Why Do You Need An Architect ?
Your home will usually cost several hundred thousand dollars, perhaps more, depending on the features, size, location, & materials you want. Would you buy your family’s vehicle from some unlicensed, unsupervised shade-tree mechanics who say they “put together cars” but are not Ford, GM, Chrysler, LandRover, Hyundai, VW, Subaru, Toyota, Porsche, or one of the other major vehicle manufacturers? And if those people proposing to build your vehicle had no degrees, education or experience? And your vehicles probably cost a lost less than your home!
You are in your residence during serious storm situations, when you need your house to shelter and protect you and your family; such as during high winds, ice and snow storms, earthquakes, heavy rains, hot, humid, dry weather and other harsh circumstances. If your residence hasn’t been designed to handle those environmental conditions by knowledgeable, licensed, experienced, real architects, you and your family may have serious results or die. Would you purchase a vehicle from some fellows who threw it together in their garage, then would you take your family in it on a long trip at high speed? Of course not; you certainly would never consider that.
So why take chances with your home? Your house is that special place in which you and your most-loved family members live. It is just as important, if not More important than your car or SUV, wouldn’t you think?
You want your residence to be a healthy place. To design your house to be a healthy place takes skill & decades of designing quality houses. You do not learn how overnight, or without education, licensing and experience. Energy costs are rising; you need your house to be energy efficient, to save your money in the future, as costs keep rising. Your investment now, in a quality design will save you that investment down the road.
You may believe that your insurance policy will protect you if you buy an improperly designed house and it rots, sags, cracks, falls down, grows mold that makes you sick, steals your money due to rising energy costs, or other serious situations. Insurance companies do not normally cover such things. Insurance companies can have clauses in their policies that do Not cover improperly designed houses.
You should given serious consideration to protecting what may be the largest investment you may ever have in your lifetime: your home, by having it properly designed by an architect.
You have a happy feeling. You know you want a one of a kind home for yourself and your family. Nothing that you have so far seen in your lifetime will do. You want something unique and you know you need architect to help you reach your goal.
You cannot find any existing residences that have been already built that is available for sale to you that satisfies what you want, for the price you want to pay for it.
You have searched online for months or years, and in magazines and in plan books and while you may have seen a few room arrangements that might look like they might possibly work for you, you really cannot find the total combined residential design that fulfills ALL of your needs, desires and dreams. The dimensions are too small, or too big. Or the plan should be mirrored. Or the elevations are not to your taste. Or: there is no basement. Or no loft or no elevator. You are special and what you want doesn’t exist anywhere. You are going to have to have an architect design it for you.
The integrity of your new home should not be trusted to anyone other than a licensed, official architect; one that specializes in home design. You will live there. Your spouse will live there. Your children will live there. You need & want a licensed, degreed professional to design your house.
You wouldn’t trust a your neighborhood grocery butcher to handle your upcoming heart operation; you want an M.D. and one that is a cardiac surgeon. Why would you trust the design of your home to anyone but the most skilled designers of houses on the planet: residential architects.
Architects of homes have: major accredited university architectural educations, degrees, years of monitored internships under the close supervision of other more experienced architects , successful passing of a grueling multiple day exam, decades of architectural experience, licensing and State & professional organization monitored continuing architectural education. No other type of person on the planet has this focused architectural series of requirements.
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.
Energy Star Partners
Some of the ArCH members are among the few residential architects in the World that qualify to be Energy Star Partner Architects. People who are not architects cannot be an Energy Star Partner Architect. What does this mean for you? Lower monthly fuel & power bills, a healthier home and knowing that you are using a licensed professional that designs and manages their projects and yours in a manner that lowers the carbon footprint of your residence and uses less resources while providing a better lifestyle experience in your house.
You need an experienced architect, used to pricing & bidding residential projects, to manage your project pricing to help you obtain the reasonable pricing from interested, cooperating qualified licensed contractors. That one item in and of itself can more than make up for an architect’s fee. This can result in possible savings in the tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars for this service. Not having an architect help you with this could possibly result in your paying builder(s) much more than you might have otherwise.
You want a Healthy house. You want a licensed architect knowledgeable with Healthy Design (one subset of Green Architecture) to design your house. This means clean air for your children to breathe, less toxic off-gassing from unhealthy materials, and construction procedures & commissioning procedures that leave your house clean after it is done being constructed.
