Why Hire An Architect to Design Your House

Why Hire An Architect to Design Your House

hire an architect
Rand Soellner is a member of the AIA (American Institute of Architects)

That’s a good question.

Why hire an architect to design your house . . .

1.  EXCITEMENT.  You have a giddy feeling.  You know you want a Special dream house for yourself and your family.  Nothing ordinary will do.

2.  WHAT YOU WANT DOESN’T EXIST IN BUILT HOMES.  You cannot find any existing house that has been already built and that is available for sale that satisfies what you want.

3.  WHAT YOU WANT DOESN’T EXIST AS A DESIGN.  You have looked and looked online and in magazines and in plan books and while you may have seen a few room arrangements that might look like they could work for you, you really cannot find the overall, total house that fulfills ALL of your needs, desires and dreams.  You are unique and what you want doesn’t exist.

4.  YOU ONLY WANT A PRO.  You do not want to trust the integrity of your new house to anyone other than a licensed, real architect; one that specializes in residential design.  You wouldn’t trust a your neighborhood grocery butcher to handle your upcoming bypass operation; you want an M.D.  and one that is a cardiac surgery specialist.  Why would you trust the design of your house to anyone but the most skilled designers of homes on the planet: residential architects.  Architects of houses have: top accredited university educations, degrees, internships, successfully passed a grueling multiple day exam, has decades of experience, licensing and State & professional organization monitored continuing education.

5.  ENERGY EFFICIENCY.  You want an energy efficient house that lowers your monthly utility bills.  Over the years, this savings can more than pay your back for your investment in your architect.

6.  BIDDING/PRICING MANAGEMENT EXPERIENCE TO OBTAIN A REASONABLE COST.  You want an experienced design professional, used to pricing and bidding out residential projects, to manage your project bidding so that you can obtain the very best reasonable pricing from qualified licensed contractors.  That one item in and of itself can more than make up for the architect’s fee.  This can result in possible savings in the tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars for this service.

7.  HEALTHY HOUSE.  You want a Healthy house.  You want a licensed architect familiar with Healthy Design (one subset of Green Architecture) to create your house.  This means clean air for your children to breathe, no toxic off-gassing from unhealthy products, and construction procedures that leave your house clean after it is done being built.  How much is the health of your husband or wife, daughter or son worth?  Priceless.  Residential hygiene can result in you and and your family living longer, healthier lives.  Your investment in your architect from this standpoint is priceless.

8.  VIEWS.  You want to capture certain views from your land.  You are concerned that a builder or anyone other than a licensed architect might not have enough design abilities to understand how important these views are.  Builders build; architects design.

9.  SPECIAL SITE ISSUES.  You have certain constraints with your land that require a sensitive solution from someone having excellent design skills.

10.  I WANT THE MOST BANG FOR MY BUCK.  You want the best value.  Architects can help you prioritize your desires into options that allow you to be the one in control of how and where you spend your hard earned money.  Architects skilled in Value Engineering can help you obtain the best prioritized value.

11.  DESIGN EXPERIENCE WITH EFFICIENT ARRANGEMENTS.  Experienced residential architects know how builders obtain the least expensive prices to accomplish building your house, and yet, in addition to these cost-saving methods, architects also have the design abilities and analytical skills to make sure that the aesthetics (the beauty) of your house design is maintained.

12.  VALUE & PRACTICAL SENSE.  While some builders might cut everything to get down to the bone on your budget, an architect can do that, however, the architect will also point out that for just a little bit more, you might be able to obtain a lot of value.  The architect will take the time to draw your attention to these things that can mean so much, years into the future.  For instance, there is a roofing underlayment that might cost an extra $1,000 on a normal 3,000 square foot house, and this underlayment is virtually guaranteed not to leak, if installed in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions.  That’s a value that most homeowners would want to know about.

13.  RESALE.  Resale value/ resale speed.  An architecturally designed residence can be worth more than standard builder houses, and the architecturally designed houses can sell faster, if competitively priced.  In a challenging economy, you need every edge you can find in the housing market.  You may end up realizing that your investment in your architect has paid you back many times for this one consideration.

14.  ENJOYMENT OF LIFE.  A house custom designed to your every wish fits you like a glove, saying “Yes” to your “yes” at every turn.  Everything is a pleasure, with none of the frustrations you have had living in other people’s used houses that you have purchased in the past.

