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Getting started with a project? Call an Architect!

So you’ve decided to upgrade your home… now what? Before you pick up the phone to call your local contractor to tear down some walls, take a moment to reflect on what you want for your space. It’s time to call an architect.

Many people are under the misconception that architects are only needed for large commercial projects or big residential mansions. Or they believe that architects will thrust on them an initial “beautiful” design that the client might not like. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Architects wear many hats: from initial design considerations to negotiations with the contractors, an architect will put on paper your vision and be your ally throughout the entire design and build process.


So what exactly can you expect when working with an architect?

Architects offer a range of services that go far beyond a drafted drawing.


1. The Initial Design

Schematic Design: or the preliminary design, is where your architect will gather all of the information necessary to create a unique and personalized design that satisfies the specific needs of both you and your home. This analysis can include your design ideas, budget, housing needs, existing conditions, and main goals. Your architect will then develop a series of initial schemes showing general layout, size, and appearance to present to you for feedback. Some back and forth can happen here to ensure that the design is meeting all of your needs.




2. Solidifying the Design

Design Development: the part of the process that they never show on HGTV. This is when your architect takes the initial concepts and develops them into a real building with real connections. They are ensuring that the beautiful spaces that you conceived together will actually withstand the test of time and takes into consideration structure, building codes, floor and roof plans, among many other nitty gritty details.


3. Making the Dream a Reality

Construction Documents: Now, your architect takes those beautifully thought out designs and turns them into detailed drawings (also known as blueprints) that become the instructions to hand off to your contractor to be built. These drawings are vital in ensuring that any contractor you engage for pricing actually quotes exactly what is needed. These drawings mitigate the risk of them saying to you well into the project “well that was not included, we never discussed it, that will cost you extra”. However, the work for the architect is not yet finished…


4. Finding the Details

Get Personalized: Now that you have your design it’s time to start making that design a reality. Your architect can help you pick out those details - carpets, faucets, finishes, etc. - that really help your space feel like your own. This can overlap with an interior designer’s role. However, for a smaller project your architect – someone with whom you have already established a trusted relationship - can take care of this for you.



5. Hiring the Muscle

Bidding or Negotiation: Your architect will now help you find a qualified contractor who can meet your needs best based on quality, cost, and schedule by preparing bidding documents for a truly fair broken down and critiqued comparison of bids as well as a contractually binding price.


6. Getting it Built!

Construction Administration: Though the drawings are now in the hands of the contractors and those walls are finally coming down, your architect will still remain involved in the project. They will function as a sort of agent for you, making sure that the contractors follow the plans and the requirements of the project – no cutting corners!. And no project is complete without a few unexpected modifications that come up when building takes place and your architect will be needed to make a few additional drawings or clarify any ambiguity.



How much is this going to cost me?

As with other professional services like lawyers and engineers, hiring an architect is a non-negligible expense to be considered in the project budget. Typical fixed fees for a full-service contract range from 5% to 15% of construction costs for new construction, and from 10% to 20% for remodeling. However, these rates can vary with the reputation and size of the firm and complexity of the project, with percentages getting lower with increasing project size. At the end of the day hiring an architect can save time, money, and numerous headaches. Architects are not merely decorators, they are members of a highly educated profession after having received extensive education from an accredited university, undergone numerous licensing exams, and have many years of experience. They can use their extensive design knowledge to bring new and creative ideas to your home that you never thought of.

Best of all, an architect will ensure that after all of the time and the money that you invested in your home, you will be getting exactly what you paid for.


What’s the first step in getting started?

The best way to start the process is to get in touch with us at https://www.architecturalab.com/ where can set up a phone call to discuss your project. If, after our phone call, we both believe we would make a good team, we will set up a complementary consultation where we can meet with you in person and can check the site and current building condition and discuss your vision on site. We have discovered that introducing ourselves in person is the first step to begin building a good working relationship where our clients feel comfortable sharing their story with us.