You don’t have to be designing your home from scratch to need an architect.
If you’re making any structural changes to your home at all, whether it be an addition, a remodel or adding a whole new floor, an architect should be the first person you call.
An architect can perform many of the same services a contractor would but will also be able to incorporate any changes into the overall design of the house.
Though some contractors do have an eye for design, an architect has had extensive training in blending form and function.
When you bring them in at the beginning of the project, it can save you from an aesthetic disaster that could hurt the resale value of your home.
WHAT AN ARCHITECT CAN DO FOR YOU
Here are the three main functions an architect performs when working on residential projects:
An architect will help you plan the project and come up with designs.
Good design will take your needs, the style of the current structure and the building site into consideration.
Expect an architect to ask and consider questions like: What are the traffic patterns in your home and how does this project fit with them? How will your family use in the new addition? Where does the sun rise and set and how does light enter the room? Where are the neighbors? Was this building built in 1980 or 1890? An architect will make sure that eras, materials and roof lines match.
There’s nothing worse than a colonial home with a modernist addition or vice versa.
Once the designs have been drawn up, the architect will coordinate and manage the project from start to finish.
This begins with calling for quotes from contractors, helping to review the quotes before hiring someone to do the work and includes dovetailing the work of all the people who are contributing to the final project.
The Architect will supervise work as it progresses making sure that everything goes according to plan as far as quality, time and budget are concerned.
KEEPING IT LEGAL
Your Architect will obtain any necessary permits and ensure that all local building codes and bylaws are observed.
They will also make a final inspection.
An architect has to be accredited and licensed by the state after completing a five year architecture degree or master of architecture program, while no formal education is required for contractors.
An architect is professionally liable for the soundness of the work
HOW DO I FIND AN ARCHITECT?
Finding an architect isn’t as simple as opening the phone book.
Designing a building is an art, so look around for buildings and homes you love, then talk to the owners and discover who the architect was.
See if you can afford them! If you have to go without a recommendation, meet with prospective architects and look for values that mesh with yours, common philosophies and good chemistry.
The design of the project should be a collaborative effort – your architect has to be someone you can work with.