Is an architect just an unnecessary part of the construction process that adds unneeded costs? Many builders would say yes and have done a great job of spreading that message. However, if we take a step back are there other questions that we should ask? For instance, does the builder understand design? Does a builder know how to interpret your needs in a home into a functional space. Sure, anyone can pick out a countertop that looks beautiful or arrange rooms in a layout, but is the layout efficient? Will it work for you, your family, and your furniture? Will the home be energy-efficient, what about indoor air quality? Of course, as an architect, my opinion is biased, but having lived in two homes that were designed by builders, I can tell you, a functional space is way more important, than the minor costs that an architect adds to the process. In fact, I would argue that an architect not only makes a project more livable, but also saves money for the client. Here is a list of reasons I believe an architect adds value to your construction project.
An architect is an experienced business partner that you bring into a project to save you time, money, and headaches. Architects have extensive training and understand the construction process. They are able to co-ordinate and manage the information required for a building project. The architect’s role is more than just creating drawings, it should cover a variety of areas, ranging from landscaping design to ergonomics, law, sociology, construction materials and techniques, etc.
An architect understands construction materials, scale and proportion, and timing. The architect can help guide you through the process of design to create the best value project from energy efficiency to functional space. Having an understanding of how we live and work, allows the architect to reduce redundant spaces and maximize your investment.
An architect takes your ideas, thoughts, and dreams and translates them into a description that a contractor can build. The most important characteristic of an architect is the ability to hear.
Balance, form, proportion, space, function are all elements that an architect things about and uses to create aesthetically beautiful and interesting solutions. An architect is trained to use their imagination to solve your design problems.
An architect is their to serve you and will act in your best interests at all times. They understand the big picture and are able to balance your priorities with your goals and desires.
An architect works in an interesting realm of creating projects for clients that impact the community at large. They understand that their work will impact quality of life for those in buildings as well as for those simply experiencing the buildings from a distance. A good designer will work to create connections and a sense of place to help foster community, one that celebrates heritage while not limiting vision.
A competent architect understands the complexities of building science and are able to balance development goals with environmental issues. From energy efficiency to indoor environmental quality, the architect is able to design buildings that minimize resource depletion, contribute to a healthier lifestyle, and deliver the functional spaces desired by the client.
There are many elements to a construction process and just as many people involved. The architect has the ability to communicate effectively with clients, engineers, planners, architects, contractors, and neighbors. This ability to hear, translate, and converse helps mitigate unforseen issues and solve problems creatively as they arise.
The architect’s role is to act as the owner’s agent through the process. They understand the contract, the defined roles, and the building code. Construction is not a straight forward process and there are many moving parts, having someone who has gone through the process on your side is a priceless commodity.
The architect works for you as your representative, they will act in your best interest, they will help you get the best value. The most important element when deciding to hire an architect is to find one that you trust.