Few people realize how complicated it is to build - that is until they find themselves lost in the maze of design options, building codes, zoning laws, contractors, and so on. No two building projects are exactly alike, so there is no single, clear-cut path to follow.
The architect is the one professional who has the education, training, experience, and vision to guide you through the entire design and construction process, from helping you define what you want to build to helping you get the most for your construction dollar. Architects see the big picture. They don't just design four walls and a roof - they create total environments, interiors and exteriors, that satisfy functional needs and are exciting, dynamic spaces in which to work and live.
Architects Solve Problems
Most building projects start with a want or need. "I need more file space in my office." Or, "We've outgrown our house." But how does that need or want get translated into square feet and three-dimensional space?
That is what architects are trained to do, solve problems in creative ways. With their broad knowledge of design and construction, architects can show you alternatives and options you might never think of on your own.
Architects Can Save You Money
The architect's services are a wise investment for the money, not an added cost to your project. Why?
Architects Can Make Your Life Easier
Building is a long process that is always intricate and troublesome, especially because you as the owner are already busy with your life. The architect you hire acts as your agent looking out for your interests and tries to find ways to make that process go smoothly.
If your project requires engineering or other design services, the architect can coordinate this team of experts so you don't have to. The architect sorts out complex building codes and zoning laws to get through the complex procedures to obtain the required building permits. The architect can help you find qualified construction contractors based on your requirements. The architect visits the construction site to help verify that the project is being built according to plans and specifications.
A Word About How Architects Get Paid
Architects’ fees are associated with the size and complexity of a project. Architects usually charge a percentage of the total project cost, anywhere from 5%-15% for new construction and 15%-20% percent for remodeling projects. Remodeling projects generally cost more than new construction because of the challenges faced in dealing with older construction techniques and blending architectural styles together.
For new construction Archestrate LLC offers schematic design packages that include a floor plan, an elevation and a preliminary cost estimate. We charge a set fee based on the square footage of the project for this package. Once the schematic design package is approved by the client, the construction document phase can begin. Our fee for construction document and construction administration services is usually 5-15% of the total cost of the project (schematic design cost is applied to total fee.) Renovations and additions require a consultation and site visit before a fee can be proposed.
Six Steps Toward Building Your Dream
Design and construction projects involve several steps. Typically, projects go through the following six phases. However, on some projects, several of these steps may be combined or there may be additional ones.
STEP 1: Programming/Deciding What to Build
The owner and architect discuss the requirements for the project (how many rooms, the function of the spaces, etc.), testing the fit between the owner's needs, wants, and budget.
STEP 2: Schematic Design/Rough Sketches
The architect prepares a series of rough sketches, known as schematic design, which show the general arrangement of rooms and of the site. Some architects also prepare models to help visualize the project. The owner approves these sketches before proceeding to the next phase.
STEP 3: Design Development/ Refining the Design
The architect prepares more detailed drawings to illustrate other aspects of the proposed design. Floor plans show all the rooms in correct size and shape. Outline specifications are prepared, listing the major materials and room finishes.
STEP 4: Preparation of Construction Documents
Once the owner has approved the design, the architect prepares detailed drawings and specifications, which the contractor will use to establish actual construction cost and build the project. These drawings and specifications become part of the building contract.
STEP 5: Hiring the Contractor
The owner selects and hires the contractor. The architect may be willing to make some recommendations. In many cases, owners choose from among several contractors they've asked to submit bids on the job. The architect can help you prepare bidding documents as well as invitations to bid and instructions to bidders.
STEP 6: Construction Administration
While the contractor will physically build the home or office, the architect can assist the owner in making sure that the project is build according to the plans and specifications. The architect can make site visits to observe construction, review and approve the contractor's applications for payment, and generally keep the owner informed of the project's progress. The contractor is solely responsible for construction methods, techniques, schedules and procedures.
In conclusion, once you have decided you need an architect for your project, have selected one (select an architect you can trust and that you have chemistry with), have come to an understanding on fees, and have the programmatic elements completed, you are ready to embark on the design process. We like to think that the hard part is behind you and the fun is just beginning.
STILL UNSURE IF YOU NEED AN ARCHITECT?
Shelley Olivier, AIA, NCARB
2/7/2019 08:29:00 pm
Thanks for helping me understand that hiring an architect will be able to help you understand the requirements for the project that you have in mind. I guess that is why we should hire one since our dream home will be a three-story house because we plan to have at least three to four children in the future. This will ensure that we will be following regulations and codes in our area.
9/8/2021 05:41:52 pm
Thanks for pointing out that architects have the experience to guide us through the design and construction process. This is really helpful because my husband and I want to have our dream house built next month. We are hoping to find a certified architectural review on Monday to ensure stability for our two-story house with a jacuzzi.
11/18/2021 12:23:31 am
Excellent article! Your post is essential today. Thanks for sharing, by the way.
12/2/2021 01:28:32 pm
Thanks for the tip about architects preparing detailed renderings of what everything will look like. My son and his wife are planning to build a custom home next year. I think they should work with an architect to get everything done for the design.
1/13/2022 06:32:12 am
All of the tips in your post is excellent and extremely helpful. I'll remember it, and thank you for sharing the information.
5/3/2022 09:54:50 pm
You made a good point when you discussed that architects can craft detailed and accurate drawings that can help reduce design mistakes. My friend has decided to build a custom home. I should advise him to include an architect on his team to help him achieve his desired dream home.
7/19/2022 01:12:41 pm
It really stood out to me when you mentioned that hiring an architect is a good idea because it can make any process go smoothly. With that in mind, it would probably be a good idea to make sure that you hire an architect that has the amount of experience and education you need. It seems like it would be a good idea to make sure that you find an architect that has received some kind of degree in their field.
10/25/2022 06:50:19 pm
My younger brother and his wife want to build a custom home on a property lot they bought a few months ago. You make a great point on how professional architects can reduce design mistakes to save you money. I'll make sure my brother hires a respectable architect in the next few weeks to help them design their new house properly.
11/17/2022 03:08:44 am
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Designer of all things.