How much is the health of your husband or wife, son or daughter worth? Priceless. Home hygiene can result in your family living longer, healthier lives. Your investment in your architect from this standpoint is priceless. This is special, detailed, knowledge with which most of America is not familiar. Find an architect with this experience to design your house.
You want to capture spectacular views from your land. And if your land does not have incredible views, at least your architect can frame the best views that you do have. You are concerned that a contractor, or anyone other than a licensed architect might not have enough design ability to understand how important these views are to you. Builders build; architects design. Let each do what they do best.
You have certain constraints with your land that require a special solution from someone having excellent design skills. That would be your architect
You want the best value. Architects can help you prioritize your wishlist into options that allow you to be the one in charge of how and where you spend your hard earned money. Architects skilled in Value Engineering can help you obtain the best prioritized value.
Architects evaluate projects to indicate economical ways to build.
Architect analyze the most economical systems and materials (that are still durable) for your project, insuring that you receive the reasonable pricing for your project. Architects want to help you obtain the best value. You determine the ultimate cost of your home based on Your choices.
Most the ArCH firm members do Not handle thousands or hundreds or even dozens of projects each year. Rather, the ArCH member firms are nearly exclusively custom. What does this mean for you and your project? You are treated with the special courtesies and you are the focus on your project. You are often receiving the attentions of the top licensed architects of the ArCH companies designing your project. These firms design their projects around your lifestyle and your land.
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 problem-solving skills to make sure that the beauty of your home design is achieved.
Residential architects design your residence around your lifestyle and your fabulous views,
– Room/space orientations that place as many rooms as possible looking at your best site views.
– Logical space configurations that give you convenience.
– Master Suites separate for visual & acoustical privacy.
– Kitchens with views, adjacent to dining spaces.
– Outdoor covered living areas oriented toward your views.
– Specific features incorporating your special needs and property requirements.
While some builders might cut everything to get down to the bone on your budget, an architect can do that, however, most architects will also indicate to you that for just a little bit more, you might be able to obtain a much more value. Most architects will take the time to alert you to these things that can mean so much, years into the future. For instance, there is a roofing underlayment that might cost an extra one or two thousand dollars on a normal size 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.
Resale value/ resale speed. An architect-designed home can be worth more than standard builder houses, and the architect-designed residence can sell faster, if competitively priced, depending on circumstances. In a changing economy, you need every advantage you can find in the residential market. You may realize that your investment in your architect has paid you back many times for this one issue.
A home designed to your every wish fits you like a glove. Everything is a enjoyable, without the problems you have had living in other people’s used homes that you have bought in the past.
You may have indulged yourself by buying that dream car you have wanted for years, why not indulge yourself with your dream home? You work hard, don’t you? You love your family. You bought a special piece of ground on which to build a house. Now is the time to engage your favorite residential architect and get him or her busy on your special house. It is hard to put a price on satisfaction & enjoyment in your life. Your architect can help you with this.
Today’s Economy is a value for housing. Construction costs for housing are at a low price. So is land. Take advantage of this market now before they go up again. Today, you can have your special house designed and built for a fraction of what it would cost under a normal economy.
Your house architect is your advocate. He or she has one mission: to get you the house that you want. You need that architect’s focused purpose helping you through this complex process. You need someone looking out for you, just like your accountant, lawyer or doctor. Trying to have your new house project design & built on your own is too great of a challenge. Get the professional help of an architect. ArCH member architects are a part of the only independent licensed architect member professional organization on the planet, whose member focus is on the design of homes.
Only an architect has the special education, experience, training and heart-felt desire to design your house. They understand practicality, aesthetics, economy, function, life safety, energy, regulatory requirements, site constraints, public and private site exposure, style and a host of other issues to result in the creation of your special house. Not everyone has these skills or sensitivity. Hire a licensed architect, one that specializes in home design.
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 your house to save you money, while accomplishing your objectives. Your foundations can be a significant expense, if your residence is not located properly and economically. This one skill alone can more than pay for your investment in your licensed residential architect.
You might call them “Plans.” They are a lot 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 that provide you with the design vision divined from your wishes and converted, through the architect’s practical and artistic vision, into an actual design arrangement for construction.
Trying to build without detailed professional documents is difficult, dangerous, time-consuming, can result in unexpected and expensive changes during construction and your project could possibly be “red-tagged” (stopped) by your local building department. Also, your builder can and will charge you more for items and features that are not covered in skimpy drawings prepared by other than licensed architects. Having detailed, comprehensive architectural drawings can help eliminate such costly surprises during construction. Help save yourself this heartache: engage a licensed architect to design your next home project.
