Deciding whether or not to hire an architect
While some home renovation projects can be accomplished on your own, remodeling can become quite complex. If you’re planning on adding onto your house, or changing the layout, homeowners quickly discover that hiring help can make all the difference. So, who do you call? A residential architect will bring your project to the next level, while minimizing the stress on you and your family.
Residential architects are certified to design building structures; therefore, they will be familiar with local building codes which you may not be. They will work with you to design a safe and aesthetically pleasing home. Whether you want a full addition or a simple outdoor living space, they will draw a unique design to suit your taste.
Just as with any professional, do your research before making a decision. Read reviews from other homeowners and look through pictures of the architect’s work to ensure their style matches your own. Once you narrow your search down to a handful of potential candidates, request their portfolio. Go through the designs and ask yourself questions. What features do you like from their work? Which do you not? Can you see yourself living in one of their designs?
Once you’ve hired a suitable choice- don’t step back! While they are the professional, it is ultimately your vision, so give them feedback! Be involved in the entire process and do your best to actively communicate what you want and what you would like to avoid. Give honest, constructive feedback as you start seeing preliminary sketches. If there is a certain technology or feature you would like to include in your home (like a retractable screen!) inform your architect in the very beginning. This way, they will be able to accommodate this feature in their design.
Although the architect is only responsible for designing and drawing the blueprints, many like to stick around for the entire building process. They will be invaluable to you during the project as they can help you to acquire permits and oversee construction. Some have construction administration background, and might be able to assist you with management of the contractors as well. It is best to discuss all this with the architect in the early stages (PS. They will charge you for the additional work!)
After they have completed the preliminary sketches, blueprints, and construction documents, ask them for recommendations on the next step. Architects have worked with different companies and individuals over the years and will be able to give you insider information on different contractors. Ask for an honest opinion. You may follow their recommendation to a tee, or choose to use it as a guideline.