Do I need an architect for this? It’s the right question to ask. Architects are licensed professionals. Like doctors and lawyers, they have completed university programs and lengthy internships, and they have passed a series of rigorous exams. Their training covers many areas, ranging from landscape design to structural engineering.
This diversity means that architects can see possibilities and find solutions to their individual needs. While a builder or a home designer may make some adaptations at your request, a good architect will anticipate your needs.
Whether your construction or design aspirations are small or large scale—getting to the middle of a project and realizing you’re lost or out of resources can be an overwhelming feeling. Many people choose to hire an architect when they know that there are limits to what they can personally provide, or they want to know that the project is in the hands of an expert. When it comes to deciding whether or not an architect is a way to go for your next project, take some time to consider the following ten things you need to know before hiring an architect.
What Architects Do?
For some projects, architects wear many hats. They may create the design, do the drafting, select the materials, and supervise the entire work process. Ideally, your architect will visit your building site, observe the sun’s direction, note the prevailing breezes, sketch the existing vegetation, and anticipate the best views. For renovation projects, an architect knows what will structurally work and appreciate symmetry and proportion.
For other projects, the architect’s role may be limited to drafting the blueprints. If you can find stock blueprints similar to your own dream house, you may be able to hire an architect to make alterations. Changing an existing plan is always less expensive than designing a home from scratch.
Before drafting a design, a good architect will spend time talking with you and other members of your family. Like any other professional, the architect will get to know how you and your family live by asking a lot of questions:
- Who will live in the house? What are their ages? Who might you be caring for shortly? Do you want spaces to promote group or family activities, like watching television?
- How important is an informal and formal dining room?
- Do you like to have parties? How accessible should the kitchen be to groups?
- Do you regard the bedroom as a sanctuary where you spend many daytime hours? Or, is the bedroom simply a place to sleep?
- Do you need a private area for your computer? Or, would you prefer a centrally located media centre where children can be supervised?
- What bothers you about the house you’re living in right now? And what do you love about your current home?
- Is your automobile part of the family?
Even if you are working within a tight budget, it does not make good economic sense to cut corners on design. Talented professionals will help you avoid costly mistakes and assure you that the home you build is ideal for the way you live.
Things You Need To Know Before Hiring An Architect
Understanding the Experts
Hiring an outside professional in any capacity takes a certain amount of open-mindedness. However, when you’re considering hiring an architect, it’s imperative that you understand the flexibility required in projects. Architects are trained professionals who have spent years studying building codes, interior and exterior design, structural integrity etc.…Architects are hired with a wealth of knowledge to contribute, so be willing to listen and take their expert advice. Having a clear understanding of what you want for final results will only help, but being open to professional suggestions will create a smooth path to successful project completion.
Take Timeline Into Consideration
Architects have to have the pieces in place before they begin, which means work won’t start immediately. A timeline will have to be established initially, and you may not like the length of that time frame. Also, issues such as building rights must be determined before your project can truly take off. Expect variations in this timeline to accommodate great work in the end, but it is a lengthy process with lots of hoops to jump through. Remodelling or building a home requires a lot of well-planned time constraints. If you plan to hire a pro, do your research first and allow yourself and your contractor enough time to do the job correctly.
Balance The Budget Beforehand
Hiring professional help does cost, and hiring an architect is no exception to the rule. To avoid delays or confusion along the way, be sure to have your budgetary requirements set from the start. Discuss these with the architect and ask if he/she can work within those constraints. It is also essential to clarify where you draw limits and how the project will be paid out. Remember, keep realistic expectations about the time the project will take, affecting the budget. Finding the right Melbourne home builders is an important decision. Check out our range of the best home design constructions at MJS Construction Group.
Learn From The Long Term
No matter how anxious you are to get a project completed, an excellent professional architect will consider the long-term. You want the project to last without putting more money into it; you want a classic home that is not filled with trendy ideas that will fizzle in the future. Expect some suggestions that might help your project today and increase building value and flexibility for the future. Be sure that your architect is the pro who knows all about structural integrity and assures you a sound home for years to come.
