A home architect provides a rich set of skills to help you design your dream home but who else should be on your team? Ideally, you will save time and money by including both a home architect a home builder on your design team. That's because it's much easier to make design changes on paper, than after labor and materials have been expended. You'll work with your home architect or home designer to pick your home's exterior style along with placement of windows and doors. Inside there will be decisions about room sizes, floor plans, and finishes that will boggle your mind. When your builder participates in discussions with your home architect, you're able to balance aesthetics with costs, as features that look equal on paper can have significantly different building costs. Want to learn more? Another article, Design Build Can Save You Money, delves into the design build process and how you save time when you don't have to put your proposal out to bid, with potential changes to the initial design after picking your builder.
Home Architect: Their Role in Design
An experienced home architect, through training, experience and tools, is able to create a design that captures your dreams. Home architects monitor trends in home design, products and new materials to offer you guidance in the choices you have plus recommendations based on working with many homeowners. For example, I remember Anne Whitney in Portsmouth NH telling us more than half the whirlpool bathtubs installed get removed, so that was a quick decision and we loved our neo-angle, corner shower. Architects also have engineering training, and they're licensed to insure the homes they design are structurally sound. They're knowledgeable about the construction process, the challenges of home construction, and can anticipate problems before they happen. Here are some of the key activities carried out by your home architect:
- Visiting your building site to understand what you’re trying to create so they can accurately represent your needs in the architectural drawings.
- Applying for all building permits once you approve the drawings, and attending reviews that may be required in terms of zoning and conservation.
- Following through with your building contractor to review material and labor costs with an eye toward maintaining budget requirements.
- Visiting the building site to review progress and make sure you’re getting what is documented in your architectural plans.
Home Builders Improve Design
Builders know firsthand what it takes to build the home you want and stay within your budget. Home builders work to understand your vision, your budget and advocate for you with your home architect. He/she works with the home architect to determine the feasibility of achieving your goals given the anticipated building costs and building permits. A good builder can collaborate with you and your home architect on design features such as kitchen design, bathroom design, and overall layout of your home to ensure that you’re creating the most cost-efficient and livable space within your specifications. Your builder will work closely with the home architect not only to review drawings and building issues, but also to review progress, manage costs, and develop timelines. Read Finding the Perfect Custom Home Builder for more tips.
The Ideal Home Design Team
When building a new home, you want a design team that understands your dreams and requirements, people who are committed to working as a team. You want people who recognize that designing a home requires patience, trust, and excellent communication skills. Check references for both the home architect and the home builder you want to work with. Look at homes they've designed and built, and talk to people who’ve worked with them to get a sense of their working style, competence and communication style. Meet with each home architect and builder to review your vision, goals and to get a sense of how they would work with you to achieve them. Sitting in a room with someone is often the best way to get to know them, and you need to like the person you’re going to work with on this project. Lastly, determine if your home architect and builder have worked together before. Are they compatible in terms of personality, an ability to communicate with each other and share a vision, and committed to working together on managing designs, costs, etc? Once you’ve chosen your home architect and builder, work closely with them to ensure that your home meets all of your cost and design requirements.