Do you have a building project on the horizon? Have you kicked around the idea of calling in an architect, but got talked out of it? Here are the 3 reasons why you aren’t calling architects, and why it hurts you not to.
1. My Builder’s Doing the Design
“My builder says we don’t need architects. His team can do the design”.
Sure, they absolutely can, but here’s how it’s likely to go. First of all, the builder wants to keep your design fee, the primary reason they cut out the architect. In order to make the most profit, the builder will look through their stock plans and grab an existing design that most closely matches your requirements. Change the name, move a wall out here or there, and call it done. If you are in the market for a standard issue, (cookie-cutter) house, hey, this really is a fine way to go (no cynicism).
Good Design Floats
You only need an architect if you want your structure tailored to your needs, routines, and desires. If you want a dream-house, or incredibly efficient office building—where form and function are seamlessly integrated—tell your builder you insist on working with an architect. Better yet, get your architect first and then approach a builder.
In recent conversations we’ve had with bankers and real-estate agents, it is established that homes with excellent design have a significantly higher re-sale value, compared to poor or average designed homes of the same square footage. You’re spending the money anyway, let’s make your home great! See an example here of before and after photos for a modern addition we designed. The value of this property has increased astronomically.
Having an architect is having a building advocate. When the builder suggests a change, how do you know it’s in your best interest? It may not be, and it may not fit with your design theme. At LEAP, we make sure all the details that make this design exclusively YOURS—actually get built into the structure.
LEAP Architecture is your communication bridge between you and your builder. We speak plain old English, and we also speak builder. We can take the time to understand your goals from the start, explain building terms, and what impact a particular change will have. Builders also appreciate this arrangement, as they are crazy busy with construction. For a builder to take time out to even pick up the phone, let alone take time out for a in depth conversation, is time away from what they do best.
Documentation (or How to Cover Your Butt)
What if (eekk) something goes wrong in construction, and delays might be the least of it. The wrong type of kitchen counter was used, formaldehyde containing paneling was installed in your bedroom, the project is over budget. How do you protect yourself and make sure you get what you signed up for? Well, a big part of our jobs as architects is documenting everything! It’s certainly not the most glorious part of our job, but from a legal protection standpoint, an absolute necessity. We keep track of the paper trail from day 1, including all correspondence, dates, decisions made, etc. If the time ever arises where say, your builder made a mistake but assures you it’s actually your fault; we quietly pull out our files and get to the bottom of it.
2. Architects Are Too Expensive
“Building a house is so expensive, bringing in an architect will just waste more money.”
Let me break it to you gently, you’re going to pay a design fee either way. Either the builder will get it—see above—or it can go to your architect. Here’s why you want it to go to the architect. A great design will enhance your day-to-day living and it will also significantly increase your property value. And in many cases, you’re not paying anymore than what the builder charges.
The table below shows two options for LEAP’s services, a) a bare bones option for a permit set of drawings and b) our Design Package. Our Design Package only cost a few % more than the bare bones, and what you get for that will amaze you. In addition to structural drawings, we do a whole integrated design where we specify the materials to be used, color schemes, lighting, window placement, storage, functionality and site analysis. For a more in-depth read, take a look through the series on our design process.
3. Architects Aren’t Accessible
“An architect wouldn’t be interested in my project, it’s not grand.”
What comes to mind when you hear the term architect? Skyscrapers? City centers? Looming glass clad structures that seemingly defy the laws of gravity. Well, yes. Architects do design those, but architecture is not exclusive to monuments or anchor buildings. It’s accessible to everyone, and everyone should take advantage of architects services.
You can call us right now (518-669-9435) for an initial conversation about your project. We’re happy to give you feedback and guidance. In the first 5 min we will ballpark the construction costs, so you can make an informed decision, and move forward with realistic expectations. Whereas builders can be tempted to low-ball project budgets and up-charge later, we prefer to be upfront and give you the best information we can from the start.
So what are you waiting for? We don’t bite, and we don’t gouge. Making our clients happy is in our best interest. Give us a call today!