Tips for working with a residential architect

Phantom Screens / August 4, 2016

Blog /

Home remodeling projects can range from simple to elaborate. You can most likely accomplish the small changes on your own, but when remodeling becomes complex, you’ll want help. This is where a residential architect comes in handy. If you’ve never hired one before, you may not know what architects do or what they can bring to your project. Here’s a few tips to help the process of working with an architect go smoothly.

What they do

Residential architects are certified to design building structures. They have a degree and certifications that allow them to design in certain states. They know local building codes and will work with you to create a home that is not only aesthetically pleasing, but also safe. Architects do not actually build – they make the blueprints for the structure. Whether you want a full addition or simple outdoor living spaces, residential architects will draw a unique design.

Hire based on taste

You should check into the work an architect has done in the past before hiring him or her. Find reviews that other homeowners gave to be sure that this person is skilled, qualified and reputable. Once you’ve found a handful of architects who you feel will do the job well, pick one based on his or her design tastes. When you shop for art for your home, you look at artists who have a style that suits you. Architects should be looked at in a similar way. One person may create exclusively modern designs while another is great with traditional looks. Ask the architect for his or her portfolio and look through the drawings as if you were shopping. What features do you like from their other work? Can you see yourself living in one of their home designs? The right architect will share your taste.

Be an active participant

The architect you hire wants your feedback. Before you bring him or her over to do some measurements and envision the design on your lot, you should know what you want. An architect will have a hard time drawing a concept when you don’t provide some ideas. Be honest about your budget so that the architect knows what features can be implemented and which should be left out. Give honest, constructive feedback as you start seeing preliminary sketches. This will help guide the architect toward the design that’s right for you and your home.
One of the benefits of working with a residential architect is that your needs will be met. Say you want to use retractable screens in your three-season room home building project. The architect will be sure his or her design will accommodate such a feature.

Keep them on the entire project

While the architect is often only responsible for designing and drawing the blueprints, many like to stick around for the whole building process. Call an architect first when you start a new project, then keep him or her around to oversee the project to its completion. The architect can help you acquire permits, if you need assistance, and oversee construction once it begins. Architects with some construction administration background will be able to find flaws that the contractors make. Talk to your architect to find out if he or she would like to help in later phases. Of course, you will have to pay for their continued assistance.

Ask for recommendations

Once you have the preliminary sketches, blueprints and construction documents, ask your architect for recommendations for the next step. You will need to hire a contractor to build your deck, three-season room or addition. 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.