For anyone interested in building their own home, there are basically two routes you can take. You can hire an architect or go directly to a contractor. There are pros and cons to both options, but many people don’t realise that hiring an architect is something the average person can even do.
To begin with, it’s important to know what an architect actually is. Architects are trained and licensed experts in the planning and building of buildings. Many people associate architects with blueprints, and while it’s true that they are involved in the design phase, architects are actually involved in the entire process, from concept to the realisation of that plan. Not all architects work on the entire scope of work, but if you hire an architect to build your house, expect them to bring years of experience to the table.
Your other option, of course, is to go directly to a contractor and skip hiring an architect. The contractor can handle the design and construction process, and they often have a stock box of design elements that are combined together to create finished homes based on a central theme. This is why you see new community developments with houses that all speak the same visual language. They use variations on a central design, folding in different layouts and finishes to create multiple houses in the same community, or sometimes just multiple individual homes across a city or state.
Contractors can certainly build you a home, but we recommend working with an architect whenever possible for the construction or renovation of a house. In short, an architect will give you a home that’s designed around you, not around a cookie cutter template, and their expertise can save you huge amounts of time and money.
First and foremost, architects will produce a better designed home. Because the design is custom, architects make houses that are better developed, more thought-out, and have a better relationship to the site. Dragging and dropping a template house design onto a lot isn’t going to give you a house that works perfectly with the environment and your family. You want your home to be about you, not for the lowest common denominator.
Architects work with you to create a home that functions for you and your life on a personal, deep level. They understand that the layout of your home is as important as the look of it, and will can help you build a house that caters to your specific needs. If you have kids, they can help you create a layout that works for everyone in the family. This goes right down to selecting finishes and trims that are durable and still within budget.
Architects also avoid costly design errors. The wealth of experience brought to the table by an architectural designer can save you money in the long run. Their buildings are more efficient, both in structure, energy usage, and layout, that it can actually save you money in the long run.
Additionally, a good design is far less likely to have architectural flaws that you discover halfway through the construction process. Hiring a designer might be more money up front, but it’s far cheaper than having to start a building project over again due to an issue with the foundation, the zoning, the plumbing, or any of the other ways that a construction project can go sideways due to sloppy planning or design.
Furthermore, a well-designed house that looks beautiful and timeless will hold its resale value for longer. Of course this varies on the house itself, but buying a trendy, off-the-rack house design may only look good for a short time. A designer with a degree and an eye for proportion, balance, and timeless style will give you a house that isn’t likely to look horribly dated in fifteen years.
Where you live is one of the most important decisions you can make, and if you’re lucky enough to get to renovate or build your own place, hiring and architect is the best way to ensure you get the right space for your life!
If you’re thinking of beginning a building project or renovation, we’d love to hear from you! Feel free to drop us a line on our contact page by clicking here.