How do I go about selecting an architect?
When is the right time to get the Architect involved with my project?
Are there any projects that are required by law to be designed by an Architect?
Why should I use an architect for my project? Why not use a plan service, Designer or General Contractor to provide plans?
On the other hand, General contractors are in the business of building. If they provide plans they typically have in-house designers or will hire an Architect. The disadvantage is that the Owner has no one to independently evaluate the work done under the Builders direction. There may be some initial cost savings but these are realized at the expense of quality control.
By using an architect you have flexibility to bid the job to a number of qualified builders or negotiate with the builder of your choice. In addition, Architects are specifically trained to evaluate individual factors and come up with solutions that are unique and appropriate to different projects. The Architect can also help the Owner by providing a wide range of services in addition to basic design and drafting.
What types of services can an architect provide?
Initial or schematic design, design development, construction document preparation, including both drawings and written specifications, bidding and negotiation assistance, construction administration and overall coordination of the design team including structural, mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineers. Smaller scope projects such as space planning or custom home design may involve only some of these services.
Additional services that the Architect can provide include site evaluation and selection, project programming, documentation of existing facilities, accessibility compliance, color and material selection, model building and rendering. Independent consultants may be brought to the team by the Architect as required to work on Interior designer, Landscape Architecture, Civil engineering, and others.
How do I decide which of these services I need my architect to provide for the project?
As the Owner, what do I need to know to get the project started, what are my responsibilities during the Design process and what information do I need to provide to the Architect?
Items such as a site survey and legal description, soils testing report, and environmental study are appropriate items to provide the Architect if available. In addition you should be available to review plans, meet on site and make required decisions as needed during the course of the project in.
What are my responsibilities for providing accessible facilities for the disabled?
How do I select a general contractor and at what point in the project do I need to make the selection?
Alternately, a Contractor can be selected early on as part of the design team and used as a resource in providing initial cost estimates or alternate construction methods, which can serve to contain cost or increase quality before plans are completed. Both methods have advantages and should be discussed at the beginning of the project.