Let’s imagine you’re designing a new home or renovating the one you already have. The first thing you need to do is decide if working with an architect to design your home is really what you need, and if that architect is the right one to make your vision a reality.
Assuming you’re on board to hire an architect, there are a few factors you need to consider: the architect’s familiarity with local building codes, environmental concerns, feasibility, and most importantly, the professional attitude. If you had found all of this within your budget – you are a really lucky person!
Be a Prepared Homeowner
Image source: Phil Kean Design Group
When you first meet architects they are filled with questions that can help them determine what you really want. They will examine both your aesthetic ideas and your practical concerns and set a goal that needs to be met.
To lead them to the right goal, you need to answer these questions thoughtfully and sincerely, explain the materials you plan to use, and even show photos or personal sketches. Architects will appreciate it!
Ask for advice
Image source: Rhodes architecture + light
Anyone who has had anything to do with architects can be helpful. It could be a friend whose house has been redesigned or a family member whose friend happens to work in an architecture firm.
This will give you an overview of what you are looking for, or at least a starting point to determine if someone’s work fits your needs.
You need to see and compare examples so that you can narrow your choices down to three companies and decide between them.
Choosing an architect
En2 Development Corp.
First, choose an architect whose previous work is similar to your ideas. Look for photos of his recent designs or visit ready-made locations and get an idea of his design sense and preferences.
Talk to him and try to find out what he thinks of certain solutions, schemes or materials. Liked an architect’s work in the past is crucial in making a selection because you have a common ground for fruitful collaboration.
Don’t let differences of opinion discourage you – the architect is trying to thwart an idea for your own sake! Make sure that instead of waiting for the last moment to tell him you don’t like his job, you overcome problems with conversation.
Another important point is his experience. For example, if you are restoring an old house, you need an architect who has already worked on historic buildings and is therefore familiar with the strict building codes and permits that are required in this case.
It’s also important to stay open about your wants and expectations: ask the architect to explain anything you don’t understand and expect nothing from them but partnership and an excellent working relationship.
Image source: My House Design Build Team
The key is to trust the architect and find someone who can balance his technical and professional skills with his friendly approach. Most importantly – someone you can afford.
The nature of a design process is quite complex, which means you can’t leave a question unanswered. First of all, you need to understand the fees, terms of the contract, or more precisely what the contract covers and what it doesn’t.
Failure to understand the contract can lead to unpleasant consequences, such as: For example, if you expect a service that isn’t included, or if you don’t appreciate the extra work your architect has to do.
For example, if you work with a company, try to understand who will be responsible for your project, or at least which contractors will be involved.
Make sure your architect is familiar with your budget
Image source: Brink Custom Homes
Home design cannot be determined in a single conversation. No architect will be clear about the price and feasibility of your design just by getting acquainted with your ideas, and he will definitely ask you to meet again and discuss your ambitions.
However, make sure that you can round an amount to propose it to them before they start. If you’re unsure of how much an idea like yours might cost, consult other architects and find out about the prices of the materials you need.
This gives the architect directions and a clear picture of the price of his design efforts, activities and materials.
Balance between your ideas and those of your architect
Image source: Morell Landscape Associates
Many people neglect to discuss the details of their design before making a sketch. Most of the time, they do this because they don’t really understand the role of the architect and the fact that he needs your help to evaluate and select the right materials.
In these cases, it’s right when an architect fails to meet user demands, plans scale with setbacks, community concerns are neglected, and the whole process is unnecessarily delayed.
The architect needs your contribution to the project to bring this vision to life. He will use your ideas, draw a sketch that you want and discuss anything that is not what you want.
Image source: Scott Allen architecture
It’s the point at which you understand if the final product will please you, which is much better than discovering this at a stage where construction has started and there is almost no way to change plans.
As soon as a sketch is confirmed, the architect creates concrete plans in which all materials and screws and nuts are already included.
Good architects want nothing more than to make your home perfect
Image source: Phil Kean Design Group
Designing a house involves many important functions for architects, which is why they must perform well in many disciplines. Architects not only have to make your home aesthetically pleasing, they also have to take care of the practical aspect and develop an integrated structure with appropriate electrical and civil engineering.
It is up to them to keep the house warm / cool, solve real estate problems, and give you something that will last for years. Talk to him instead of expecting miracles from the architect.
Instead of being rigid and watching from the side, contribute to his approach. Architects are mostly open-minded artists who want to hear ideas and be inspired. Therefore, accept your critics and try to understand whether your vision is actually feasible.
Architects have answers to questions from their specialist knowledge
Image source: KW designs
Architecture is extremely complicated and incredibly simple at the same time – it all depends on your architect’s ability to explain the work being done.
That’s why architects like to work with avid homeowners rather than lazy and disinterested homeowners who absolutely rely on other people’s solutions in their own homes.
Even if your home is just a blueprint on a piece of paper, you have to ask questions or even challenge the architect to implement the ideas that you think fit your design.
Image source: Blueprint Designs
When you consider how problematic it can be to get a building permit, you need to rely on your architect to support you and help you relieve stress as much as possible.
Even once the work has started, the architect remains responsible for the process and ensures that everything is done as it should be.
Architects are responsible for the entire project
Image source: Lake Flato Architects
A good architect shouldn’t just draw what your space should look like – he should think about feasibility and materials and coordinate the work of your contractor.
It is not always easy for the contractor to put his work together according to the architect’s vision, which is why he has to have flawless communication and trust each other.
Image source: Castro Design Studio
The architect mediates between you and your contractor, manages all aspects of the agreement, asks the vendors to answer questions, propose changes and manage.
It’s supposed to tackle the issues and reject work that doesn’t live up to expectations, or more simply, to make sure everything is done correctly, on time, and on budget. This makes your architect the strongest ally you have in building your home.