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An architect is a licensed qualified professional whose work is to plan, design and review construction buildings. They offer advice on building, both technical and aesthetical. They are responsible for overseeing building project to ensure public safety. These are professionals whose role in every stage of building is critical.
The role of architects in building and construction can be categorized into three sections:
In the design stage, a homeowner hires an architect whose role is to come up with a detailed designs and concept idea of what the homeowner wants to achieve. In this, a stage the architect will put in their creative mind at work which calls for technical knowledge. The architect will make sure that your designs and plans comply with building and safety regulations and the set planning regulations.
Also, in this stage, the architect will work together with a team of professions which include designers, engineers and also the financiers.
On the documentation stage, the architect will then capture your building remodeling or designs on paper, and proceed to produce elaborate and detailed drawings using digital technology such as CAD and 3D computer modeling to test if the designs are feasible.
The architect will make revisions where applicable and redraw the designs to ensure they meet the client’s needs and budget and also ensure they incorporate the required building and safety regulations.
The final designs are then translated into the construction documents which provide instructions and technical guideline for the contractors and the construction experts. During the construction stage, the architect’s role will be to make occasional visits and attend meetings to oversee the construction.
The architect will give their approval at each stage of construction and resolve any architectural issues that may arise during the process. They also negotiate any disputes that may arise concerning payments especially when there is a change of order. They resolve issues to do with designs especially when details are lacking in the designs.
For most homeowners, their dream is to achieve a home remodeling project that will change all the major aspects of their home. You may have bought a house that did not have enough space in the living room, or maybe the kitchen design does not appeal to you, and you would prefer if the door were facing another direction: the list could be endless.
It could be that you aspire to build a two-story house that will accommodate every member of your family. The whole idea is that most homeowners aspire to do a major renovation of their homes at some point or they are potentially waiting to build the home of their dreams. Regardless of the big renovation or building ideas you have, if your plans involve construction and major structural additions, it would be better if you involved a licensed and qualified architect.
You might be thinking that architects are too expensive and are only needed in those multi-million construction projects. But the truth is that you need an architect just the same way you will need a plumber, electrician or a building contractor.
If you are doing a major remodeling project, an architect will be worth every cent. This is because, for you to achieve the design you dream of, you will need their input and expert evaluation. In fact, in some cases, especially the ones that involve large and complex remodeling projects, you might have no option other than calling in an architect for the project to take off.
Here are reasons why you should hire an architect for that building or remodeling project.
As mentioned earlier at the start of this guide, one of the major roles of an architect is to come up with designs that ensure that your plans are feasible. An architect has been trained to design and has skills to draw detailed designs that will meet your needs and desires. They will make sure your designs are in line with the architecture of your home and also, scale them into proper proportion.
An architect will make sure that you see the actual picture of your dreams by developing and refining your designs. They will provide you with the minor steps and concepts of your design to the final product. During the initial consultations, an architect makes sure they define the scope of work of your project, the purpose and most importantly the functionality of your project.
The architect will then develop a set of drawings (schematics) which are subject to changes until they achieve the final phase of your project.
When it comes to designs, the idea does not end at the aesthetics of the building, i.e., the shape, size and the finished surface. The architectural designs go beyond the aesthetics to include the dimensions of the building.
It is the work of the architect to make sure that they design your project to meet the building codes standards and also, be in line with the structural demands. It will require knowledge and an in-depth evaluation to be able to strike a balance between the aesthetics of your project and the structural safety. Therefore, it is important to hire an architect for your building or renovating project to make sure that the whole process plays by the rules.
An architect will provide alternative ways to solve a structural problem. They are also aware of all the building codes, and they will prepare all the necessary documentation and get building permits. These are services that will save you time and most importantly money.
Most people think that the work of an architect ends at the designing the project, but that’s not the case. In fact, no one will understand the designs of your project better than your architect. They are the right people who coordinate most of the construction professionals involved in your project before the actual work begins.
The architect will meet the HVAC mechanics, the structural engineers, the plumber, electrician and any the contractors to discuss the design and to make sure each of the section can structurally work with the designs.
These designs are the ones that guide the contractor into actualizing your dreams. If any problems arise during construction or renovation, the architectural plans will act as a point of reference for the contractor, and they will refer to them for guidance. The architect also provides solutions for any issues coming up without having to compromise your designs.
