Residential Architects > Hiring an Architect • Glossary
Architects are licensed professionals whose building design and planning decisions often affect the safety and well-being of the general public. Those architects who specialize in designing houses, condominiums, and other residential buildings are called residential architects.
Depending upon your particular needs, architects can serve you in several different ways. They can take a stock plan you have found in a book, magazine, or on the Internet, and modify it to fit your needs. Or, they can create your dream home from scratch. You can be fully engaged in the process and work with your architect to create your home, or you can hand him the reins after expressing your thoughts and design ideas. There is no set way to use an architect; the best way is to use his or her architectural services in a way that suits you!
Despite their initial high cost, architects can save the home builder a lot of time and money in the long run. If your project requires complex structural engineering, if you lack aesthetic vision, or if you have little experience in planning home functionality, then it probably makes sense for you to hire a residential architect.
ResidentialArchitects.us features convenient access to a good selection of residential architecture and home building resources. Visit the Residential Architect magazine website to find residential architect profiles and architecture news, as well as architectural product guides and remodeling books. Browse the architecture firm websites for home building and remodeling ideas as well as tips on working with home architects. If you're looking for an architect, try the AIA's architect finder. This service can help you find local architects in your area.
The Value of an ArchitectDo you really need an architect when you build or remodel your home?
Only licensed architects can call themselves architects, and the plans that they draw must include their official seal. Just like doctors and lawyers, architects are required to renew their registration periodically, usually every two years depending upon the state in which they practice.
Now that you understand what an architect is, do you need to work with a residential architect when building, or enlarging, your home?
The answer really depends upon your personal preference. While most residential homes don't require the use of an architect, you may find that using an architect takes your home to the next level. An architect is schooled to take many factors — your requirements, your wishes, your site, your budget, and your schedule — and meld them all harmoniously into something you will eventually call home.
An architect can also save you lots of money, particularly if you are planning an addition. While the homeowner may have a certain idea in mind when it comes to an addition or remodel, an architect can tell them if there is a simpler, less costly, but equally appealing way to go about the job.
An architect can also help you evaluate potential home sites and figure out how to best use those sites. Laws, codes, and regulations your project might fall under can also be handled by your architect.
Perhaps the most valuable skill of the architect is to take your design ideas and put them onto paper in a way that can be understood by your contractor. An architect will do a complete set of drawings that will include every single feature of your home, and will leave nothing to the imagination.
We trust this information has been helpful, and we wish you the best as you work through your home project with your residential architect.
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