Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Building or remodeling? Consider hiring an architect

From page HS23 | April 26, 2013 |

By Mikol Maitland

Whether you are thinking of remodeling your existing home or venturing out to build that dream home, where do you begin? What can you afford to do? Who can help you with this vision?

Depending on the scale of your project, some people may start with a contractor. This is a good place to start because a contractor can help you to better understand your budget limitations once you translate your vision to them. But once you have an understanding of your budget parameters, how do you properly translate that vision into reality?

This is where talking to a licensed architect can help to guide you through the complicated process of a construction project. An architect is trained to listen to the description of what you see in your mind’s eye and help shape it into a successful vision.

If you have never worked with an architect before, you will probably have a lot of questions. Ask around your inner circles, especially someone who has worked with an architect in the past, or even a contractor you may know who can give you a recommendation. Every architect has their own approach to the design process and it is important to find and architect who understands your style and vision. You would not want to hire an architect who specializes in modern minimalistic architecture to design your finely detailed country Craftsman home.

What do you talk about in your first meeting with an architect? Tell them what you want out of your project regarding both aesthetics and function. Talk about how you currently live in your spaces at home and how you see yourself using the spaces once the project is complete. Be frank about your budget and schedule expectations and ask about their fee structure. Most architects’ fees are structured on the scope of the project and catered to address your specific needs.

Once the design process is complete and the project is ready for construction, it is the architect’s responsibility is to act as an agent on behalf of the project owner to assist with bidding and awarding the project to the best contractor. The architect will observe the construction process to ensure the contractor is performing their work in accordance with the contract documents. This includes observation of the contractor’s work, ensuring that acceptable industry specified installation procedures of materials are used on the jobsite, and that overall workmanship is satisfactory to the expectations set forth in the homeowner/contractor agreement.

The architect also reviews scheduled payment applications and lien releases on behalf of the homeowner to insure payment arrangements are in line with the work performed to date by the contractor. The architect will assist you in providing a punch list at the completion of the project so all loose ends are tied up neatly before final payment is released.

A construction project can be a stressful endeavor; however an architect can insure your peace of mind by controlling the budget and maximizing your construction dollar to deliver your vision to reality.

Mikol Maitland is an award-winning licensed architect and lives in Placerville. He is has more than 28 years of architectural design and construction management experience and can be reached by e-mail at, or on Facebook at facebook/archterradesignstudio.





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