You’re about to take on a building design or renovation project, and you’ve decided to hire professional help. Maybe you are still determining whether you should work with an architect or a designer, or perhaps you’ve already decided. Either way, knowing what to expect from an architect will help you solidify that decision.
THE INITIAL CONSULTATION
During this phone call or in-person meeting, you will get a sense of the architect’s personality and communication style. Do they understand your vision for the building? Are you a fan of their previous work? The initial consultation is crucial for determining whether the architect is a good match for your project, so it’s a good idea to ask a few questions about their portfolio and project experience.
Treat this conversation as an interview, but don’t forget that this first meeting is essential for the architect, too. The more details you can supply upfront, the more aligned their proposal will be with your goals.
Another good reason to be detailed in this initial consultation is that it is the only way for an architect to estimate the price of a project accurately. If you’re like most people, the total cost of construction is a significant, if not the greatest, concern you have. If your architect knows how much you are comfortable spending, they can keep that in mind as they draft the proposal. The first conversation is the perfect time to discuss an ideal budget and timeline for your project.
How much does it cost to hire an architect?
Speaking of construction expenses; you might be wondering how much it costs to hire an architect to design the building in the first place. Maybe you’ve even looked around online, but your search came up short. The reason for that is some architects charge hourly, but most charge a percentage of the completed project’s cost (or a combination of both).
What if you don’t yet know the full scope of the project? That’s where our experience comes in. When you book a consultation with Uncommon Architects, we will be sure to ask plenty of questions about the future building. With an understanding of its purpose, size, location, your ideal timeline, and budget, we will give you an estimate based on the actual work we anticipate.
After the consultation, your architect will put together a proposal based on the information you gave them. This is your chance to see whether they understood your vision and if you like the direction they are taking the design.
The proposal should be clear and easy to understand. At Uncommon Architects, we break it down into the phases of work to help our clients visualize not only what their building will look like, but also the step by step process of how we are going to get to the finish line.
Our proposals typically include some additional options, allowing our clients to choose the pieces of the design that best fit their needs.
HIRING THE ARCHITECT
If you like the proposal presented to you, a contract will be prepared, signed, and the architect will get to work.
This is when the nitty-gritty pieces of the process take place, the things that made you want or need to hire an architect in the first place. The proposal showed you the face of the building and gave you a visualization of how the final product will look. Now, though, your architect is focused on the bones: the schematic design. This more detailed design includes figuring out how the structure will be supported, where electrical wires and pipes will run, and how to make the building as environmentally friendly as possible. At the end of this process, you will have a plan for a building that is not only beautifully crafted but also functional, safe, and energy-efficient.
How long does it take to get through the architectural design process?
After finalizing the schematic design, your architect will draw up the plans for construction. Completing Construction Documents can take a few weeks to a few months depending on the size and scope of the project. During this time, the architect works with a team of professionals to complete all the drawings required for a building permit. This process also helps the contractor price and build the building or space.
Certain building permits will be needed, which can be obtained by your architect as well. This process can take a few weeks, depending on location and type of building. Once the permits are established, the real fun begins: your building is ready for construction!
Project management is a key piece of what an architect does. The architect will work closely with your contractor, who you may select. If you do not already have someone in mind for the job and need a recommendation for high-quality, reliable contractors, please reach out. We know several whom we would love to connect you with!
When construction begins, your architect will take care of Construction Administration, a fancy term for checking in on the construction team. You can expect your architect to pop in at the construction site often, even weekly, to observe the project’s progress. When they visit, they will review the work for compliance with the drawings and design, as well as local building codes. During this process, the architect often represents the owner and works with the construction team when the inevitable ‘bumps’ during the construction process arise. Doing so helps ensure local and national building codes will be met, protecting the health, safety, and well-being of anyone who enters the completed building and your project is built the way you and the design team intended.
Ready to get started?
We would love to speak with you about your next project! Contact our team to schedule a consultation today.