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75: When Do I REALLY Need an Architect?: If you are about to start a home renovation project, how do you know who to call? Do you REALLY need an Architect? Laura and Holly present a useful checklist of questions to help you decide whether you need a contractor, an interior designer,

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If you are about to start a home renovation project, how do you know who to call? Do you REALLY need an Architect? Laura and Holly present a useful checklist of questions to help you decide whether you need a contractor, an interior designer, an architect, or all three.

See photos and full show notes at www.hpdarch.com/ahh75.
in this episode
In Episode 75 of The Architecture Happy Hour Podcast, here's what we learned:
Check if you need a building permit

Different communities have different requirements for when you need a building permit.
Check with your city to see what is required to get a permit. Often they will want drawings (floor plans, elevations, sections, site plan, framing and foundation plans, etc.). They may stipulate if there needs to be an architect or structural engineer involved.
Search on your city’s official website under “building inspection” or “building permit”.  There will be lists that tell you when a permit is required and what is needed.

When you need a Contractor

Is the work a repair to existing plumbing, electrical, water heater, replacing a roof, changing out a garage door, etc.?
Are you replacing cabinets but keeping all the light fixtures, appliances, electrical outlets in the same place?
Do you want to pick out all your own cabinets, flooring, tile, appliances, paint colors, plumbing fixtures, etc?
Are you creating something that is not going to aesthetically affect the value of the house?

Don’t take a chance on the appearance of your house if you are not sure your contractor has design chops. Some contractors are good with building, but terrible at designing.


Are you working with an experienced contractor who has access to an architect or draftsman and you know their work?

 When you need an Interior Designer

Are you just wanting to freshen and update your interior? New furniture, paint colors, flooring, carpet, tile, fixtures, cabinets?
Are you tired of the lighting in your home and want to make improvements?
Are you ready to remodel your master bathroom and need help picking tile and plumbing fixtures?
If you start a project with just finishes in mind and then it grows to involve removing walls, adding an addition, moving windows (needing exterior elevations) etc. you might need to consult an architect to make more detailed plans.

When you need an Architect

Does the project involve moving or removing walls, adding on an addition, raising the roof (which can mean coordinating with a structural engineer)?
In general if the exterior of your house is being touched (adding a porch, moving windows or doors, building an outdoor kitchen, etc) you will need accurate measured drawings.
Are you working in a historic district, conservation district, or area that requires review at the city or state level?
Will you be moving plumbing, electrical, or major HVAC that will require inspections by the city building inspector?
Are you making changes that are intended to increase the value of the home for resale or to improve your personal lifestyle and enjoyment of the home?
Do you know what bothers you about your home but have no idea how to fix it? You need the design experience of an architect. Not just someone who can build you something.
Is the budget more that 10% of the value of the house? Example: $400,000 house, a remodel of more than $40,000… you should probably consult an architect. It’s enough at stake that you want someone who’s got your back.

 
notable and shareable take aways
When we’ve received calls from home owners who regretted the decision to not call an architect... a.k.a. Rescue Architecture
Problems we've seen arise out of homeowners trying to take shortcuts:

Asking an unskilled draftsman to design a new house.

The stairs didn’t go all the way to the 2nd floor
The first and second floor didn't stack on top of each other
The bathrooms didn’t function

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