utilized some structured planning tools that helped our committee capture and define what it wanted for this project. You helped sort out needs from wants and gave us a sense of the cost and benefit trade offs as we worked together toward a remodeling plan. You proved to be a very good listener, and were very effective at embracing the character and direction of the church committee and translating this into an appropriate design that was very well suited to the specific character of our existing building architecture while still accomplishing the goal of modernization. You brought ideas to the group when there were none; you developed alternate design scenarios, and then helped facilitate the committee to be the ultimate decision maker on which scenario to select.

The timeline on this project is probably very typical of many church projects. We worked together for 6 – 8 months on the concept and cost estimate for the kitchen remodeling project. Then the project activity went dormant for a whole year while the church worked itself into a position to properly fund the project. The church committee reengaged with Vivus as if there was no interruption in the time line at all. We worked seamlessly together to complete the detailed design and then through the 4 month construction phase of the project.

Our preference was to select a capable contractor and work on a guaranteed maximum price design/build basis to accomplish the actual construction. You provided needed and very professional guidance when it came to contract documents (ie appropriate AIA contract documents) that suited this type of contracting approach. Your professionalism as an architectural firm was key in proactively defining the scope of responsibilities of the parties involved in the project.

During the construction phase of the project you were a genuine and strong advocate for the Church when it came to dealing with the Contractors and Building Officials. Every construction project can expect to have a few challenges arise during the actual construction, this is particularly true in a remodeling project. You effectively monitored construction with a keen eye toward workmanship quality control on behalf of the Church, but exhibited appropriate skill and temperament in working with the contractor to effectively resolve issues, as they arose, with practical and fair solutions.

As we reflect back on the completed project, we can confidently say the design hit the mark as we now have a new modern kitchen that is a much better fit for our Church program needs as well as being an attractive asset to our church facility. The new kitchen has many new features that suit today’s standards of minimal maintenance and quick and easy use. In addition to the constructed result, we also reflect happily on the cost and schedule performance on the project. Due to effective preplanning and contracting, we did not experience change order price escalation during the project. In fact, at the discretion of the Church Committee the project scope was expanded slightly during construction, but the extras were actually funded by cost under runs on the basic scope of the project. The net result was that we stayed within our originally budgeted project spending while being able to add a few enhancements that presented themselves as desireable during construction.

Peter and Mary, thank you for your work with us on this project. We would welcome the opportunity to work with you again on future projects. We also highly recommend you to others who may have similar project needs.

With best regards,

Bruce Lyman
Bruce Paulson
Co-Chairpersons Kitchen Remodeling Committee
Northfield United Methodist Church