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The OPR, or Owners Project Requirements, should be an Architect’s best friend.  As Architects one of our primary tasks is to meet the Owner’s needs as best we can within the constraints of the project.  The more we understand the Owner’s requirements and can share them clearly with the rest of the Design Team the better.

Gaining recent notoriety as a LEED prerequisite, an OPR is a survey given to the owner early in design process to assist the Design Team with decision making.  It adds clarity to an often complex and difficult process at every phase of a project.  A good OPR is meant to get into the mind of Owner, let them clearly express their goals for project, and see what lights their fire or puts it out.  This type of survey helps get the project off on the right foot in two very important ways:

1.  It allows the Owner to have buy-in to the design process from the beginning.

2.  It allows the Architect the opportunity to engage the Owner and to educate them on why certain decisions are made.

Both of these help the Owner understand the decisions that were made and will be made on the project.  A good Architect will explain decision in a manner that relates them to their project team as well as the multiple goals of the project.  Though, it is meant to help the Design Team with their decision process, it also assists the Owner with prioritizing their needs and understanding that not every item can have top priority.

A properly used OPR will make a project more successful by including the Owner in more of the decisions.  This is important, as we all want to say, “Hey, look, we listened to you, planned for this, and together we made this project a success!”

If you like the idea of using an OPR on your next project consider also linking it with a BOD, Basis of Design, and a POE, Post Occupancy Evaluation.