As you know, we are working with a client who is building their dream home from the ground up. If you are not familiar with this project, you can catch up by reading THIS first post about the kick off of the project.
To date we have selected the builder, got the survey and were approved to proceed by the local government – not necessarily in that order. My clients also interviewed two architects, both referred by the builder; the third referral never called back so they were an automatic NO.
I wanted to share some things to consider when selecting an architect:
- If they are not a registered architect, the seal must be paid in order to get it from another source.
- How the price for services is calculated. In our instance, the fee is calculated by the square feet of the house under the roof. This means ev.ery.thing. Not just the living areas, or what is air conditioned, but also the garage(s), covered front porch, back patio, etc.
- Change orders need to be managed because they can add up (usually at an hourly rate). How many changes are allowed? The architect NOT selected only allowed one change.
- Communication is key. Why? Because the design must be the style of the client and not that of the architect (this is just like interior design).
- In order to achieve the best success for #3 and #4 above, do your homework and research what you like / don’t like before starting the process; this is best done via magazine pages or a site like Houzz. Things to consider are roof lines, window styles, door styles, exterior finishes, etc. (We ask our clients to do the same when it comes to their interior decorating styles – it lessens the need for mind reading!) If you don’t KNOW what you want, your architect will be able to assist so don’t stress yourself out thinking you need to have everything pulled together in advance.
- Revisions: not all architects work the same, but the architect selected requires confirmation of the floor plan PRIOR to drawing the exterior elevations. Keep in mind that almost all changes will affect the roofline and the exterior walls.
- Oh, and make sure your builder attends your architectural meetings – this project is definitely a team effort!
Based on the places they have lived previously, our clients knew HOW they wanted the house to flow, what they did NOT want included, and the basics of how they would live in the space. They put ALL of their “wants” into the wish list and the architect translated it to a floor plan. We enlarged the initial floor plan at the local print shop (because my eyesight is diminishing with age) and from there, we went to work dissecting the whole house…what was worth the price per square foot, what could be lessened, changed or even eliminated. We discussed their existing furniture and ensured it would fit into their new space accordingly, the layout of their master bathroom and the design selections (read: tile, hardware, and the stand alone tub) that would work best, and of course, the kitchen / dining / living space.
The revisions have been made and approved. The overall footprint of the house shifted just a bit, and a few square feet shaved. When you are building your “forever home”, you don’t want to be throwing money around but you also don’t want to start nickel and dime-ing your selections because 10 years from now you’ll be mad at yourself for being a cheapskate.
Stay tuned, our next step is the approval of the exterior elevations, HOA approval, and the builder is drawing up the final budget. The process of building a custom home is NOT for the faint of heart!