What An Architect Does For You

An architect is a trained, licensed professional, with experience, who acts on behalf of the owner, to ensure a properly designed and a cost-effective building. While many may tell you that hiring an architect adds additional costs to the project, working with an architect often results in lower overall expenses, as a result of managing many potentially expensive unforeseen expenses in the building process, along with providing you with expert advise on the aesthetics of your new home. An architect helps ensure proper timely communication and coordination with the contractor and owner in an effort to head off any unnecessary additional expenses. There are many benefits that arise from hiring a residential architect.

What an Architect Does – In 6 Steps

what an architect can do for you

  • He provides a “Program.Prior to putting a pencil to paper, (or in reality his hand to a computer mouse) the architect visits the property and makes an analysis of the building site. Gathering information from the owner (pictures, ideas, budget, style, etc.) in what is called a “programming meeting” the architect condenses all of the information in order to come up with a detailed written program for you to review. This document will include architectural style, rooms, sizes, square footage, and budget expectations, along with anything you or your architect feels is relevant to consider in your new residence.  By bringing all this together in written form, and reviewed by you, you now have what could be called a “checklist” that will help you and the architect make decisions and trade-offs as you move to the next step…
  • Preliminary/schematic design. Using the Program, and referencing it constantly, the architect comes up with important concepts and first sketches displaying the appearance, general layout and the size of the building as well as how it conforms into the building site.  In a first presentation, you are likely to see your program highlighted and noted where the design meets or misses the goals, 1/8th inch scale floor plans with rooms sizes noted and labeled, and often a preliminary elevation to show you the all-important curb appeal of your new residence.  This process can be just one meeting, or multiple, depending on the success of your architect incorporating your ideas into the design.  You will begin to discuss trade-offs and budget, and rework these drawings until you are happy and your architect feels that you are within the range of your budget.  Once he has met your goals, and you have signed off on the design…
  • The process moves into Design Development. This is where the architect turns the preliminary sketches into a real building design with floor plans, elevations, building sections, roof design, as well as some of the interior and exterior trims details that give a building style and character. Drawings are likely to be presented in larger scales (1/4 inch scale for plans and elevations, 1/2 inch scale for sections) and if you have asked for this in your agreement, 3D models are developed and presented in order to help you understand the building in more detail.  With continuing reference to the program and budget, the design will continue to be modified to meet your goals, and once satisfied, the architect begins…
  • The construction documents. These are the detailed drawings that the contractors will use to bid and build the home, as well as be submitted to your local authority for a building permit. They are detailed enough that three different contractors are expected to produce the same building, hopefully at a similar/competitive cost. The goal is to provide drawings and specifications detailed enough that the contractors know not only what to bid and how to build, but limits to the extent possible, your exposure to change orders during the actual construction process.  A well detailed and coordinated set of drawings is critical to the success of a project for not just the owner, but the contractor and architect as well.
  • The architect manages the bidding process. Although the owner can bring his own contractor to the table, the architect helps solicit bids from various contractors who he feels are qualified for the project.  The architect answers the questions from contractor to clarify items in the plans and specifications. The architect can then produce a spreadsheet that compares “apples to apples” and makes a recommendation to the owner as to which contractor may best meet the needs of the client in relation to cost, quality, and schedule.  After a thorough review with all parties involved, the final choice is left to the owner.  After receiving a building permit, the architect then…
  • Providesconstruction observation. The architect acts as the owner’s agent, and is legally and ethically bound to defend the owner’s interests, ensuring that the builder and subcontractors are following the plans and specifications. This does not mean the architect is managing the construction, but verifying the quality of, and looking for any sub-standard work that needs to be corrected. Visiting the site regularly, the architect will inspect the work and answer any questions that may arise, and provide a detailed report to the Owner.  During construction observation, the architect prepares additional detailed drawings as needed, reviews and approves the contractors requests for payments, coordinates any field required changes to the plans, as well as prepare any required change orders.

By hiring an architect for the full suite of service, you get all the benefits listed above as well as a professional capable of helping you realize your dreams and wishes while steering you clear of the responsibilities and headaches of trying to manage the project yourself.

Are you in the market for an architect for your primary home design or remodel? Contact to see how we can assist!

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