The owner is the autocrat; his wishes are to govern; and, unless his interest can be thoroughly aroused, the transaction will probably end unsatisfactorily. There is no person so hard to serve as one who, while feeling it necessary to build, has no interest in the process. When done, the work will never be quite what he thought it would be, and he will never be satisfied. Therefore, if possible, his interest should be enlisted concerning as many details of materials as possible, and the reason for using one and not another. His questions will at first be trying. Possibly the first query will be, how much greater per cent will be the cost of a brick or stone-faced house over wood; and no amount of argument or explanation will convince him that no definite ratio exists. But the question can be used as an excuse to discuss the different qualities of brick or kinds of stone which he likes; and soon technical knowledge of these materials will awaken an interest and call out more rational questions. This will reveal what kind of materials are satisfactory, and an estimate quickly made will answer the question.

It is the right of the owner to understand all the differences in quality of materials, and why they are to be used. If he does not, he will probably be much annoyed by the wiseacres, who are sure to criticise everything delivered on the site, and the end is apt to be severe criticism of the architect, who "did not know enough to specify the best." It will rarely occur to the owner, that, had the best been specified, it would have carried his building well into the hands of the mortgagee. This interest, too, will lead to co-operation with the architect and the contractor, which will lead the owner to "give and take" in minor matters, to the mutual advantage of himself and the contractor. It is, further, his right to have freaks and notions; and, after a careful presentation of the case, his ideas as to materials, though they may be decidedly different from those of his architect, should be respected, and the material incorporated as dictated by him. Herein is the opportunity for the architect to use his best technical knowledge, and so meet the conditions that in spite of them the result will be satisfactory. The architect who says that he carried out the dictations of the owner and is not responsible for the result, is apt to lose a patron and possibly make an enemy.