The Value Of Architecture
The Value Of Architecture
The Value of Architecture
Few people realize the complications that can arise throughout the building process – that is until they find themselves lost in the maze of design options, building codes, zoning laws, contractors, etc. No two building projects are exactly alike, so there is no single, clear-cut path to follow. An architect is the one professional who has the education, training, experience, and vision to guide you through the entire design and construction process, from helping you define what you want to build to helping you get the most for your construction dollar.
Architects see the big picture. They don’t just design four walls and a roof – they create environments, interiors and exteriors that satisfy functional needs and are exciting spaces where we work and live.
First, you should start thinking about the design and functionality of your home/space. Carefully think about your building needs and goals. Do you need more space? What activities will be housed in the space? How much can you spend on the project? How will you finance it? Where will it be located? Don’t worry if you don’t have all the answers. The architect can help you clarify your goals, if necessary.
This may be some of the most significant “brainstorming” you’ll do in the beginning, as it is said that the average person spends about 87% of their lifetime indoors, according to the EPA. This meaning that the majority of your time and memories made will be within the walls of the place you call home. With this in mind, it is important that this space reflects the lifestyle, growth, and needs you have in mind. Your lifestyle offers insight that help architects design spaces that reflect how you want to live, tying all of the details together into a package.
How Do You Find the Right Architect?
Each architect has his or her own style, approach to design, and methods of work. So, it’s important to find an architect who understands your style and needs. It is also important to see beyond the bottom line and look for the overall value the architect brings to your project. All architects can design and prepare drawings, but be sure to look for one who goes beyond the standard, one who manages your experience and guides you through a potentially stressful process – that is the service that not all architects can provide but will make all the difference.
A Little Homework Goes a Long Way
Aside from the obvious emphasis on design, architects can add a lot of value to your project. They can find ways of maximizing space and energy efficiency, select materials with high-performance ratings etc.
Design and construction projects involve several steps. Typically, projects go through the following six phases. However, on some projects, several of these steps may be combined or there may be additional ones.
STEP 1: Programming/Deciding What to Build
The homeowner and architect discuss the requirements for the project (how many rooms, the function of the spaces, etc.), testing the fit between the owner’s needs, wants, and budget.
STEP 2: Schematic Design/Rough Sketches
The architect prepares a series of rough sketches, known as schematic design, which show the general arrangement of rooms and of the site. Some architects also prepare models to help visualize the project. The homeowner approves these sketches before proceeding to the next phase.
STEP 3: Design Development/ Refining the Design
The architect prepares more detailed drawings to illustrate other aspects of the proposed design. Floor plans show all the rooms in correct size and shape. Outline specifications are prepared, listing the major materials and room finishes.
STEP 4: Preparation of Construction Documents
Once the homeowner has approved the design, the architect prepares detailed drawings and specifications, which the contractor will use to establish actual construction cost and build the project. These drawings and specifications become part of the building contract.
STEP 5: Hiring the Contractor
The homeowner selects and hires the contractor. The architect may be willing to make some recommendations. In many cases, homeowners choose from among several contractors they’ve asked to submit bids on the job. The architect can help you prepare bidding documents as well as invitations to bid and instructions to bidders.
STEP 6: Construction Administration
While the contractor will physically build the home or building, the architect can assist in making sure that the project is built according to the plans and specifications originally designed.