Do I need an architect?
There are many questions we ask ourselves over the course of our lives. Questions we might go years without ever really answering.
- Do aliens exist?
- Who shot Kennedy?
- Is the McRib ever truly gone if it lives in our hearts?
- Do I need an architect to design my house?
I can’t help you with those first two questions. The third is obviously true – the McRib is never gone as long as just one of us still believes in it. That last question, though, I’m gonna break it down for you.
Who is Qualified to Design a House?
The thought of designing a home from the footings of its foundation to the peak of the roof, putting down your hard-earned money for it and then living out a significant portion of your life within it—that can seem to be a weighty responsibility. You want your family (or yourself if you’re one of those hermit writers) to be safe and happy. You want a place to return to at the end of the day that’s welcoming and, preferably, still standing. So whom will you assign this weighty responsibility to?
There are three types of professionals who can handle the job for you. Which one you choose depends on exactly what you need and your budget.
These guys are the ones who get all the credit. If we played the First Word That Comes To Your Mind Game and I said “building design”, you’d more than likely say “architect!” And you’d be correct. That is what they do.
However, their specialty is in commercial work—high rises and landmark buildings that change a cityscape for decades to come. They often work on large teams to cover all the tasks involved from concept to drafting to structural calculations to renderings to on site visits because designing a skyscraper from ground up is a daunting task. They can design your cozy little home for you but it would be like asking a brain surgeon to administer a flu shot. And you’ll pay the brain surgeon price too. So what other options are there?
On the other end of the scale, interior designers are taking the structure that’s already there and making it look gorgeous inside. Pillows with varying textures, complimentary materials in furnishings and lighting fixtures, finding the perfectly sized sofa for the room and for your lifestyle. They’re the frosting flowers on a perfectly layered cake.
Now there are some interior designers who can handle a bit of structural change—moving a wall, extending a room, or adding a window. But you’ll need an existing house to work with. Minor renovations? A very small addition? They might be able to help with that. It’ll depend if they have a qualified building designer on staff.
If you’re losing hope in finding an affordable home designer, don’t. The answer is here:
Certified Professional Building Designers
Take a deep breath. Now exhale. Certified Professional Building Designers (CPBD) specialize in designing houses of all sizes from foundation to roof, kitchen to bedroom, parlor to guest suite.
They’re qualified to meet all safety codes, calculate for high wind zones, and design the structure of your entire home. They’ll also do it for much less than an architect. And, if I’m being completely honest, building designers will do it better, because home design is their specialty.
A building designer, just like an architect, is familiar with the industry of building a house. They know what the town needs in order to approve the project. They know how to design a home in a way that accentuates the best parts of the lot it’s being built on. They know what the general contractor needs to keep all his people moving on the project.
It’s All In the Details
Where an architect would completely manage every detail of a project from start to finish, dictating to all those people how the job’s to be done, a home designer draws up a house plan and leaves it up to each specialist to handle their field of expertise on their own.
For example, a building designer will lay out a kitchen and leave it to the cabinet folks to specify exact cabinet size and style. A building designer will roughly locate lighting fixtures but leave it to the homeowner and contractor to decide on which fixtures to use.
When it comes to meeting the state building codes however, you can be assured that building designers have you covered down to the finest details. They know what size and spacing rebar needs to go into the foundation walls, what size beam will hold the roof up, and how many braced wall panels the house will need based on the highest calculated wind speed in the location it’s being built.
Is It True You Get What You Pay For?
The knee-jerk response is to go for the bigger, more expensive option of an architect. I mean, this will be your home, and these architect people have a degree that promises they know what they’re doing. They have licenses, they have letters near their logo that mean some big organization agrees they’re super cool people. And those points aren’t wrong – architects will totally design a house for you, they do know what they’re doing and they very likely are super cool people.
And then they’ll charge you five to ten times more than is really necessary. And you’ll have to deal with their egos.
I get it – they went to a big school, they got their degree, they did their internship, they passed their tests and got their license. Honestly, if it was me, I’d strut a bit too. But with that strutting, with the license, comes an unbreakable will to see their vision and their vision alone on the blueprints.
Your Home Your Way
We’ve seen it here at Home Designing Service Ltd over and over—clients disappointed after hiring an architect to design their home. After spending an arm and a leg, they didn’t feel heard and it didn’t feel like their home. They’ve come to us to redraw the plans their way.
After the sawdust clears and the last bit of grout has dried, the plans from a home designer and an architect are both going to produce great houses. They’re going to pass all their safety tests, they’re not going to fall over — something we at Home Designing Service Ltd feel is very important — and you’re going to be able to fill them with great memories and happy occasions for generations to come. The question is, will you need the hefty price tag and the strict control of an architect, or will you prefer the freedom and budget of a building designer?
Whether you’re looking to add on to your home, renovate it, or start from scratch, we’re ready to help.
To learn more about the cost and features of the three types of professionals mentioned in this article, check out our chart here.
I have a project with a 1000 square foot house (to be lifted meeting fema regs) and need to have plans that will integrate 3000 square feet to that existing house. This is a fairly thin long lot that has views out to long island sound. Is it possible to talk more, provide the survey? Get estimate etc. Thank you. The website below shows the property and existing house.
Hi Matt. Yes! This is something we can help you with. One of our designers will be contacting you shortly by email. 🙂