Choosing the right professional to work with can mean the difference between an enjoyable experience that is engaging, fulfilling, and sometimes even fun — or a nightmare filled with cost overruns, construction delays, and other unpleasant surprises.
You have a choice of many different types of designers for your project. But an architect is the design professional who has the most training and experience to help you deliver your construction project successfully. Given the huge investment you’re contemplating, shouldn’t you have the best guidance you can get?
Some of the benefits you’ll receive include:
- Well-designed projects can be built more economically than poorly designed ones. A good set of professionally produced construction drawings makes it easy for a contractor to price the labor and materials required for your project, and takes much of the guesswork out of building. The more obvious it is how a project is to be built, the fewer dollars the contractor has to include for dealing with uncertainties.
- Initial intelligent choices of materials appropriate to your budget will save time, money, and avoid future disappointment. There’s no point spending hours searching for the perfect granite countertop if Formica is the correct choice for your budget.
- Good design will be reflected in the increased market value of your home.
Many homeowners prefer to get competitive bids for their project, to get the lowest possible price. In this case, the only way to make sure that you are getting an apples-to-apples comparison between bidders is by having the detailed drawings and specifications that an architect produces.
- A well thought-out set of construction documents will reduce the number of problems that arise during construction. Solving most of the problems on paper before the project starts is much less costly than solving them during construction.
- Construction projects are full of unknowns, and unanticipated problems frequently arise. I’ll be there to help solve problems when they occur, suggesting possible cost-saving alternatives, and acting as your advocate during construction.
- Your advocate will be a seasoned design professional. Architects (and Engineers) are the only State-licensed design professionals. To become licensed, an architect must have a minimum of seven and a half years combined education and experience, as well as pass a rigorous 42-hour long comprehensive examination (similar to the bar exam for attorneys) on a variety of topics such as design, engineering, and construction technology.
Exposure to the latest products, materials and best ways of doing things.
- A large portion of my time is spent reading trade magazines, visiting showrooms and trade shows, and talking to industry representatives. I try to stay on top of the latest products and developments in residential construction, and to stay current with the latest research on construction techniques.
- I will be able to guide you to showrooms and products you may not know about, including “To the Trade Only” showrooms and resources that you don’t normally have access to.
- I can direct you to design options that you may not have considered.
Better quality control
- You’ll have peace of mind knowing that a professional is checking the construction to make sure that you’re getting what you’re paying for.
- You’ll have access to contractors, subcontractors, and other resources, with a proven track record in the type of project you’re planning. This is an important benefit for you! Merely finding reputable contractors is often one of the biggest hurdles for homeowners.
My firm is highly computerized with hardware and software that many other firms don’t have. This should be important to you because you’ll have a far better understanding of your project before it actually gets built. We can go on a walk-through of your house (almost like “virtual reality”) that will give you a better sense of what the exterior and interior spaces will feel like, how they’ll look, and how they relate to one another than any static hand-drawn representation can convey. Some of the possibilities include:
- Taking a photograph of the existing house, letting the computer generate a photo-realistic picture of the proposed improvements, and compositing the images to give you a photo-quality picture of the “before and after.” (Like the following. Move your mouse over this BEFORE image to see the AFTER!)
- Concerned about how much sunlight a new deck will be getting? The computer can generate a movie of the shadows moving across the deck on any given day of the year, accurately cast for your particular longitude and latitude.
- You can take a walkthrough through your new spaces on your own computer, letting you study the design in 3-D at your leisure.
- Wonder what your house (or room) would look like if it were painted a different color? You can try out different colors almost instantaneously without going to the expense and hassle of painting trial walls.
All of the construction documents are produced by CAD (Computer-Aided Design/Drafting). In addition to creating highly legible documents that contractors love, client-requested changes are easily accommodated. Need a room a little larger? No erasing and re-drafting is required; walls can be stretched like putty almost instantaneously.