When Do You Need an Architect?
I have heard this a few times recently – “I was not sure you would be interested in a job this small”. Well the truth is, we do all scales and sizes of projects. We only want to be involved in jobs where you see value in what we offer, but all scales of projects are interesting for us. The question for most is when do you need an architect as they embark on a renovation or new construction project. The reality is, the majority of the population has never worked with an architect and do not really understand what we do.
So when do you need an architect for a residential renovation?
In renovation work, you should call an architect into the project if you are moving walls, changing use of a space, need creativity, or just finishing a basement. If you are re-configuring spaces, it is important to not only make sure it works structurally, but also functionally. Just taking out a wall without thinking through how the space will be impacted on a daily basis could create other obstacles. Having an architect work through the design in advance of the builder giving you a price is critical for you to get the best value. The builder wants to know the full scope of work and you want to know if the space will function as you expect it will work.
If you are adding space to your existing home with an addition, deck, sunroom, or screen porch, you should call an architect. These additions seem straight forward, but they impact the amount of light entering the home, impact views if adding columns, and add spaces that need to be thought through and evaluated for function and structure.
If you are adding rooms to your home, you should call an architect. This one seems a little more straight forward than a simple interior renovation to justify bringing in an architect. We can not only provide the permit drawings required, but also the scope of work drawings the builder needs to give you an accurate price. We can maximize the value of the added space through our design. We will evaluate the functional layout and offer you suggestions to make the addition work as you intended.
So when do you need an architect for a custom home?
For me this one is easy – every time. Hiring a builder to do your design or purchasing a magazine plan to me is never a good investment. A builder is not trained in design to think through function and value. A builder knows how to build. They will guide you through the process, but you are only getting a semi-custom home. You are not going through a design process that an architect is trained lead. We listen to your goals, evaluate them vs your budget, offer suggestions to improve the space, and use our experience to deliver an energy-efficient, durable, and healthy design solution that best meets your aesthetic and functional goals. We spend a lot of time thinking through how you want to live in the space and how that translates into your new custom home. We bring together the aesthetics and function into a cohesive whole. This is why we spend 5-6 years in school training and another 3-6 years learning under a licensed architect before becoming an architect. A drafter or builder or online plan cannot fulfill the goal of a custom home. An architect is not only providing design services, but also guiding you through the construction process. I have heard from several of our regular builders that the houses they build for our clients cost less per square foot because we have a good plan in advance of construction. We think through not only the space layout, but the construct-ability of the structure. We work hard to make all the space we design as functional (valuable) as possible.
So when do you need an architect?
I believe you need an architect on every construction project where you want to use your money wisely and want a beautiful, healthy, and durable home or business.