A Building or a renovation project can be a long tiring process. You can choose to continue with the services of an architect by allowing the professional to oversee your project and make sure the construction process is steered towards your actual designs.
You can hire an architect to manage your project and engage the subcontractors. They will establish a working schedule and make sure that the work is well coordinated. They will also ensure that the set plans are followed.
In some cases, the architect does all the supervision of the project. They will design the plans for the project, supervise the work and hire subcontractors. In this scenario, the homeowner is saved from the trouble having to sign up for two contracts; for the contractor and the other one for the architect.
An architect can come up with building or remodeling designs that will save you money on energy bills down the road. They can design buildings and remodeling projects that will maximize the heating system from the sun and allow natural light. These include designs that will allow the use of solar, passive water heater and accommodate efficient insulation systems. All these designs will reduce your electric, heating and cooling bills with time.
There is always a reason for building nor renovating your home. Your family may be growing bigger, and now you want more space or, you simply want to redesign your home. An architect will translate your ideas into actual three-dimensional space and square feet. They have been trained to solve problems creatively and technically.
With their diverse knowledge of design and construction, they will show alternative options that will work better to create a good design that is valuable. It’s critical to note that, a well-designed house can give you better returns because of high resale value.
This is the question that any homeowner planning to build or to renovate should be asking. Just like any other professionals, architects have passed through a university program, internships and exams that equip them with landscaping, designing and structural engineering knowledge and skills.
Even though no law requires you to hire an architect, there are some situations where your project stands a better chance if you involve one.
Does your project require blueprints as a construction requirement, or to enable the subcontractors to complete it? Or does the bank need the blueprints before financing your project? Before banks finance a building or a renovating project, they need a blueprint to make sure that your project is feasible and economically viable. If the answer is yes, then you will have to get yourself an architect to come up with the blueprints.
Are there areas in your building project or renovation that require an architect seal to enable you to proceed with the process? If yes, then you have no option other than engaging an architect. For some states and regions to approve your plans, you might be required to have them sealed and stamped by a licensed architect.
The work of an architect’s seal is to prove that the person doing the architectural work for that particular building is a legally licensed architect. However, the seal requirements differ with regions. For example, in some states, you may not require an architect’s seal if you are building a home that does not exceed 2,500 square feet.
If you are planning to build or renovate your home, it would be better if you checked with the local department that regulates construction and architect licensing to see if your plans need the seal.
If you are doing a major home remodeling that will involve significant structural changes, such as balconies, multiple fireplaces, and r, then it would be advisable to involve an architect to guide you on a safer way of doing the designs.
Some simple remodeling projects that involve few additions may not need an architect’s input. However, if, for example, your remodeling project involves adding an enter wing to your home, or, adding a story, you will need an architect to help you out in several areas.
With a big remodel project, an architect will come up with a design that will fit what you had pictured and planned. Also, architects will obtain the necessary permits and get in touch with the essential consultants.
The architect will further make sure they involve a structural engineer if your remodeling project has some major structural changes.
If you’re remodeling your house to increase the value of your house, then you need an architect’s input on the best designs that will give you a return on your investment.
Do you need permits? The building codes require that you get some permits before you start building or renovating. For these permits to be issued, the issuing department will require official plans detailing the specifications of the project. You will need an architect to come up with the plans for your projects to be granted the permits.
The cost of hiring an architect will vary depending on several factors such the architect’s fee, the size of your project and the extent to which you want the architect involved in your project. Some architects charge by the hour, others by square footage and other will charge you by a percentage of the total cost of the project.
The rates can vary with your location. Most homeowners spend about $2,042 to $8,069 on hiring an architect. However, different firms can charge differently depending on their level of experience. Established architectural firms that have been around for several years might have higher charges as compared to the new and budding ones. The average cost of hiring an architect comes around $4,666.
The minimum amount you can pay an architect is between $800 and $1,000. This for them to review and approve your blueprints or any other construction documents that will require a licensed architect’s approval and signature.
