Part #1 - 2020.01.06 - Do you need an architect?

When it comes to a design project, I’m sure you’ve heard it before. “I know exactly what I want, I just need someone to build it.” You’ll sometimes hear your friends or colleagues talk about their dream renovation or new addition to their home, and inevitably someone says “You don’t need an architect, heck you don’t even need a contractor, just hire everyone yourself and save a ton of money.” These are all things you’ve undoubtedly heard, and I’d like to take a moment to discuss the merits of this.

I probably shouldn’t say this, but the simple answer is NO. The truth is that for most of the projects around your house most people don’t “NEED” an architect. That’s not to say I think they shouldn’t hire one though. Now let’s get into the large air-quotes around that word NEED. This is where most people misunderstand the role of an architect or design professional when it comes to their projects. When I think about architecture and design, and why people need to engage the services of similar professionals, it’s because I understand the value that we can bring to projects that go beyond the “NEED” that most people think of.

In my experience most people come to hiring an architect because, inevitably someone has said they can’t move forward without getting a set of plans done. They approach the process out of a kind of necessity rather than a desire. This is the first mistake I feel most people make. The involvement of architects and design professionals should be utilized to maximize the potential of their projects. I find that many people get blinded by their initial thoughts for a project, and never let themselves explore options.

The real value that hiring and architect brings comes from a few places. As I mentioned getting to explore your options can be hugely important. In my experience FOMO or fear of missing out can be a strong influence when it comes to larger projects and getting the opportunity to explore your options can help alleviate this. Other benefits of the design process are often unseen, or at least un-appreciated, in most cases. When clients do engage in the design process and develop a set of plans from concept through documentation, they often save money. While this is often hard to quantify, the act of producing a full set of permit documents with an architect and engineering teams will ensure that your projects get bid fairly by contractors, those contractors wont be asking a million questions, and they wont be asking for additional funds. Having documentation for your project is more than asking for permission from the city but ensuring that your contractors know what to build.

I could continue to write about the benefits of having an architect involved in your project, but I would rather discuss it more in person. If you are interested in starting a project of your own, then let’s talk about it. At Swakon Design I understand that starting a building project can be a daunting task and putting a team together to get it done right should be first step