Should I hire an Architect?
The architecture profession has been a undergoing rapid changes especially in the last ten years as software advances have created new opportunities in not only drawing but in how architects can run their practice. However, a large number of firms are yet to make the substantial investment required in order to remain at the forefront of this industry. Because the profession balances science and art, it requires good organization and communication skills and software provides many opportunities to streamline the design and construction process. The basic function of an architect involves interpreting the client’s needs and coming up with a professional plan for any building project. Although you may hire an architect only for this task, they will also provide a wide variety of other tasks to make sure the whole building process goes on smoothly. Depending on the needs and budget of a client, architects can fill out relevant building applications, research planning legislation, hire surveyors, contractors or subcontractors and site-manage the project to ensure the building plans are accurately followed.
Whereas it may be challenging to choose a good architect to meet your design needs, it can really pay off in the long run. In most cases, first meetings with architects would probably happen at a client’s home; hence you might not get a chance to see the architect’s office. Consider visiting their office within a couple of days after the first meeting. Although architects usually handle a vast amount of information, a disorganized office could be a sign that they haven’t kept up with technology. However, don’t confuse creativity with disorganization! Sketches, trace paper and models could be a sign of creativity, but project details should be kept either online in some sort of project management platform or in filing cabinets and binders. Inquire from the architects whether they are using the latest 3D architectural software such as Vectorworks which uses BIM (also known as Building Information Modeling).
Every city has building codes that designers need to follow when constructing or renovating a home. These codes consist of a set of regulations that are put in place to ensure all buildings observe life safety standards. Building codes are typically complex and contain text that can be quite difficult for those outside the building industry to understand. When architects submit drawings to the relevant authority, the drawings are evaluated according to the current building codes. When architects submit drawings to the building authority, a Plans Examiner reviews them and a revision notice is given. Good architects can get building projects through with the minimum number of revisions. Since each revision takes time to be completed, fewer revisions allow you get your permit faster. Low quality or incomplete documents can delay your construction. Hiring an architect will help ensure that your project meets relevant codes so it can smoothly progress through the municipality’s process. Not all residential architectural details are reflected in the drawings. Architects also can specify plumbing fixtures, expected quality levels, finishes, electrical fixtures and other related information that’s communicated in drawings or in specifications written for the contractor and the sub-trades working on the project. If the architect does not prepare written specifications, then you could be faced with change orders, which can slow down the process. So to increase the likelihood that your project will go smoothly spend a considerable amount of time looking for a good architect.