You can hire an architect to be an administrator of your project. For this responsibility, the architect will make sure that the structural engineer or the contractor follows the designs and makes minimal changes. For the administrative role, architects charge 5% of the budget. If your project costs about $30,000, you will pay the architect $1,500 for administration. If the architect charges based on percentage, it will cost you 8-15% of the overall cost of the project for administration. For example, if the work to be done is worth 10,000, you will pay the architect $1,500.
Architects charge around $80 to $150 per hour when hired on an hourly basis. In case you hire the principal who runs the architectural firm, you will pay around $150 per hour. Junior architects will charge around $80 per hour.
If you already have a design and you have decided to stick with it, the hourly basis will work for you perfectly. However, if you are having a hard time with your design and keep making changes, then hiring an architect on hourly basis might not be a good idea.
Some homeowners put a price cap where the terms indicate that the rate will not exceed a certain amount. This means that you won’t pay more than the stipulated amount once you reach the price cap, and you will have to renegotiate for a new contract. For example, if your project takes more than 80 hours, you will not pay more than 40 hours’ worth of the projects work.
Some people try to cut down on the hourly cost by hiring an architect to attend to specific aspects of the job. In most cases, architects will charge per hour if they cannot estimate the scope of work the project requires especially in situations where a client has presented incomplete or poor plans.
|Principal||Oversees the architectural firm||$135-$150|
|Project manager||They have more than 10 years’ experience in architectural work|
They are responsible for several projects which include client’s contract, scheduling of work and budgeting
|Intern architect II||Usually have 6-8 years of experience|
They manage the daily designs and handle the technical developments of a client’s project
|Intern I||They have 3-5 years of experience.|
Handles only specific areas of the project following the guidelines set by others
Architects can also charge the percentage of the project. Most charge around 15 to 20 % for a remodeling project and new construction, the charges come to 5% to 15%. Some architects will charge you a percentage based on the construction costs.
The remodeling charges for an existing construction tend to be higher as compared to that of new construction. This is because the architect and the builder will be dealing with the work of the previous contractors. They will have to rectify some of the areas that are not up to the building code especially with the old houses.
When it comes to deciding what counts as construction cost, the situation might be a little tricky. It’s important to note that not all aspects of construction affect the cost of construction. You need to make sure you are on the same page with your architect on the costs that count as project costs. To make it a bit clearer, anything that will affect the structural part of the house, it is usually part of the construction cost.
Homeowners fear the hourly fee since they believe they can add up to high costs. When it comes to square footage charges, you are assured that the costs will remain flat unless you decide to add bigger addition than what was in the initial plan.
However, the square foot charges might not work with the remodel projects. This is because, with remodeling, most of the changes are not constant, which makes it hard to calculate the actual square footage. This method of charging can work best for custom homes.
With this kind of charging method, an architect will often limit the client to a few revisions which will keep the costs under control. If the revisions go beyond the negotiated number, some architects will use an hourly rate to handle extra a changes.
Most architects charge around $1.25 to $5 per square foot. Sometimes, depending on the complexity of the job, an architect may charge as much as $10 per square foot. For example, for 1,000 square feet of a project, you will spend about $1,200 to $5,000.
There are some situations where architects use both per square foot and hourly charges to the bill. In initial set up of the designs and the schematics, an architect will use the hourly rates to charge you. This acts as an incentive for the homeowner to try their best to present any changes on the design on time. Once the design has been set, and the scope of work established, the architect can now come up with an accurate per square foot fee.
Just like any other remodeling contract, the details of your project are critical. One crucial question that you should have an answer to is about the ownership of the plans that are handed to you by the architect. In addition, you should ask yourself who will pay for design errors in case they come up, or who will be responsible for construction defects?
So you have paid your architect a couple of thousands to have your blueprints designed. At this point you might be thinking since you paid for this custom designs for your home, they are legally yours.
However, it might be shocking to learn that you don’t legally have the possession rights for an architect’s designs. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) standard contract grants ownership of the copyright of the plans to the architect.
What does this mean? It implies that the architect can still use the same plans with a different client. As a client, you get a one-time use of the copyrighted blueprint, and the architect is at liberty to use the plans to anyone who hires them.
What happens if you fire your architect? Can you still use the same pans and proceed with the project and possibly make changes? If under some circumstances you happen to end your contract with your architect mid-project, then it’s likely that you may have to forfeit the plans.