Ask Around For A Great Architect
If an architect is genuinely invested in your project, it’s likely that you’ll be working closely with that person for an extended amount of time. This means it’s essential that you feel comfortable as a professional team. You need to feel comfortable with this person and feel your needs/wants will be safe in their hands. Be sure to ask around and get recommendations before you hire someone on, and ask for past work photos. Understanding how the architect has worked for someone in the past can give you realistic expectations for your project and working relationship.
Sometimes It Takes A-Team
Depending on how involved your assignment is, the architect you hire may require more minds and hands to accomplish the final goal. This means hiring more than one person or possibly an entire architecture firm—in turn costing you more money. Don’t be surprised by the team effort that might be heading your way soon if you decide to hire an architect. This idea makes it especially important to hire someone you trust, as they often choose their team of experts. It’s best to research all the parties involved and make sure they meet your strict criteria.
It Will Get Messy
Architects are in the business of building. However, demolishing inevitably precedes creation. This means things can get messy. Be sure to discuss the demolition process and how your residence will be affected and protected before the project starts. Will you have to move out for a while (causing your budget to be blown)? Will there be early morning noise interruptions? When do they end their workday? All of these things should be considered. Here are some suggested questions for every architect you plan to hire.
Change You Can Count On
While initial conversations with a hired architect may seem set in stone, professionals understand that many things can change along the way. You’ll want to discuss how you’ll deal with changes contractually before work begins. Will the architect always be sure to consult new plans right away before engaging them? Also, be sure he/she will always ask about changes in the budget before changing plans. This will help you avoid stress or project roadblocks. An architect who doesn’t agree to a change process may not be your best bet when it comes to hiring.
Creating Lines Of Communication
Before you ever sign a contract, be sure you can establish a clear communication line with your architect. Clear communication is the ultimate key to a successful project. Understanding sufficient times to contact and create a regular schedule for updates is essential to keeping a project on track and your working relationship successful. It also reduces stress between you and your architect.
Dedication To The Details
Architects are generally creative minds, but they are also business-oriented; therefore, it’s expected that the contracts will be full of details and documentation. It’s essential to get on board with the idea of strict documentation to protect both yourself and your architect before you decide to hire on. Once everything is in writing, both parties are more secure and feel safe to proceed with plans. Depending on the job at hand, there can be many details to work out before a project begins, so be patient and don’t rush it. A rushed job is never a successful job.
The Cost of an Architect
Unlike paying doctors’ bills, architecture insurance does not exist. A professional architect’s services may add 8 per cent to 15 per cent to the final cost of building a new home. For smaller jobs, like specific remodelling projects, an hourly rate can be negotiated. The architect will keep track of the “billable hours” and charge a professional rate based on the local economy — generally between $60 and $160 an hour. Remember that what an architect personally earns may not be what an architectural firm charges per. That is why Frank Lloyd Wright freelanced when he worked for architect Louis Sullivan.
Cost-Saving Options for Your New Home
The stunning homes you see in glossy magazines are almost always custom-designed by licensed architects. They are the unique creations of men and women with the skill and the know-how to explore new and unexpected possibilities. But what if your dreams are more modest? Must you hire an architect?
Maybe not. If your taste runs toward traditional, you may opt for one of these cost-saving alternatives.
Reasons You May Need An Architect For Your Renovation.
Besides going over an architect’s specific job duties, it can help take a look at the reasons it may benefit you to bring an architect on to your team for your renovation. To that end, below is a list of how hiring an architect to work on your home can make the process easier.
They can help you avoid errors.
There’s no denying that errors can cost you an enormous amount of time and money to fix when you’re building a new home. However, when an architect provides a set of highly detailed and accurate house plans before the building process even starts, it significantly reduces the chances that you’ll have to deal with any construction errors.
As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
They can help you problem-solve
Sometimes tricky questions can pop up during the design process. When that happens, a licensed architect is there to be the problem-solver. It’s their job to come up with creative solutions to architectural design issues so that you end up with a home that suits your needs.
They can save (or even make) you money.
