Seven things your architect would like you to know as you start to plan your dream home
Building a new home is one of the most exciting ventures ever. It’s also one of the most daunting. Most homeowners don’t realize until they start the homebuilding process just how complicated it can be.
Building codes, zoning restrictions, contractors, design options, and permanent decisions are all some of the details that have to be dealt with when building a home. Since no two projects and no two owners are exactly alike, there is no cookie cutter path to follow. Whether you’re about to begin construction on a new home or remodel an existing structure, your building project represents a major investment that you will have to live with for years. Smart homeowners know that the way to maximize such an investment begins with consulting an architect.
Architects are the only professionals who have the education, training, experience and vision to maximizeyour construction dollar and ease the entire design and construction process. If you’ve never worked with an architect and experienced the peace of having someone walk through the homebuilding process with you, then you may not fully understand the potential for hiring one. Here are seven things architects would love for you to know about the job they can offer:
What does an architect do? A licensed architect plans and designs buildings and then oversees a building project from beginning to end. With great precision, an architect can perceive room flow, lighting, step distance, space and an assortment of details that most homeowners are oblivious to. That’s why choosing a good architect is one of the most important decisions a homeowner will make.
We want you to participate in the design process. Any custom built home should be a reflection of the family that will live there, so the architect begins his or her job with a twofold objective: to interpret the client’s needs and desires and to creatively incorporate them into a pleasing and functional structure. During this process your architect needs you to be as clear as possible about your budget and your expectations while giving candid feedback. Most architects would agree that when a client is honest, flexible, realistic and decisive, the job goes much smoother.
An architect can oversee the project from start to finish. Whether your home is a large-scale remodel or a dream home from scratch, the first call should be to an architect. At a minimum the architect is usually responsible for design, documentation and permitting, but the homeowner can negotiate a wider range of services that includes site selection and coordinating the construction team.
Looking for insight into our design sensibility? Ask who our architectural role models are. The best way to understand the vision an architect aims for in his or her work, is to ask where his or her inspirations come from and look at samplings of completed projects.
We are inspired by nature. Architects typically design homes that create the private, safe, interior world of home while embracing the exterior surroundings. Architects usually need to see a site location before beginning a design so the design positively blends into its surroundings. This is another reason why its good to bring an architect on board during the early stages of site selection.
We do our best to provide a pricing structure that is transparent. Architects charge in a variety of ways from hourly to lump sum to percentage base. Most also include an initial estimate of total costs for the project. Early costs are usually estimated on a per-square-foot basis, with projects averaging around $130 to $200 per square foot for construction costs only.
We are with you on the journey. Choosing an architect is like choosing someone to go on a long hike with you. Before you start, there needs to be trust, empathy, common vision, good communication and mutual respect. You don’t want to get halfway through the hike, miles from home and think, “How do I get rid of this person?” Unless you are comfortable with references from satisfied clients you trust, it’s okay to interview an architect to get a feel for their design philosophy and the chemistry you have with them. Ensuring from the start that you’ve picked the right architect means you’ll be more satisfied with the process and the finished job.
While hiring an architect may seem like an added expense, the services are actually a wise investment plan. A well-designed project can be built much more efficiently and economically resulting in savings and increased property value for the homeowner. In the long run, an architect’s services help you create a home that’s affordable and perfectly suited to your lifestyle.