In some situations, if you had hired the architect only for the initial designing of the project, you can continue using the plans, but you must discuss this details upfront, if possible in the first meeting to ensure that you are on the same page.
Sometimes even the most competent and experienced architect can make errors, and they are not always perfect. It is possible to encounter errors or omissions when the project is underway. The contractor will be expected to build the home to the specified dimensions of the plans. But, even with the contractor checks and verifies every dimension of the project, it’s possible that some errors may go unnoticed until later.
So, who gets blamed for such mistakes? The design errors will fall majorly on the architect. If the contractor was not able to spot the errors and omissions in one area of the project’s design the architect takes the fault. In most cases, the errors are usually small, and it is possible to work out the mistakes among the contractor, client, and the architect.
However, it important to make sure, as a client, you have addressed design errors in the architect’s contract before you hire.
Even though the architect may inspect your site and oversee the ongoing construction process, they are not building contractors. An architect may be in apposition to ascertain that the work being done by the building contractor is going by the plans, but they should not be expected to know much about the construction.
If an architect notices abnormalities and defects in construction, the may inform their client about their concerns, but the liability for any construction defects will majorly fall on the building contractor.
Errors and miscalculations are bound to happen in any project. However, no agreement or contract will guarantee you excellent quality. It’s true that a contract will come in handy when things go wrong, but the only way to make sure you achieve a successful project is to make sure you hire qualified, reputable and trustworthy team.
When planning to hire an architect, it is essential to find one who will fit your needs and actualize your vision. If you already have a mental picture of what you intend to achieve with your remodeling project and you want someone who will draw your plans into proper dimensions, then you need to hire someone who is practical, hands-on and has ample experience.
Also, if you want local architects who will handle your documentation and administration, then make sure you get someone who is organized and has a good record of management skills. Your remodeling or building project is a representation of a major investment that should be all worth it once completed. The design you aspire to get from your architect should improve the curb appeal or value of your home. Their vision should be to maximize your remodel and construction investment.
As a homeowner, it is never too early to involve an architect to help you with the essential decisions of your project. These include decisions on selecting a site, the size of the remodel, space, budget, schedule, permits, safety and building codes.
When hiring an architect, it’s critical to note that, your project is a joint effort of you as the homeowner, the architect, the contractor and other professionals whose input will be essential along the way. Therefore when hiring an architect, you need someone who will be able to collaborate with all the other professionals and flexible enough to make changes where needed.
An architect is someone who will take your vision and put it on paper and eventually create the actual design of your home. You will have to place a lot of trust in that person to deliver your dreams and create a design that will fit into various dimensions of your home. Therefore, you have to look for the following pointers to guide you in settling for the right architect.
Genuine interest: hire someone who shows interest in your project. Will they go an extra mile to give you the best designs? Are they asking the right questions? Are they treating your project as a top priority? You should hire someone who appears to be enthusiastic about your building or remodeling project.
Working rapport: it’s essential to hire an architect that you can comfortably work together. You should be able to communicate with each other and exchange ideas with ease. A good working relationship is critical.
Capable of handling the project: when hiring, make sure you get someone who will be able to handle your project and delivers on your expectations.
Several ways can help you get a reliable and competent architect. You need to take your time when searching for one to make sure you have made the right choice.
Here are tips that should guide you towards getting an architect.
You can reach out to the people close to you such as friends, family, and colleagues for a referral. If they worked with a good architect or know someone who hired an excellent architect, they can give you their contacts. If your neighbor has a good home
that you admire, you can engage them to find out if they used an architect and if they would recommend him/her for your project.
Some bodies govern architects conduct such as American Institute of Architects. They can be a good source of information and can give you names of the competent and reliable architects. You will also be able to get an architect that is within your area which is more convenient for you.
The internet has become one of the most practical and efficient ways to search for any service. Most professionals run websites that give details about the services they provide.You will find their contact information and address on their page. If you type in search engines for architects near you, you will get multiple results for the ones in your location.
Make sure you browse through their websites and look at the photos of their work. Read reviews and feedback from their clients.
Once you have done your search and found an architect that you consider to be a potential candidate, you need to schedule an interview. This is where you will be able to discuss the project in depth and all the other related aspects such as costs and the scope of work.
