Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Value of an Architect

I was recently asked "On what kinds of projects is an architect absolutely recommended for residential projects? "

As incoming president elect of American Institute of Architects/South Carolina Chapter, I might appear to be biased but architects add value to all projects.

  1. The architect’s trained eye will help the homeowner make the best decisions for their project and often save the client money. In one project, my client thought they needed a major kitchen renovation. We relocated one door and all the traffic flow problems were solved.

  2. The architect can connect you house to the site and take advantage of the views and breezes. We have numerous renovation projects where the original house was a plan book house that was plopped down with a total disregard to the uniqueness of the site. By adding windows and exterior living spaces the homeowner can enjoy the view that they moved to the Lowcountry to see.

  3. Architects are fully conversant in the local building and zoning codes. Another client hired me after they had started a project with an unlicensed jack-of-all-trades. The under-construction guest house was a dysfunctional unsafe mess. We were able to salvage the project to meet their needs and the building code.

  4. Your architect will work with you on the scope of your project and material selections to ensure that the design meets your needs and budget requirements. Making all the design decisions prior to construction is the only way to ensure that your project stays on time and on budget.

  5. The architect prepares a complete set of construction documents that are a graphic and written record of decisions made. The drawings are considered complete in that they include all the information that a contractor needs to build the project. This also allows bids from contractors to be comparable.

  6. Finally, architects are invaluable during the construction phase as the owner’s advocate. They review the work and advise the client regarding design compliance. They also review and advise on the appropriateness of change orders. The architect is with you through good and bad; they help the contractor understand the design intent; and they ensure that decisions made during construction are consistent with the decisions made during design.

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