Part #4 - 2020.04.29 - What do you get when you hire an architect?

It’s a fair question. What do I get? And the truth is that you’re not hiring people to hang out. Well maybe you are and in that case, lets grab a drink. Everyone involved in your home renovation, remodel or new construction project should be bringing value to the table. It’s pretty easy to see the value in some places and it can be a bit more difficult in others. For example, hiring a contractor is almost a given for most projects. People understand their own limitations in the form of building knowledge, time, experience, etc. but when it comes to the design, I’ve found that many people believe they already know what they want so they can leave the architect out of the equation. This is the misunderstanding that a lot of people find themselves in. They don’t fully understand what value the architect and design team are bringing to the project.

So, what does the architect bring then? I think the biggest value that having an architect involved brings to the project is the opportunity to explore options. All too often people have it in their mind that they already know what they want so they can speed through or skip the design process. By allowing the design process to happen clients often get presented options they had never even thought about. Architects and designers deal with problem solving and space planning on a day to day, so why not take advantage of that expertise. We will most often see something that goes overlooked by the casual observer, and when clients feel like they have explored their options they ultimately feel better about the choices they make.

But what if you’re convinced you know what you want. What value does an architect bring then? When the design phase ends it doesn’t mean the value of the architect is gone.  In fact, a ton of the value an architect brings is by bringing the rest of the design and engineering teams with them. While this might not be the case for all architects, most have the relevant engineers included in their costs. This means that the design you’re happy with can get engineered, permitted and built effectively. The coordination of those engineers is done by the architectural team and the stress of resolving permit comments is handled.

So, you’re happy with the design, and the permit documents are coming together. What else can an architect provide to bring value to the project. The bidding process for a lot of projects can be time consuming and confusing. With a traditional bid you might send your plans to 3 or 4 contractors for pricing. In many cases this will take a few weeks and invariably come back with pricing varying form the enticingly low to the ridiculously high. Helping clients navigate the bidding process and constructively answer and relay information between bidders can help narrow the search to not only the properly qualified contractors but also those that understand the project and mesh well with the client.

There are hundreds more examples of how hiring an architect can bring value to your projects, and if you’re thinking about starting a renovation, addition or new construction project then let’s have a chat. When it comes down to it helping clients explore the options, feel good about the design decisions that are being made and helping them save time and money along the way is what we do.