Do I need an Architect?

So you have decided to pursue a residential design project; whether it be a remodel, renovation, addition, or new construction.  Now what?  Starting a project and following the correct steps throughout the process can be overwhelming.  Many homeowners are surprised by the numerous steps that are involved in even the simplest design projects.  Steps include: what is the first thing I should do; how do I properly budget for the project I imagine; where and how do I apply for a permit; which applications need to be filled out; and will I need a variance or special permit?  You also may wonder whether you need sign-off from the Board of Health or when you should involve a contractor and how do I go about doing so?  The list of questions (and steps) goes on and on.

An Architect can answer all of your questions and map out a path to guide you from your initial design goals through construction completion. Not only will the Architect identify what you can and cannot do with your home and property legally, but she will make careful and thoughtful decisions when planning for efficiency and economy.   

So do you really need an Architect?  In all Massachusetts towns the Building Inspector will require a set of drawings stamped by a Registered Architect if they determine the scope of the project requires code or structural information or if zoning and by-law requirements need to be met.   In many remodel and renovation projects this is the case and in all addition or new construction projects this is a certainty.

In sum, the services of an Architect are vital to completing your construction project.  It is important to hire an Architect with a reputation for honest and open communication, fair fee proposals, and a high level of quality.  Architecture is collaborative and you will develop a relationship with your Architect that is highly personalized; so take special care in checking with references and reading endorsements. It is important to know that residential projects consist of the best efforts from the Client, Architect, and Contractor.   

Check back for additional blogs about the value of Architects and explanations on why the role of an Architect is so important in your Residential Design Project process.