When Should I Involve An Architect?

When Should I Involve An Architect_

Whether you are planning to remodel one room in your home or add an entire new wing to your property, you probably have a lot of questions about how to proceed. Among these, one of the most common is, “Should I hire an architect?.” You may be wondering if it’s worth the cost to have the services of a qualified architect on your remodel. It is true that you can complete a home remodel or expansion without an architect’s help. However, just because you can get by without an architect’s help, doesnt that mean you should.

When You May Want an Architect

When considering whether to hire an architect or not, consider the following conditions. If any of them apply in your case, you should definitely consider working with a residential architect.

  • You have a problem with your house that you are not sure how to solve. If you plan to fix an ongoing structural or functional issue in your home, but you don’t know how to approach it, an architect is probably essential. What is not apparent to a layperson’s eyes can be more easily discerned by a trained architect, who will be able to work through the possibilities and suggest a viable fix.
  • You want to add on an addition to your home, but you want it to look like it was always there. An architect will be able to design a plan for a home addition that once finished, will look like it was always there. Architects can design with the homes style and layout in mind so this new addition will fit perfcectly onto your home just like a puzzle piece fits together. Noone will be able to tell you had an addition put on, and in time you might even forget yourself. 
  • You are reluctant to make building decisions on your own. A remodel is an expensive project, you want to make sure it is done right the first time. You might know where you want an addition but knowing how to draw up the plans properly is a job for an architect. Rather than rushing into plans you may later regret, you can instead trust a seasoned architect to make informed decisions on the basis of your needs.
  • Your local authorities insist on an architect. In some urban areas, it may be mandatory to have an architect sign off on your plans. You can check with your local building department to find out. However,  even if its not required to have an architect, it can be expretmly helpful because an architect is familiar with your towns building codes. They will make sure your plans fit those local requirements, as well as help you get the permits you need. This can be a big headache for anyone not experienced with building plans and local building codes.
  • You are on a budget. Yes, the services of an architect cost money, but they can also help you find ways to save on your project. Architects know how to engineer value, i.e., find a way to give you the effect you want at a lower cost. In addition  they will make sure the plans are done correctly and followed properly the first time around – saving you money. An architect can also recommend contractors  they trust to make there plans come to life, which will make the renovation process easier, probably quicker and can save a lot of money as well. 
  • You need the unique knowledge of materials and building products that an architect can offer. Architects are not just designers. They have a thorough understanding of the practical demands of the building industry and will be able to advise you on the materials that are most suitable for your project and budget. They can also communicate for you to the contractor, as sometimes not being very familiar with the field can cause a communication gap. 
  • You need to know how to lay things out, balancing function and beauty. You may have a general idea of how you would like things to look but the specifics of layout and balanced design may evade you. It is better to entrust this to a seasoned architect, who can create a functional and beautiful layout you may not even have dreamed of. 

How to Find the Right Architect

Once you have decided to hire an architect, you need to find one best suited to you and your project. Your architect must have the skill to design the type of remodel or addition you want, but they must also be someone with whom you can communicate and establish a good rapport. You will need to do some research to find the right candidate. Home design magazines and websites, like the American Institute of Architects (AIA), and word of mouth, are all reliable ways to lead you to the architect you need. Most importantly, take your time and make sure that the architect you choose is exactly the right fit.

If you are hiring an architect in or near Parsippany, New Jersey, consider Seth A. Leeb. His three-person firm has a diverse practice, including commercial, industrial and religious buildings. The firm’s specialty is period residential additions/renovations of various sizes. The firm is committed to developing sustainable housing practices, and no job is too big or too small for it. Contact us for more information.

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