Competitive Construction Bids.
That is a service that your residential architect can provide, in addition to designing your house. This is an important reason to use a real architect to design your residential project. He can help you obtain the lowest reasonable price to build your house from several qualified general contractors.
The amount of money you spend on the architect of your residence you will probably save in this one activity alone. What if you had instead contracted with the most expensive builder instead of engaging your residential architect? Look at the difference in bid price of the highest versus the lowest contractor bidding your job. It may be a lot.
So when you think about an architect “costing” you, please consider the value he or she brings to your residential project. Your architect will probably save you much more than their fees just in the bidding phase alone. And, you receive a better design than a non-architect can provide you. Why? Because a real architect is educated, apprenticed, trained and experienced in DESIGN and CONSTRUCTION DOCUMENTS. That is what they do for a living. No other profession is dedicated to your dream house goals like an architect. Don’t you want the most experienced and capable person creating your residence?
The AIA (American Institute of Architects) has indicated that a house is one of the most complex project types. And, it couldn’t be more important to you and your family. You live there. You breathe the air in your house all night there. Your children grow up there. There are a host of other issues having to do with “green architecture” and healthy design, energy efficiency, your desired lifestyle, aesthetics, taking advantage of views, responsiveness to the environment and more, that is not covered in this particular article. This memo merely addresses one: Competitive Construction bids for your house.
Your architect helps you find a slate of qualified licensed contractors. That is one of the important aspects: making sure that whoever builds your house is licensed by the state in which you are located. Your architect can also talk with these potential builders and find out their viewpoints and experience relating to the type of house you intend to have built for you. Your architect can speak with previous clients of the builders to see if they had a good experience.
And most importantly, your architect can provide bid forms to make sure that each contractor uses identical forms on which they provide their proposals. This gives you an apples to apples pricing from one contractor to another, so that you can truly understand what one builder’s price is versus another’s. Your architect can help compare the numbers and their breakdown to help you analyze the pricing for carpentry, plumbing, electrical, and many other aspects, from one builder to the next.
Your architect will also ask for insurance forms from the interested contractors, a very important consideration that could help protect you from catastrophic circumstances.
If you go directly to a builder without an architect’s assistance, you have no professional third party with your best interests at heart watching what is going on in the assembly of your pricing, and there is no comparison with anyone else. Even if you do try to obtain competitive pricing, most construction industry companies will use their own pricing formats, including some things and not including others, according to their preferences, making a comparison of pricing very difficult. That’s why having an architect involved allows the “apples to apples” comparison that is so important at this stage of your project.
Contractors are a valuable, desperately needed aspect of the construction process. After all, they are the ones who have the responsibility of building the project. Where would we be without them? Bless them for all the good work that they do. Architects know this and seek to develop positive, friendly and professional relationships with your builder. By having a healthy, positive respect for what each other does, and having the common goal of providing the mutual client (you) with good value (quality for reasonable cost), the project and you will benefit. The project is better when you have both the architect (first), then the contractor (second). Both entities are crucial to an effective, economical and value-oriented bid phase and construction effort.
Since your residential architect designed your project, he knows how to make the pricing an apples to apples exercise. This is only one benefit of using a true professional to design and help you manage your house project.
One last thought. Architects design. Builders build. Asking either one to do the other’s job will likely result in some dissatisfaction on your part. We suggest you consider engaging the architect to design your house and then have the contractor build it. That way, everyone is doing what they have been trained, licensed and are experienced to do on your behalf, with the best results for you.