An architect produces quality Construction 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.
Architects do things professionally. They position the features of your house on drawings and specify their quality, so that your builder knows where to place them in the built structure and what they are. Having detailed construction documents answers most of your contractor’s questions, which means their pricing can be accurate from the beginning. And you should benefit from your architect’s detailed, accurate documents, because contractors traditionally will bid higher prices for unknown conditions and sketchy documents, to cover these unknowns, or worse, will take the job low, then charge you substantially more, later on, for change orders, which will happen when there are holes in the drawings, left by unlicensed people. Better to have more complete documents created by a licensed architect.
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 answer. And faster construction typically = lower price.
Many entities in the construction business are trying to sell you a package of materials, or a certain other materials and systems. Your architect is the one who listens to you, hearing what you want and he or she takes notes and asks questions to clarify your needs & wants. The licensed architect listens and hears what you want, then does everything they can to help you get it. The architect has only one goal: to make you happy by designing the house you want. No other legitimate person or firm in the housing industry has this fiduciary relationship with you.
Your architect can provide you with administration during construction to observe the construction work in progress and report that to your contractor and you. The architect not only points out discrepancies in the construction versus the Construction Documents, 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 and you do not understand what you are looking at during construction. 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. Your residential architect is a value-added professional, providing quality and oversight for you.
Most ArCH member firms draw their documents on CAD (Computer Aided Drafting) and other software, to help them and you visualize the design. These firms have become expert at it. What’s the big deal? Why is this important? Because computer drawings exactly locate the lines and other objects on the computer drawing with great precision and even partially automate the dimensioning of the position of these lines and objects with respect to each other, in 3 dimensions, which is how builders understand where to locate your floors, foundations, walls, beams, trusses, windows, doors and other features. Having this preciseness allows your builder to construct your home more swiftly. Faster construction normally = less cost.
ArCH member residential architects hereby ask for your business. These firms want to be your residential architect for your house. These companies would love to design your house/project and will appreciate this in their positive and professional attitude throughout your job.
ArCH member firms answer their phone. Most member companies have senior level staff working on projects like yours most of the time, so you can reach them. On the rare occasions when you cannot reach staff at our office phone or cell, staff will return your call usually in a matter of minutes. ArCH firms take their position of trust seriously and pledge to you that they will be available.
Residential architectural firms enjoy what they do. They love what they do and it shows in their work. Architects will do everything they can possibly think of to help you accomplish your goals. This gives them an edge. This is more than just a job: it is their calling. This passion for quality shows in their work.
Engage a registered, licensed professional architect to design your house. It is Your residence, so, you must want the most qualified professional possible designing the place where you and your loved ones will live.
Real architects typically spend 5 to 8 years at major universities, being taught by highly trained and experienced architects. They earn legitimate degrees in architecture. They have to pass a grueling state licensure exam, adhering to nationwide standards. They have to apprentice under the watchful eyes of seasoned, experienced architects, guiding their work. They have to obtain licensure in at least one state of the USA in order to be called an “Architect.” They have to take yearly Continuing Education Units to stay current with the latest architectural technology, materials, codes and standards. Their practice has to be conducted in accordance the highest standards of practice to be allowed to continue to practice. They take a vow to protect the Health, Safety & Welfare of the public. No other organization has these requirements. That’s why only Architects are so capable at designing homes and other buildings.
All of the ArCH member firms take a pledge to conserve energy and protect the environment. Many of the techniques that these companies use insures that your house is energy efficient and is a healthy place. Having ArCH member firms designing your project is good for you and good for your neighborhood and the World, helping make this a greener planet.
ArCH firm member houses are gorgeous. Just take a look at the slide show above, and review the Find An Architect page and click on the various architects that appeal to you to see their work.
When you have a house custom designed for you, your architect can create a special “look” that captures the spirit of your land & your lifestyle, turning it into a piece of art in which you live.
While it may not sound like an important consideration, your home architect is always working hard so that you don’t have to, and he or she wants to be please you, especially with the design, the documents, and the built product constructed by your Contractor. This positive attitude of wanting to make you happy is important. It requires attentiveness, a Can-Do spirit and willingness to work with you to help you achieve your goals.