Well-designed buildings are more efficient than buildings that are less carefully planned out, especially if you make an effort to invest in sustainable design. When a building functions efficiently, it often leads to less money being spent on bills on a month-to-month basis.
Not only that but when it’s time to sell, having a well-designed house can lead to higher resale values, with more money being put back into your pocket.
When to hire an architect
If you have a small job, like building a closet or putting in new cabinets, you can probably get by without hiring an architect. Those jobs are clear-cut and straightforward and don’t require significant changes to the existing structure. So as long as you’re working with a contractor you trust, your job should go off without a hitch.
If it’s a larger project that requires moving walls, plumbing, or electricity, or if you’re putting in a new addition, then an architect would probably be an excellent addition to the team. This is especially true if you have special structures to include, like a balcony, roof deck, or fireplace. These areas are architects’ specialties, and you don’t want to fool around with subpar design when it comes to your home’s structural integrity. At MJS Construction Group, we have the best home builders selection to make your house a dream come true.
Purchase a Stock Building Plan
Stock building plans are drawn by architects and home designers and are mass-marketed through magazines, catalogues, and websites.
Advantages: You can easily find stock plans for houses in a wide variety of sizes, styles, and budgets. If you can find a stock plan that works for you and your family, you can save on the cost of hiring your architect.
Disadvantages: The architect who designed your stock building plan has never met you and does not know your tastes and needs. Moreover, stock building plans cannot consider the nature of your building lot or the climate in your region. Many people who purchase stock building plans eventually decide to hire an architect to make modifications.
Use a Production Home Builder
Production home builders often construct new homes in suburban housing developments. Production home builders have contracted with architects and designers to create plans suitable for the region and harmonious with other development houses. When you work with a production home builder, you must select one of the builders (or developers) offered plans. You then “customize” the project by choosing exterior siding, light fixtures, types of windows, and other architectural features from a menu of options.
Advantages: Builders can work more quickly and more economically when they follow familiar, traditional plans with a finite line of construction materials. Since the projects are locally created, they will probably be suitable for the climate and the terrain.
Disadvantages: Your home will be assembled from a limited array of standard features. Although you may request some customization, your house will not be a custom home. It is likely to look very similar to many other houses in your development. Your builder may refuse or charge highly for any changes that are not on the established list of options. For example, planned communities like Celebration, Florida, have limited house styles, house plans, house colours, and landscaping. This only matters if the offerings do not include your dream home.
Hire a Certified Professional Building Designer
Another cost-saving alternative is to hire a Certified Professional Building Designer (also known as a Home Designer) to design your new home. Home designers do not have the same education level or the exact licensing requirements as architects, and their fees are usually lower. Nevertheless, professional home designers maintain professional certificates which demonstrate that they have completed coursework and achieved experience in the field. At MJS Construction Group, we offer a wide range of home builders Melbourne.
Advantages: Home designers specialize in private homes — not office buildings, shopping centres, or gas stations. For this reason, a home designer may have more experience designing houses than some licensed architects. A good home designer can create a customized home tailor-made for your family.
Disadvantages: Like builders and real estate developers, home designers tend to produce traditional plans. In general, home designers do not have the training to create incredibly complex or unusual designs. If you have special needs, or if you desire a truly unique home, then you’ll need to hire an architect.
Once you’ve taken the time to consider all the facts, hiring an architect should be a smooth process. If you’ve found someone you’re comfortable with who creates clear lines of communications and wants the best for you and your project, there’s no reason not to expect a beautiful result. Have you recently hired an architect? If so, what was your experience li?
So should we have used an architect more than we did? In our case, I think we got it about right. I think you should always use an architect but don’t underestimate the value of your input and also that of your friends. Once you get to the planning permission application stage and then building regulations, you will undoubtedly need to get someone who can take your ideas, review and refine them and then produce professionally drawn plans.
I think it could also be useful to get an architect in at the very beginning (even though I didn’t), not to draw up plans but to spend some time with you discussing the possibilities. Most architects are happy to do this and will not charge you a lot of money for it. This could be time and money well spent.