What To Expect When Hiring an Architect

Deciding to build a custom home or do major renovations to an existing home is a big step. It is exciting to see your dreams coming to fruition, but you can expect many challenges along the way. When choosing to build your own home, you must hire a professional who is familiar with the building codes and process. This guide will help you find the right architect and explore what to expect.

The Initial Design Stages

You can hire either a designer, draftsman, or architect to draw the blueprints for your home. They must meet all of the requirements, including local laws, or the building will not be allowed to proceed. The advantage of hiring an architect is that they must have formal education, meet specific experience requirements. A designer does not have to meet any requirements.

An architect is generally more expensive than a designer, but they can often move into the role of project manager and see the project through to the end. There can be advantages to working with one person throughout the entire process. You might be wondering, what does an architect do? There are several stages to the design and construction process. Some architects will only do the building design and then hand it over to someone else to manage. Others provide a full spectrum of services. Here is an example of how the process might go.

  • Consult with you to explore your vision and needs
  • Draft initial designs and meet with you for approval and changes
  • Continue this process until you are happy with the design
  • Architect obtains all necessary permits and permissions
  • Scheduling of project phases and selection of contractors
  • Construction begins with the architect as the project manager
  • Architect manages project and changes until the home is complete
  • Final inspection, sign-off, and project approval by you

How Much Will an Architect Cost?

The cost of an architect can vary depending on several factors. One of these factors is the scope of the work. For instance, it will cost much less for a design-only contract than for full project management throughout the entire building process. The experience and reputation of the architect will also affect the rates that they charge.

Architects charge either a set fee for the entire project or an hourly rate. According to Oneflare, it can cost between $1,200-$1,800 per square metre for set fee contracts. Hourly rates range from $50 to $250 per hour. Some architects charge a percentage of the entire cost of the project. These fees can range from 5-20% for the average job. Of course, the cost will always be a factor, but it can be worth the extra to hire someone who has the experience and a solid reputation in the area.

When hiring an architect, it is a good idea to get at least three quotes. You should not only compare the prices, but you should also compare what services are included in their quote. Make sure to get pictures of past projects, or if possible, visit some of the homes that they have built. Reading reviews is another way to find out what you could expect if you hire them.

How Much Will an Architect Need To Be Involved During the Building Process?

How much the architect is involved during the building process depends on the scope of work that you agree upon. Some architects have set parameters regarding the work that they are willing to do or not do. With some, they will complete the design and hire someone else to manage the project until the home is complete. Others will shift roles into the project manager and provide all of the services that you need. Many architects have their own building company or a list of contractors with who they work regularly. In other cases, you may need to find and hire tradespeople for the home build or renovation yourself.

An architect will often provide more complete services than a designer. There are several scenarios where hiring an architect can be an advantage. One of these is when the project is complex or has special situations, such as a historic home that must comply with local aesthetic requirements. Here are a few more examples of times when an architect is the better choice for the project.

  • When the design must be environmentally sustainable
  • You want a more energy efficient home
  • Involves challenging terrain like a steep slope
  • The design that must account for frequent local natural disasters
  • For designs that consider the surroundings and blend in
  • When the design is creative or out of the ordinary

An architect will be your partner through the entire design and building process. They will help you set a realistic budget and stick to it. Helping with the town planning process is another key advantage that saves you considerable headaches. As the project manager, the architect will help with outside contractors and make sure that you receive the quality of finishes and workmanship that you expect.

Designs Will Evolve Throughout the Project

Before the process begins, many people are under the impression that once the drawings are finalized, the result will be exactly as planned. This is an unrealistic expectation that can lead to disappointment. When an architect designs a home, they are basing it on what they can see and already know about the project. Once the project begins, circumstances can come up that could not have been foreseen in the initial planning process.

A few examples of things that can come up and result in a change in the work process or the final design include hidden damage to the home's structural components during a renovation. The architect might also find out that a certain finish or material that you wanted is not available. There are can also be budgetary surprises that can alter the course of the project.

Being prepared for potential changes that could occur during the process will result in much less stress for you. Approaching the process with an open mind is the best way to enjoy it and have a home that you will love for many years to come.

Hiring the right architect is the first step to creating the home of your dreams. The process is both exciting and stressful, but in the end, you will have a place that you can enjoy for the rest of your life. When you are ready to start searching for an architect, we make the process easy.

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