This can make your participation in your home creation process much more pleasant). You can have fun. Your architect will deal with and interpret codes, building setbacks, builder’s bidding and all the other complicated technical matters, allowing you to enjoy the creation of your residence.
ArCH member firms have agreed to be available to their clients. They want to make sure that you can discuss your concerns and ideas when it is convenient for you.
ArCH member residential Architects know what to specify so that your house will last and have minimal maintenance. You affect many of those decisions, along with what you decide to accept from your Contractor. Your residential licensed architect will strive to use materials & systems & details that will keep your house stable, comfortable and requiring less maintenance than other options. Your architect will typically seek materials & systems that resistive of the environmental and human forces, within certain tolerances. Various finishes and materials will have different requirements for painting/coating, cleaning and similar periodic maintenance. Your architect will normally work to indicate those products that give you as much durability as you and your economic parameters appear to allow to happen.
The large sofa that you inherited from your uncle. That giant bed you and your spouse have owned for years and live dearly. The dining table that your grandfather made. All of these and more can be integrated into the floor plans your residential architect creates for you to enjoy in your proposed home. Most ArCH members show furniture on their plans.
Why? Without furniture, in particular, the furnishings you want to use, you really don’t know if your floor plans work. What is meant by “work”? This: will the furnishings you intend to use actually fit inside the space, and do so in a practical way that allows spacious & logical pedestrian traffic movement from one space into another? If you don’t know for sure, then you really need to have a residential architect indicate, to scale, the furniture on your floor plans.
Arrangements that may seem impossible to you, as a non-architect, become understandable to an experienced architect. Architects solve complex three dimensional, functional, technical & aesthetic problems for a living. Residential architects have probably solved a situation similar to yours previously. Trust your issues to a registered, licensed professional; they will solve the problem and get it done for you.
A licensed, experienced architect understands how everything relates to everything else in a building and in your home. Your architect guides you through the process with confidence. Foundations, structure, colors, textures, this type of roofing, that type of window, garage doors, flooring, insulation, codes, site requirements, driveways, septic fields, wells, landscaping, wall siding… only an architect has the expertise to understand how thousands of things work together to result in a home of which you can be proud and enjoy for your entire life: your home.
Designing a residence, analyzing building setbacks, code requirements, understanding cost implications, low-maintenance features, dealing with contractors, and other design requirements and construction complexities can be overwhelming to most lay people, not heavily experienced with construction.
One more reason for an architect to design your house is that your architect has done this dozens, even hundreds of times. He knows what to do to keep your project moving forward in a positive manner. There are hundreds, if not thousands of decisions to be made. Your architect can help you make these and guide you toward a good solution that reinforces your design objectives.
For many ArCH member companies, if you go to the architect’s office, your first consultation to discuss your project is often at no charge. This is typically only available for people sincerely considering engaging the particular firm to design their project.
Most clients have more expensive items on their wishlist for their home than they want to pay their Contractor to provide. This is natural. Everyone wants a good deal and we all want what we want, but do not want to pay for all of it. Unfortunately, that doesn’t align with reality. ArCH member architects understand this. They will typically “Have The Talk” with you. This talk involves letting you know that all of the things that you want are more than likely not going to be achievable for the budget amount you have in mind.
Why? Because the contractors and manufacturers charge more for these features and items. You would do well to listen closely to your architect while he or she is explaining this fact of life. Because, your architect will design what you want. And if the high-end features you want outweigh any concerns you may have for your desired construction cost, your architect will ultimately include in the design what you have instructed him or her to include (as long as such features represent what your architect feels is good practice). You, then, are the one responsible for the cost of your house.
If you do listen to your architect, then perhaps you and he or she can arrive at a design solution that simplifies what you may have originally envisioned, to give you 90% of what you hoped for, while substantially reducing the construction cost for your residential design. This alignment of expectations and adjustment to the realities of the construction marketplace is one of the best values your residential architect provides you. If it is not offered, ask for it. You can benefit a great deal from this review and design adjustment.
There are some unlicensed so-called “builders” in the United States and elsewhere, who make their living dishonestly, by of bilking tens of thousands of dollars or even hundreds of thousands of dollars from their unsuspecting “clients.” Some of these con artists have been featured on the television show “American Greed,” hosted by actor Stacy Keach. With an architect designing and administering your project, you can have a professional (your architect) watching out for your best interests every step of the way. Having a new house or a renovation designed and built is a complex task.
