Working with an Architect – How to Be Prepared Going In…
One of the most critical steps when it comes to planning for your new home or major home remodel is the time you will spend with the architect. The designer/architect consultation represents that point at which your initial vision comes to life. Not to mention, their years of experience and expertise as far as construction practices, can pave the way for a smooth and highly productive build. At CHI, we have an in-house design expert who is also an architect. When he meets with you regarding your whole house renovation, addition, or custom home, he helps them realize exactly what it is they are trying to accomplish, while always taking into consideration factors such as budget, family needs, and material/finish preferences.
This is your home, your new space or your kitchen remodel; therefore, you want an architect that truly listens and what’s more, takes to heart what you tell him/her. So when it comes to what you should look for and how you should approach your new construction or whole house renovation project, here are a few very useful tips for working with an architect.
As With Anything…Plan Ahead!
When you first meet with your designer/architect, they will have plenty of questions for you, ranging from what will the space primarily be used for, to what types of design features do you prefer, to what is your overall décor style so do some planning before you meet with your architect. The more you can tell your architect about yourself and your family’s needs as far as that new home or new room are concerned—the better! Be as comprehensive and as forthcoming as possible.
Don’t Be Afraid to Speak Up
Yes, the architect is the expert here; but you are an expert on your wants and your own tastes, right? If they are suggesting something that perhaps you’re not fully on board with, then by all means, let them know. A great tip when working with an architect is to jot down a few notes first, this way it will help you maintain your focus while allowing you to visualize your own wish list.
Be Open to His/Her Ideas
On the flip side of that last coin, don’t become so immersed in your own single-minded objectives that you don’t allow yourself to really hear with the design expert is saying. Remember, you’re using their services for a reason. They could offer insightful tips, great advice and some important foundational knowledge that comes as a result of years of experience and hundreds of projects. The key is to achieve a successful blend of your input and their expertise.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask to Meet Throughout the Process
An architect’s job isn’t necessarily over once the plan is complete. In fact, a good architect follows through; they visit the job site on occasion, they make themselves available to answer the builder’s questions, and of course, your questions as well. When working with an architect you want to make sure you find one truly invested in not just the prints, but the overall result.
Run Structural and/or Field Changes By Your Architect
Changes on a project are far more commonplace than you might think. The important thing to remember however, is that changes, particularly structural ones, should be presented to the designer. When working with a comprehensive design-build firm this is generally standard procedure. But even if you are not working with a design-build company, you want to make sure you consult your architect regarding any changes as this could impact the entire set of plans; not to mention, you want to make sure any alterations are within code and do not compromise the integrity of the build process in any way.
Make Sure You Thoroughly Understand the Costs
Sure, adding extra square footage to the master, per your architect’s suggestion, sounds great. But always double check on the expense of such additions. On paper it’s easy and it looks wonderful—get to the actual onsite experience, and that 75 extra square feet could mean another 10k. Tip #6 for working with an architect: just run all adjustments or additions by your builder to ensure that it is still feasible given your budget.
The reason why our clients love working with our team is because we have everyone under one roof. From the architect, designer, and builder, the CHI crew works together, consults with one another and makes sure that every step of the way everyone is on the same page. This is so crucial during any new build or home remodel job. And in the end, it makes your life and your project so much easier!