Frequently Asked Questions
How much does it cost to hire an architect?
Fees for architects very. Due to anti-trust regulations, there is no industry standard or industry fee schedules. There are helpful resources available to inform clients of what is "usual and customary" for Architectural Design Fees. The most comprehensive sources is: www.architecturalfees.com
Who should I go to first, The Architect or The Builder?
In the simplest of terms, the design of a building precedes the construction. As such, most builders can offer little (in terms of cost estimates or construction) without a set of Construction Documents (Blueprints). So, we believe an architect should be contacted first. While the industry standard is a contractual relationship between the Owner and Architect, most architects welcome a builder into the design process. However, there are two common paths of selecting a builder. The first is "Negotiated Contract" - where the builder agrees to work for the owner and get compensated either by a Flat Fee, Cost Plus, or Time & Materials. The second path is "Competitive Bidding". In this scenario, multiple bidders compete for the project. In order to ensure a level playing field, the bidders must have complete, comprehensive Construction Documents.
Do you enjoy doing additions and remodellings?
While some architects only take these projects as "filler work", I find them completely intriguing! You see, growing up, my dad put two additions onto our house. The first (completed when I was only 3 years old) was a family room. The second addition was a bedroom suite - above the family room - for my brother and me! Everyday after school I would rush home to see the progress and hang with the carpenters. Of course, my favorite toy was lego's. And I would typically build a small house, and then add onto it! - often times transforming it into something beyond recognition! I'm fascinated with transforming buildings! And would love the opportunity to help you transform your house into something that truly inspires you!
What is "The Design Process"?
The simplest analogy is that designing a home is like writing a novel. It is a creative process. A good novel is not only interesting, it is also written in a complete and concise manner. i.e it is not a set of random paragraphs and chapters. Likewise, a good home design will have a central story or "concept" that relates all the parts to one another. Architects are trained as "Critical Thinkers". and receive rigorous training in college that ensures they don't simply settle for the first rough draft. Neither should you - as your new home will be an expensive investment. Your Architect will ensure a thorough design process where your needs and wants are analyzed and balanced into a wonderful story - your unique home!
How can my Architect save me money?
It costs money to hire an Architect. However in the long run the Architect's fees can not only pay for themselves, but save the owner money. The three most common money saving strategies are
1. Creative Problem Solving By virtue of their formal education, Architects are trained to search for innovative and efficient solutions. An architect will maximize your square footage to ensure there is no squandered spaces. Moreover, an architect will search for innovative construction techniques that will save on construction costs.
2. Comprehensive Construction Documents (CD's) Architects are trained to produce more thorough and detailed drawings and specifications than drafter/designers. This aides in more accurate construction pricing. It also aides in fewer misinterpretations and change orders.
3. Competitive Bidding A comprehensive set of CD's will allow for "Competitive Bidding", if the owner so chooses. Oftentimes the RANGE in bids exceeds the design fees.
Do I need to find a plan from a book or magazine?
Simply put, it is not necessary. Your Architect has been trained to search for creative solutions. Your Architect will work through a thorough design process to ensure a unique plan that is tailor made for your needs and tastes on your building site.
Are all Architects the same?
While all architects are licensed as General Practitioners, almost all architects develop an area of expertise. I have devoted myself to mastering the art of Small Projects. These include: Residential Design, Light Commercial, Historic Preservation. I pride myself on serving a clientele who appreciates creative solutions to their building needs.
Does hiring a Licensed Architect make a difference?
In order to use the title "Architect" one must become licensed through the state in which they practice. In order to obtain an Architect's license, one must earn a Professional Architecture Degree (Five Year Bachelor of Architecture or Master of Architecture) from an accredited Architecture School, complete a three year internship, then take a nine park, four day examination.
While many builders and lumberyards off in-house drafting services, they typically do not employ licensed architects. Licensure ensures that Architect is professionally liable for the health, safety, and welfare of the public. This takes the risk from the client to the design professional. Unlicensed designers/drafters have no professional liability. Hence, if there are errors or omissions in their drawings, the liability still falls on the client or home owner!
Architecture School teaches architects to be Creative Problem Solvers. Coursework includes: Aesthetic Theory, Architectural History, Construction Materials & Methods, Environmental Control Systems, and Professional Practice. The Architectural Education teaches students to balance "Firmness, Commodity, and Delight" or projects that are Well Built, Functional, and Aesthetically Pleasing.
Building or renovating a home is a huge investment! Entrusting your design to a Licensed Architect gives you the peace of mind of knowing your project has the highest standard of professional care.