PLANNING A HOME REMODEL –
ARCHITECT or CUSTOM BUILDER?
One of biggest investments you’ll ever make—and not just in terms of money—is remodeling your home. Whether you are updating your kitchen, remodeling your bathroom, or adding space to improve your family’s lifestyle, you need to invest time up front to make sure you the process goes smoothly.
THE RIGHT PROFESSIONAL HELPS CREATE THE BLUEPRINT FOR YOUR HOME REMODEL
The right professional will help you create the blueprint for a home that shows the world who you really are. But if you’ve never worked with an architect or custom builder before, it can be hard—or nearly impossible even—to know where to start.
Some people look at architects as the only way to go. They imagine that they are the only ones who can design projects and bring in the grand design and beauty to a project. An architect is a designer who can help you envision a house that’s completely unique. It is true that architects are also highly-trained. In Florida, an architect must have
- A minimum five-year Professional Bachelor’s or master’s degree in architecture accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB).
- Proof of passing the Architect Registration Examination (ARE) or a predecessor examination (exempted portions by means of education and/or experience are not acceptable).
- Completion of the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) Intern Development Program (IDP), state intern development program equivalent to Florida’s requirements or complete DBPR AID-4004 Practical Experience Form (IDP Equivalency) certifying two (2) years of licensed practice as an architect.
BUT… AN ARCHITECT DOES NOT NECESSARILY KNOW HOW THINGS WORK IN THE FIELD
Just because architects are trained in design, it does not mean that they understand the building process, especially when it comes to room additions.
Last week I went on a first visit to a potential client for a room addition. Like many people, they thought they needed to go to an architect first because they assumed that builders, like Leading Edge Homes, Inc. are just worker bees and know nothing about design.
They paid several thousand dollars for incomplete plans. Worse yet, the architect’s drawing were not usable. Some of the issues included the heights of windows wouldn’t fit in the wall sizes, the means of egress were incorrect, and the architect did not properly address the joining of the new roof to the existing roof. The architect also did not address the issue of needing to upgrade the smoke detectors to meed the current electrical code; nor did he address the fact that the air conditioner was not large enough to cool the additional space.
ADVANTAGES OF A DESIGN-BUILD CONTRACTOR
A design-build contractor is more than someone who knows how to follow blueprints. Although they do not have a degree in architecture, they may use the same same design software as an architect, including AutoCAD.
Because a design-build contractor works out in the field, it is easy for them to think out of the box and know the limitations and restrictions for completing your home remodel.
Whoever designs your project needs to know the site conditions, how the home is currently built, and how to design your dream around existing conditions.
BEFORE YOU CHOOSE YOUR DESIGNER
Take some time to think about your project and what you really want from a design. How much time do you want to spend in the design process before starting to remodel? Determine what your budget will be to complete the entire project.
Once you’ve decided whether you want to work with a design build contractor like Leading Edge Homes, Inc. or an architect, the next thing to do is find the right individual within that field. Ask friends and neighbors for referrals, visit online portfolios and project sites, and set up informational meetings with a few people.
Regardless of whether you choose to work with a custom builder or an architect, make sure you ask enough questions up front to know you’ve found a person you’ll enjoy working with, because you’ll be spending a lot of time together. Look for someone with good listening skills who shares your vision for what your home should look like. Feel free to ask for references. Then, before you sign on the dotted line, check with your state to ensure your architect or custom builder is licensed in his or her field.
FOR ASSISTANCE IN PLANNING YOUR PROJECT
If you have questions about the design process or a project you are considering, contact your local design-build contractor, Leading Edge Homes. Inc. Want to see some of our work? Visit our website or view our online book.
For all of your new home, home remodeling and inspection needs, contact your local certified “roomologist”, Leading Edge Homes. Inc. at 561-795-2551.
Todd Perry, a State of Florida Certified Building Contractor and president of Leading Edge Homes, Inc., provided this information.