WHAT IS AN ARCHITECT?
An architect is a licensed professional, with a minimum 5 years college degree, trained in architectural design, building construction technology, construction administration, code and zoning compliance, and contract administration. Architects serve as the client’s professional consultant during the design and construction process. Architects coordinate and manage other professionals involved in the work.
WHEN SHOULD AN ARCHITECT BE HIRED?
The earlier an architect is hired, the earlier they can help you plan your project and anticipate design and construction problems. It is especially helpful you hire an architect to help you with programming and site selection at the very start of any building project, large or small.
Programming – Help you translate your needs and desires into an architectural scope of work
Conceptual Design – develop the scope of work into various alternative plans and sketches
Design Development – develop preliminary construction drawings for use in cost estimating; assist in selection of general contractor
Construction Documents – produce precise drawings for use by contractor, assist with final estimate and contract negotiation with contractor; filing for building permit;
Construction Oversight – periodic visits to site during construction, report on progress, assist owner with and/or approve contractor’s invoices
HOW TO FIND AND CHOOSE AN ARCHITECT?
Word of Mouth, speak to clients
Western Massachusetts chapter of the American Institute of Architects – www.wmaia.org
Expertise and values match your needs
See actual work
HOW DO YOU COMPENSATE AN ARCHITECT FOR THEIR SERVICES?
Architects are normally paid in one of three ways, based on a written and signed contract clearly spelling out complete scope of services
- a percentage of the total construction costs
- an hourly fee plus expenses
- a “lump sum” fee – you and the architect agree upon the fee method and conditions before work begins
The “architectural” fee usually includes compensation for structural, mechanical, and electrical engineering consultants if they are needed. Additional fees are required for additional engineering disciplines such as civil engineering, geotechnical engineering, acoustics, interior design, lighting design, site surveying, and landscape design.
- Property Selection
- Special permits and variances
- Interior Design
- 3D computer animations and renderings
The Not So Big House – Susan Susanka, Tauton Press
American Institute of Architects – www.aia.org
CET – Center for Ecological Technology www.cetonline.org
Building Green – www.buildinggreen.com