You may be tempted to involve a person to build your project who charms you with smooth talk and a promise of big bargains. What do you know about such matters? Sounds good, so without your architect involved, you might agree to this. Only, this “builder” requests a large up front payment and you, without someone there to guide and advise you, pay it, because you know you will eventually have to pay it anyway. Then your “builder” does a few minor things.
You don’t see a project sign and don’t see a building permit. Your “builder” demands another hefty payment, then does nothing. Weeks go by. Your builder tells you he needs more cash from you to buy materials. You pay more. At this point, you have perhaps paid for 90% of your project cost and have only received about 15% of the construction. Nothing happens for several more weeks. You call your “builder.” His phone has been disconnected. Now you wonder what is going on.
You call the building department. The local building official comes out to your site and says that no one ever pulled a building permit for what he sees there and he posts a “Red Tag” on your property and states that you are going to have to have it torn down, because what has been done there was without County review and approval and could be dangerous. Now you really start worrying. You paid almost all your money for what you thought was going to be a great-deal builder and instead were cheated out of your money and all you bought was trouble. What to do?
Well, if you had instead hired a licensed architect to design and administer your project, your architect would have known if any con artists posing as contractors were involved. How? Your architect, as part of his Health, Safety & Welfare vow to the public when he becomes licensed, requires him to verify the licensure of any builders who are being considered for your project.
Your architect contacts the State Board of Contractors and investigates. Your architect will know, in a matter of a few minutes, who is a real contractor and who is not. Your architect also checks the complaint record of the proposed contractors to see if they have any problems, like not pulling permits for the projects that they build, or if their homes have fallen down! Wouldn’t you like to know that BEFORE you have a “builder” construct your house?
And your architect knows how to professionally manage a project. He will request that the contractor’s pay requests go through him, the architect, before you even see them. Why? Because your architect is trying to protect you from any unscrupulous unlicensed “builder’s” over-billing, which is a sure sign of trouble.
Your architect will check the billed amount from the contractor and look at the work that has been accomplished on your project. If it appears that your builder’s invoice is in excess of the amount of work done, your architect will ask the builder to adjust his invoice to you to be lower, and in line with the amount of work actually accomplished. And there are many more services that your architect can perform to help guard you against the con men of the World. It is well worth the architect’s fee to have him onboard, watching out for your interests.
During the recent Hurricane Sandy, scores of people lost their lives in houses that fell down or were blown away. Houses that were not designed by architects. Houses that only likely adhered to “minimum code.” So if you think that “code” will save you; you’re wrong. Codes change when people die. Especially when lots of people die. Evidently more people need to die before the things that prudent architects do to protect their clients will become adopted as standard requirements. Only a licensed REAL architect has any incentive to protect their client’s Health, Safety & Welfare. Nothing to do with business or profits or anything else. Architects take a solemn vow to have the best interests of their clients at heart, when designing their houses and buildings.
That’s the kind of professional you want at work for you. Wouldn’t you rather come home to your house, rather than an empty lot, during the next big storm? And wouldn’t you prefer to keep your arms and legs and loved ones safe? How much is that worth to you? The good news is that residential architects are happy to design your house and do so on a reasonable basis. Free? No; of course not. But certainly a good value. Build a house design that will remain there, in good condition for a good long time, resisting forces beyond minimum code, seeing you through good times and bad. A strong house. An architecturally designed house.
During decades of study and practice, ArCH member firms have updated their details and systems and methods. Some of them have created outstanding wall, floor, roof and other systems & assemblies that improve their client’s homes and buildings. They seek to improve the durability and healthy lifespan your home, making it difficult for water to penetrate your house, or for other adverse circumstances to happen under reasonable situations. This results in a healthier, stronger house, lower utility bills & less maintenance.
to keep you out of trouble.
Your Architect will review your septic permits, in particular, looking for your Septic Construction Permit. This is what you will need in order to Know that your site will support a septic system and that you can build it. If youhire your Architect BEFORE you buy your land, the Architect can guide you to demand that the land seller has special tests performed that are required by the County Health Department, so that you KNOW that your land will work for a septic system. This is part of your Architect’s early due diligence, which can help save you thousands of dollars and prevent you from buying land that will not support a septic system. Having a “septic permit” does NOT guarantee that a septic system will be allowed on your land. Only having a Septic Construction Permit does that and your Architect will look for that, with your best interests in mind.