WHY IS HIRING AN ARCHITECT IMPORTANT?
Architects are required to know about construction methods and materials, and are skilled in space planning, project management, and working with local government officials. They have the education and experience required to analyze what you want and translate that to a functional building. They can think spatially and will help you visualize your project. Some will have experience working in certain neighborhoods with specific codes and regulations - historic neighborhoods for example.
WHAT DOES AN ARCHITECT NOT DO?
They do not act as a contractor or provide an exact price for construction (they can provide estimates based on square footage and experience). They are also not couples therapists - it’s very helpful to have all parties on the same page from the start.
HOW CAN I MAKE THIS A SMOOTH PROCESS ON MY END?
Be very open about what you want and what your budget is. The process will go much more smoothly if the Architect knows what you plan to spend on the front end. Share images that you are drawn to and explain what you like. The more information you can provide at the beginning, the closer the initial design will be to that perfect design you’re looking for. Be honest. If something isn’t working, say something. The Architect’s goal is to provide what you want and need. It should not be about their ego or what they want out of the project. That being said, the Architect will present solutions that he or she believes are the best way to solve the problem based on their years of experience and education, and what is the most aesthetically pleasing. When in doubt, you should feel comfortable trusting their judgement. Don’t be afraid to ask for something or for an opinion that may be outside what you think an Architect does. Architects are both project managers as well as designers, and they usually have knowledge and experience in many different fields. And pay your bills on time. Sometimes keeping your architect happy can help keep you happy too.
WHAT EXACTLY DOES AN ARCHITECT DO?
An Architect listens to a client’s needs and wants, then translates those thoughts into buildable drawings. They think through the project from initial design through construction, ensuring that each piece will fit together and minimizing any issues during construction. They also manage the project to ensure that the project adheres to local building codes and safety regulations. They work hard to keep the design within budget and make revisions as necessary. They can give you recommendations for contractors that would be well suited for your project, and can coordinate with other professionals such as interior designers, landscape architects, etc.
An Architect is required to have a specific professional degree - either achieved through a 5-year professional Bachelor’s program or a Master’s in Architecture. They then accrue thousands of hours in many different experience areas as part of a nationally-controlled internship program, including tasks in every phase of design as well as management and business operations. They are also required to take a series of tests to ensure that the health and safety of a building’s occupants are top priority.
WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT?
Every project is different. A good Architect should be able to adapt their process to fit what you need. Some may only provide floor plans while others provide the complete design package - down to paint colors. Make sure you understand what is provided in the scope and how their fee corresponds. It is important that you understand how they will approach your project.