How Involved Should the Architect Be in Building Your New Home?

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Professional engineer architect worker with protective helmet and blueprints paper at house building construction site background

You have always dreamed about building your own home. The time has finally come, so you begin exploring your options. One option is to work with a builder already developing new planned communities in your area. You get to pick one of the basic plans the developer has an offer. If none of them suit you, there is another option: purchasing a separate piece of land, hiring an architect, and building exactly what you want from scratch.

Architects will be involved regardless of your choice. The main difference is the extent to which that involvement goes. Under the planned community model, an architect is hired to create the basic plans being offered by the builder. That’s it. The builder handles everything else from there, including modifications and upgrades.

Under the independent model, the architect is much more involved. How involved should the architect be? That is ultimately up to you. There is no template for this sort of thing. You can utilize an architect to design the home and nothing else. On the other hand, you could involve your architect in every aspect of the build.

  • Designing Your Home

In a residential setting, the primary task of the architect is to design the home. Design covers everything from land-use to structural integrity to code compliance. Architects draw up plans that have to be approved by both the client and local authorities. Those plans are then used by the builder to turn raw materials into a finished home.

Note that home design involves both mechanics and aesthetics. The shell of a new home has to be structurally sound and fully functional. What cannot be seen by the naked eye still has to meet codes and standards. What can be seen by the naked eye, on both the interior and exterior, has to be functional and aesthetically pleasing.

  • Interior Design

There are times when it makes sense to have the architect handle interior design as well. For example, you might be working with Sparano + Mooney to build your dream vacation home in Park City, Utah. Because Sparano + Mooney specializes in mountain modern architecture, they are the ideal candidates to design all of the interior spaces.

On the other hand, there are times when hiring a separate interior designer is the way to go. You might be happy with the architect you have chosen, but that architect may not demonstrate competence in the type of interior design you prefer.

  • Hiring the Builder

When building a custom home independent from a planned community, one school of thought is to utilize your architect’s expertise in hiring the builder. Local architects tend to have quite a bit of knowledge about local building contractors. They might even have a preference of builders they trust to implement their designs properly.

Whether or not you want your architect to have this much influence is up to you. However, there is a lot to be said about involving the architect in the builder selection process.

  • Overseeing the Build

Maximum architect involvement would mean your architect actually overseeing every aspect of the build. This could be a bit dangerous when architects and builders don’t see eye to eye. It is less of a problem when an architect participates in selecting the builder.

Architects play a vital role in designing and building custom homes. Whether it is a vacation home in Park City or a primary residence in Salt Lake City, architects are involved to at least some degree. You may prefer minimal involvement or include your architect in every aspect of the build. It is your choice.