15.  YOU DESERVE IT.  You have indulged yourself with the purchase of that dream vehicle you wanted for years, why not indulge yourself with your dream house?  You work hard.  You love your family.  You bought that special piece of property.  Now is the time to engage your favorite residential architect and get him or her busy on your dream house.  It is hard to put a price on satisfaction and enjoyment of your life.  Your architect can help you accomplish this.

16.  EXCELLENT ECONOMY IN WHICH TO BUILD A HOUSE.  Today’s Economy is a real value for housing.  Construction costs for housing are at a decade’s low price.  So is real estate (land).  Take advantage of these low costs now before they go up again.  Today, you can have your dream house designed and built for a fraction of what it would cost under normal economic conditions.

17.  YOUR ARCHITECT IS ON YOUR SIDE.  Your architect is your advocate.  He or she has one mission: to get you the house that you want.  You really need that simplicity of direction helping you through this complicated process.  You need someone looking out for your interests, just like your doctor, lawyer or accountant.

18.  SPECIALIZED SKILLS.  Only an architect has  the special education, training, experience, and heart-felt desire to design your house.  They were born to do this for you.  They balance aesthetics, economy, function, life safety, energy, regulatory requirements, site constraints, privacy and public exposures, imagery, style, and a host of other issues to result in the creation of your unique residence.  Not everyone has these skills or sensitivity.

19.  SITE ANALYSIS.  Your architect is one of the few people on the planet that can hear what you have said you want, then look at your building site and understand how your house might sit on it and where to best build it to save you money.  Your foundations can be a significant expense, if your residence is not sited properly and economically.  This one facet alone can more than pay for your investment in your architect.

20.  DESIGN & CONSTRUCTION DOCUMENTS.  You may refer to them simply as “Plans.”  They are much more than that.  An architect is the only licensed professional, through education, training and experience, that can provide you with legal drawings and specifications detailing how to build your residence.  Prior to these Construction Documents (CDs), your architect will create varying degrees of Design drawings and sketches that provide you with the design vision divined from your stated wishes and converted, through the architect’s practical and artistic vision, into an actual proposed design arrangement for your review, possible modification and approval.

21.  QUALITY OF DOCUMENTS. An architect produces extremely high quality documents.  Part of an architect’s training and apprenticeship includes demanding critical analysis of everything he or she does, especially focused on the documents they produce.  Most architects produce their documents on computers these days, which makes their details and dimensions very accurate.  Precision is part of the reason you have an architect involved.  They do things professionally.  They position the features of your house in 3 dimensions, locating them in X,Y and Z coordinates so that your builder knows where to place them in the built structure.  And having detailed, thorough construction documents eliminates most of your builder’s questions, which means the builder’s pricing can be accurate from Day-1.  And you should benefit from your architect’s detailed, accurate documents, because contractors traditionally will bid higher prices for unknown conditions and sketchy documents.  Having precise documents from your architect should allow your builder to provide you with reasonable pricing for exactly what has been designed.  This also allows your construction to proceed faster, because your builder will have fewer questions to resolve.  And normally, faster construction = lower price.

22.  AN ARCHITECT LISTENS TO YOU.  You may have discovered that other entities in the construction business are trying to sell you a certain package of materials, or a certain pre-existing something.  Your architect is the one who carefully listens to you, hearing what you want and he or she takes notes and asks occasional questions to clarify your desires.  You will discover that the dissatisfaction you may have felt dealing other so-called designers at construction companies and other material companies evaporates when you find yourself with a real architect.  The real architect listens and hears what you want, then makes sure you get it.  The real architect has only one objective: to make you happy by designing the house you want.  No other legitimate entity in the housing industry has this fiduciary relationship with you.

23.  CONSTRUCTION ADMINISTRATION SERVICES.  The architect of your house can provide you with services during construction to observe the work in progress and report on that both to your builder and to you.  The architect not only points out discrepancies in the construction versus the CDs, the architect is an important member of the construction problem solving team.  Without your architect involved during construction, no one is guarding the “hen house.”  Your architect can help you by reviewing the contractor’s pay requests and comparing them with the work accomplished to insure that you are getting what you are paying for.  This is especially important if you happen to be at some distance from your jobsite, or if you are not skilled in construction matters.  Your architect can also help you obtain warranty services after you occupy your house.  These construction administration services alone can more than pay for your architect’s fee.