As winter’s foggy breath huffs over the mountains and steals into the cities and countrysides, snow, sleet, ice and harsh winds test our properties and houses.
The clients of the HOME ARCHITECTS ® want their houses to resist winter’s conditions, leaving the owners, family and friends dry, warm and comfortable. And their residence durable, strong and healthy. Can a house be healthy? Absolutely.
And what would a “sick” house or building have that a “healthy” one does not? Well, mold, mildew, wood rot, leaks, structural damage, cracks, excessive settlement, and in general: conditions of falling apart. Who wants those things? Right: no one. Senior staff architect, Rand Soellner, has functioned in the capacity of a forensic architect during several projects in the past, where County Risk Managers have engaged his firm to correct several “sick” buildings that exhibited “symptoms” similar to these. His company did not design those facilities. They were called in to fix them. But that’s a subject for another online article. What is important is that this previous commercial experience has taught him how to Prevent such things from happening in the residential projects his company designs today.
Especially in the winter and rainy seasons, an improperly designed and inadequately built residence’s faults can become unpleasant and frightening. Having a real architect design your house can make all the difference: get it done right the first time. Architects notice things and plan for them, for instance like around chimneys: architects always show a “cricket” behind the upslope side on their elevations, sections and roof plans. This simple bit of framing diverts rain, ice and snow Around the chimney, instead of directing water into leak-prone joints. Also, in mountainous regions, experienced architects, knowledgeable about rocky geology often specify their foundations to be “pinned” to the bedrock, so their projects do not “take a sleigh ride” down the mountain, which Soellner has witnessed other non-architect designs doing.
There are various architectural details that many people are not familiar with. Such details can keep a house healthy, strong, durable and functional. For instance, often an experienced architect will specify ice and snow dams on the lower part of a roof in snowy regions. These small pieces of copper will hold the snow and ice in place on a roof until the sun can melt it. Why? So that partially melting snow and ice sheets, often weighing thousands of pounds, don’t slide off the roof in a large sheet, taking with it your gutters, fascia board and killing people under it or smashing your cars. Not something you ever thought about? That’s why you hire an architect. They are paid to think of such things. It’s not all pretty pictures. An architect adds functionality and value as well as crafts a handsome design.
And an architect can also indicate emergency electrical power generators near your residence, so that when the commercial power to the rest of your neighborhood goes off, you are still up and running, enjoying your heat, hot water, being able to cook and clean, run your computers and the other activities we all take for granted, until they are unexpectedly shut down. The foresight of your architect can keep you warm, dry and comfortably enjoying the lifestyle you wanted when you had your house designed and built.