Why Do You Need an Architect?

You already know that, if you’re smart and want your project completed in a timely fashion with the best results, you should hire a general contractor (like me, hint, hint). But did you also know you should consider hiring an architect? It may strike you as an additional expense and you’ll be tempted to skip it — but trust me, you’ll save money and be happier overall if you bring an architect into the team from the start.  Note the word “team,” good teams work more efficiently than the sum of the individuals.

Architects are first trained structural engineers who continue an education to become Architects.  They try to improve our world.  They are master planners.  They interpret and satisfy building life-safety codes.  You are hiring professional design and engineering to benefit your project.

The architect can design your house from the ground up, but for a remodeling project or any other building project, he can evaluate what it is you want, examine options, and then tailor a solution.   Architects draw construction plans, also called blueprints, and work with the contractor to make your project a reality.  There is an old saying: “if you have ten minutes to cut down a tree, spend nine minutes sharpening the saw.”  Architects sharpen that saw.

Architects and General Contractors working together produce the best results for you.

Does engaging an architect save you money?  Remember the expression, “Pay me now, or pay me later?”  In a construction project, ultimately somebody must do all the things the Architect does; it just gets done in disjoined pieces.  An Architect communicates it all in one cohesive set of instructions significantly helping the General Contractor communicate with, and coordinate his team.  These same drawings provide the tool for pricing and budget management.

Because architects bring clarity to the project, I share the opinion that the architects fee is more than offset during the pricing.  When the trades see clarity, they see a smooth job, requiring less contingencies.

Architects are asked “why such big clumsy drawings?”  Construction sites can become chaos.  Contractors are visual people; the industry communicates graphically.  Big drawings, which tell a big story, helps avoid costly miscommunications.  Architects provide the trades with information they require to do the job.  Everybody can see the whole job, and their part in it.

All projects go through evolutions as they are value engineered.  It’s all about communicating the concept, design, and specifications — which your general contractor will then implement.  It takes a team, working together, to ensure that you get what you want, how you want, within a budget you can afford.

That is why you want to hire an architect. In fact, that is why you can’t afford not to hire one.

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Thanks to Eric C. Van Reed, RA; Principal at Architectvision.com for the editorial assist.