The information you gather from this interview will help you determine if the architect is the right one for your project. To get all the essential details of your project and about the architect, you will need to ask your architect the following questions:
Before you hire an architect, it’s critical to hear from their past clients and also the contractors they have worked with in other projects. Most architects get their clients through referral, which means a good and reliable firm will have several clients who are ready to put in a good word for them.
Talking with past clients will help you gather essential information about the architect you are about to hire. Get at least three contacts from the architect and make calls. Find out how it was for them to work with the architect you are about to hire. Were the designs done by the architect appealing? Find out from the references how the architect relates to the other contractors and if they would recommend them to anyone else for an architectural job.
Find out if the architect has handled a similar project like yours in the past. Have they handled a project of the same size and shape as the one you want? If the answer is yes, they should provide with photos of previous work to see if they achieved the same results you are hoping to get.
After reviewing your project, an architect will be able to see if there is a possibility of any obstacles that may come along and deter the progress of the project. Let them spell them out and give you an expert opinion on how to handle the issues.
Ask the architect if they charge on an hourly basis, or, per square footage or on a percentage of the project. This way you will be able to manage your budget and come up with a design that you can afford. Always make sure you extra 25% of the total budget on the side for additional expenditures that may come up during the project.
Find from your architect what the basic package covers and what is considered as an additional fee. For example, if the architect has to assess your existing home to figure out if the designs you have in mind can work, the survey might come at an extra charge. Other services such as converting your designs into 3D presentation might also be an additional fee.
Make sure your architect takes you through all the details that they consider extra especially if you notice a service that is not listed in the basic package.
Make sure you find out right from the onset of the interview, the person who will be allocated to you. Ask about their experience level, and the kind of projects they have handled in the past or they are currently managing. For example, if they you a doing a renovation for a single-family residence, can they handle major additions? Are their photos of their previous work?
Before you hire an architect, it would be essential to have an idea of what they can do. Ask if they have a portfolio. Are you impressed with their previous designs? Do they fit the kind of designs and styles you wanted?
Logistic questions are vital and should not be left from the list of questions you ask during an interview. Ensure you have a start date and let architect give you an estimate of when they expect to finish your project. All this should be writing for accounting purposes.
Disputes, errors, omissions or misunderstandings with either the client or a contractor are scenarios that are likely to happen in any project. Find out from the architect the steps they take to make sure disputes are handled amicably. Can they give you an example of a previous situation and how they handled the matter?
It’s important to note that there is no perfect architect, but what matters is how they resolve issues. If an architect claims that they have never had problems with their designs or with clients and contractors, take that as a red flag.
This is a critical question to ask. Your architect should have feedback concerning your project. For example. Your budget might not be enough to cover the whole project. Make sure they discuss the challenges with you and find a way of resolving all the issues that your project presents.
Unfortunately, it is possible to come across dishonest architects who may use false information to sell their services. There are some who might be practicing with a lapsed license, a situation that might put your project in jeopardy should the local authorities find out.
To avoid this kind of scenario, make sure you ask for all necessary documentation and certificates before you hire. You can also make a call to the licensing board to find out if the architect you are about to hire is licensed.
In addition, you should be aware of architects who offer architectural services or landscapes without the certificate of authorization. To make sure you do not fall a victim of this kind of architects, ask for qualifications certificates before you hire.
You can also make a call to your local architectural body to find out if the architect you are about to hire has been approved to serve the public.
Lastly, make sure you exercise due diligence when seeking architectural services. Ensure that the details of the contract are clear and there are no grey areas. It’s important to let your lawyer go over the contract before you commit to it.
Architects will visualize your ideas and turn them into a reality. If you are making major changes in your home renovation, it would be critical to involve an architect to help with the designing phase and solve any structural challenges that your home might have had in the past.
Just like any other contractual service, it is crucial that you take your time to search and interview several architects before settling down with the right one. Ask for several samples of their previous work just to be sure you are dealing with someone who is adequately skilled and knowledgeable.
It’s also critical that you get multiple quotes for price comparison to avoid paying unnecessary high costs for your project. Hiring an architect can be one of the best decision you make for your project. If you want to achieve maximum benefits of your remodeling or building project, an architect can create designs that will increase the resale value of your home and ensure a return on investment.