Customizing a house is a big deal because of all the complexities, but do you really need to hire an architect? Although architects are not always necessary, even with complicated designs, there are a few scenarios when you would need a professional architect to ensure the job gets done correctly.
Let’s have a look at those scenarios and discuss some ways to build a custom home without the approval of an architect.
What Do Architects Do?
To determine whether you need an architect or not, you first need to know what exactly an architect does. Sometimes, architects develop designs, select the building materials, and manage the entire project. They may limit themselves only to the design process or help people change existing blueprints for renovations. Most of the time, architects are visiting the building site and observing the work that is going on to ensure the quality of the structure meets certain regulations and expectations. An architect will also consider how the building is going to look amid the landscape.
As you can see, architects have several responsibilities. To help develop a home that meets your needs, architects will ask about your lifestyle, such as how often you entertain, if you need a home office, if you have children and pets, and what design elements you dislike in houses.
Do I Need an Architect?
Many contractors will employ architects to help with custom houses, so you do not necessarily need to hire an architect. That said, there is a scenario when you should have an architect: when the customization is getting designed into a specific or unique property.
In other words, if you are redesigning the interior of a property, such as removing structural elements or changing around plumbing or adding to a roof, you would benefit from an architect. However, you do not need an architect for cosmetic changes.
Depending on your ambitions and budget, you may choose to replace an architect with other options. As mentioned above, if you don’t plan on changing the internal framework of your home, you don’t require an architect. You can instead hire a designer or use a stock plan.
Let’s look at these in more depth.
Purchase a Stock Plan
As the name implies, a stock plan is a mass-market design that has been drafted and approved by architects and home designers. You can find stock plans online, in construction catalogs, and even on design websites. Stock plans are available for any size and style of home. You can also search based on your budget. Additionally, all of the plans have been tested, modified, improved, and customized over time.
The only downside to using a stock plan is that the architect who came up with the design did not take your personal needs into account. The stock building plans may not be designed for the climate of your region and could potentially clash with the layout of your home. Sometimes, people who purchase a stock plan need to hire an architect to make modifications to the plan.
Hire a Production Home Builder
A production home builder is much like an architect, but he or she focuses on the new homes in suburban zones and developments. These professionals are contracted by architects to form plans that are harmonious with the climate and other homes within the surrounding area.
Working with a production home builder is quick and economical. You choose exterior elements for the house, such as color and light fixtures, and they do the rest. However, production home builders do not do full customization. You may end up with a cookie-cutter home due to the limited design options.
Get a Certified Professional Building Designer
Also known as Home Designers, certified professional building designers have both the education and certifications of architects, but they charge much less. The advantage of using a home designer is that they specialize in private, single-family houses. They may be better at designing residences than architects, and they will be able to tailor a design to the needs and wants of your whole family.
Unfortunately, certified professional building designers also tend to follow more traditional layouts. This means that you won’t get a unique floor plan.
The Deciding Factor
There are plenty of options for getting a solid customization plan for your house. You can choose previously approved stock plans or use a home designer. However, two things separate architects from everything else: the quality of the design and the cost. You can reduce the cost of the customization project by choosing more traditional layouts that limit creativity and uniqueness, or you can choose to pay a higher fee to get exactly what you want in your new home.
Architects and home designers both bring more value to your home. Yet, these professionals may be more concerned about the concept rather than the cost of materials.
In the end, if you want a balance between solid design and keeping within your budget, you can seek out a homebuilder who acts as both the contractor and the designer. Not only will these individuals know materials, but they also have the knowledge required to build according to regulations.
In short, do you need an architect for a custom home? No. It is certainly not a bad idea to get your customization plans approved, but you can use a home designer or home builder to get the results you want for a lower cost. Moreover, if you are not concerned with the uniqueness of your home, you can get pre-approved stock plans or modified stock plans. The only time you need an architect is when the internal structure of the house has to be changed.
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