When it comes to residential design and construction most of our clients are families and have never worked with an architect or contractor before. In fact, for most families, their residential addition or new home will be the only time they will ever work with an architect or contractor.
Without previous knowledge of the process, many families looking to “build” will instinctively go straight to a “builder”. Makes sense, right? Then, the contractor will look for an architect (or an unlicensed draftsman) to draw-up a plan to submit for permits.
In reality, the traditional design and build process is the complete opposite.
The process should be as follows:
- Reach out to one or more architects.
- Explain your project and receive proposals from architects.
- Hire one of the architects.
- The architect will collaboratively design your project working with you every step of the way. The architect will create a set of detailed construction documents for a contractor (not chosen yet) to build.
- The architect will be contractually obligated to meet your budget and will guide your design in a manner that balances your wants, needs, and budget.
- The architect assists you in bidding out your project to a few contractors in the area. By bidding your project to more than one contractor you are guaranteeing a competitive price and saving money.
- You, with the assistance of the architect, select one of the contractors.
- The contractor plans the construction logistics, schedules, and means and methods for building your project.
- The architect visits the project site on a weekly (minimum) basis making sure the contractor is building your project the way you and the architect have collaboratively designed it.
- The architect approves the quality of work and signs off for completion.
- You move into your new home, addition, or renovation.
So what does all of this mean to you?
Hiring an architect first will ensure the following:
- Your project will be thoughtfully designed and you will be a key figure in the process.
- You will be able to visualize (through renderings and presentations created by your architect) your project and assess design decisions early on and before they are constructed (expensive to change).
- You will be able to understand if your needs and wants list fits within your budget and adjust accordingly.
- You will be able to competitively bid your project to receive the best possible price.
- You will feel confident that the contractor is building what you want because your architect understands your goals, desires, and project through months of collaborative design with you and your family.
Now, I hope the basic lists above help you understand the importance of hiring an architect before a contractor on your next project. By doing so, you will make sure your money is spent on what is most important to you, get the best possible pricing, and ensure your project turns out exactly how you’ve dreamed it.
Feel free to reach out to us with any questions you may have!
For more information make sure you download our FREE guide “5 Steps to Hiring an Architect and Building Your Dream Home”....