If you’re planning on building a new home, you know that you need a good plan. Once you have a good set of plans for constructing your new home, there’s a good chance that you will limit any potential problems that might arise during construction.When the architect or home designer hands you the completed set of plans for you to review, this is when you need to reevaluate and make any changes, before you start to build. If you don’t understand what you’re looking at, see if the home designer and architect will spend a few hours with you explaining it to you in detail, what the interior and exterior of the finished house is going to look like.Any problems that you can solve before the home starts to be built, is going to benefit you, the architect, engineer, building department and most of all your building contractor. If you have any questions about any part of the home building process or plans, now is the time to ask them and more importantly, solve them.If something doesn’t look right, don’t be afraid to ask your architect or home designer a few questions about it. If you have already selected a contractor to build your new home, make sure that you spend the few hours going over the home building process and any potential problems that the contractor has.The architect might come up with one design that suits the average homeowner and the building contractor might have another. The key here is to pick their brains and get as much information from them as possible and then make the necessary changes. Your contractor, architect, engineer and anyone else that you know who has built a home before, could be extremely valuable during the reevaluation process of your home building plans.You must have a clear picture of your new house design, before you start building. This will save you money, time and frustration in the future.
Many people feel they can do an addition or renovation to their home without the aid of a design professional or architect. There may well be a select few who can do this but they are few and far
between. We will discuss the advantages of hiring an architect and just what they can do for you.Many tradesmen and trades women have years of experience behind them in the construction trades and feel that this qualifies them to design and build an addition to their home. A few may be qualified but the others will miss out on all the things and architect can bring to the table. Architects like other trades people, many times specialize in one type of work or another. Some do only commercial storefronts, some do high rise building work, some do schools, hospitals and so on. Some may do single family homes and some do renovation design. If you are doing an addition or renovation to your home, a sit down with an architect will bring you new ideas you never thought of as well as access to a wide array of products you never heard of before. Architects work for you, not the contractor. They are there to assure you get the most “bang for your buck” as the saying goes. The architect will look for the most cost effective way to achieve your design goals and save you money where ever they can.There are countless thousands of paint colors, materials, counter top types, carpet styles and colors, window designs, new roofing options and so on. Their minds are geared towards making a beautiful finished product that you and they can be proud of in the end. An architect also has the latest costs estimate of labor and materials to prepare budgets and loan applications if necessary. The Architect can track the work progress and review applications for payment from your subs to assure you are paying only for work that is completed and acceptable. Believe me when I say many people wish they had this option after they paid for incomplete or shoddy work simply because they did not know any better. Note here that a building inspector can only inspect the work required by the state and local municipality. If the board is installed straight and nailed well, it gets approved. The fact the board was #2 pine instead of the mahogany specified cannot be enforced by code enforcement but your architect sure can. They can make the contractor remove and replace the board or if acceptable re-price it to the proper dollar number for the owner.You will find quickly that an architect is your friend on the job and well worth their fee. This does not let you off the hook to keep an eye on the daily work being done. You don’t have to annoy or interfere with the work but checking over the work at the end of day keeps a bad situation from becoming worse if it’s noted straight away. Advise the architect that you think something is not right and they can quickly check it out and advise the contractor of the problem.Lastly, discuss with the architect if a warranty on the work is possible. Friends of mine with a new home had to have their shower stall terrazzo base replaced three times due to cracking in the first two years. Without an airtight written warranty they would have been out thousands of dollars. Their architect insisted upon the warranty when they first hired their contractor and of course they are glad they hired him. The contractor assured them an architect wasn’t necessary. Go figure why.In the end if your addition or renovation is of any good size, invest a few dollars in an architect. Shop around for both a good reputation and price as you would for any other product or service. It will be well worth the effort.Pete Ackerson
Your Friendly Building Inspector
BICES-Building Inspection & Code Enforcement System Software