How to Find an Architect for a Remodel: The Complete Guide
If you are planning a home remodel, working with a professional architect is an excellent way to ensure your remodel project goes according to plan.
When searching for an architect, it is crucial to know what services an architect offers and what to look for in an architect. Additionally, you should always go into an architectural consultation prepared. It is essential to determine your own needs as well, such as budget and timeframe.
In this complete guide, we will guide you through finding the perfect architect for your remodel project. Keep reading to learn about planning your remodel, interviewing an architect, and more!
Why You Should Work with an Architect for Your Remodel Project
As you work to plan your remodeling project, you may be torn between handling the project on your own or hiring professionals, such as an architect.
Hiring an architect for your remodeling project may seem expensive at first, but it can ultimately be a highly advantageous choice. This is especially true if the scope of your project is extensive and involves many elements, from architectural design to construction and material installment.
Architects can provide a wide variety of essential remodeling services, including:
One of the most important services an architect can offer you is blueprint design. With a professionally-designed blueprint, not only will your remodel have a clean and thoughtful finish but it will also account for crucial considerations such as floor plan development and detailing for specific rooms.
Even if you decide to ultimately go with a different construction crew than the one sourced by an architect, working with a professional architect to develop a blueprint design is incredibly helpful.
A good blueprint design will include:
- Floor Plans: First and foremost, an architectural blueprint should always include floor plans for the floors you plan to have remodeled. Even if you only plan to remodel one room, having a full floor plan will help the architect and construction crew to understand what other structural elements are present and what they will need to work around.
- Vertical Cross-Sections: Vertical cross-sections refer to the various changes in elevation found around your home, such as raised floors. Knowing where these elevation changes are is crucial for creating an accurate and effective remodel plan.
- Detailed Images: Oftentimes, there will be certain components to a structure that are too complex to accurately represent in a standard blueprint. As such, a good architect will include detailed images attached to the blueprint to depict the more complicated structural elements, such as archways, large windows, and more.
Schematics go hand-in-hand with blueprints when it comes to architectural planning and design.
Sometimes an architect will include a schematic design within a blueprint. Generally, however, you will want to work with an architect that will develop a schematic design that is separate from the main blueprint. This will ensure even the smallest technical needs of your home are met.
While blueprints offer a more polished structural design, schematics will often include a more basic layout — the main goal of the schematic is not to determine the final design of a room or home but instead to map out the locations of necessary building code elements.
In many cases, an architect may develop two different schematics: one representing the current layout of the building code elements and one depicting the future layout of these elements.
These building code elements include:
- HVAC systems (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning)
- Electrical systems
- Structural and mechanical building systems
- Interior and exterior finishes
Many architects will often include a breakdown of the construction materials needed along with a schematic design as well.
Carrying out a remodeling project requires you to work with many different types of professionals, including:
- Material suppliers
- Construction crews
- Electricians and plumbers
- Interior designers
- Structural engineers
To get the most out of your partnership with an architect, it is often considered beneficial to work with a professional who can not only source the above professionals for you but also negotiate contracts.
This way, you can communicate your design, construction, and budget needs to only the architect, who will then act as an intermediary between you and the rest of your remodeling team. Having an architect handle your contract negotiations can also help you get the best deals and prices, as an architect will be more knowledgeable of industry standards and what is or is not fair.
Construction & Project Management
Along with contract negotiation, some architects may even offer full construction and project management services. When you select these types of services, this means you will have the support of your chosen architect through every step of the process to help guide and oversee the project.
Aside from simply sourcing the right professionals and negotiating the best possible contracts, working with an architect for full project management can help with:
- Proper Documentation: With full project management services from an architect you will receive more than just blueprints and schematics. You can rest easy knowing your architect will handle all the necessary documentation, including building permits and construction invoices.
- Building Code & Inspections: Anytime you begin a new construction project, one of the most crucial considerations is building code and inspections. With the right architectural partner, you will not need to worry about this step of the process, as the architect will make sure all elements of your project are up to code and contact an inspector when the building is ready.
- Financing: Many full-service architects will offer either their own in-house financing options or help you find third-party financing from financial institutions or construction companies. Oftentimes, an architect may even have professional partnerships with specific companies to help secure various deals for your project in terms of pricing and financing.
- Administration: Finally, when you work with an architect that offers full project and construction management services, that architect will handle all administrative issues associated with the project. This can include answering contractor questions about blueprints and schematics, providing additional details or drawings, redesigning specific elements, and resolving design or construction issues as they arise.
What to Look for in an Architect
Though you may get lucky and love the first architect you come across, it is important to still seek out other architects to compare your chosen professional to. By consulting with more than one architect, you can get a better idea of what the building and cost standards are typical in your local area.
Plus, meeting with multiple architects can give you a better sense of what design styles are out there for you to choose from. As a result, you may even discover new styles and services you had not even considered needing.
During an interview or consultation process, some of the key factors to ask a potential architect about include:
Qualifications & Experience
As you search for your ideal architect, one critical factor to pay close attention to is what qualifications the architect possesses and how much experience they have with projects similar to yours.
In general, a quality architect will hold the following qualifications:
- College Degree: The most basic qualification that an architect should possess is either a two or four-year degree (an Associate or Bachelor’s degree) from an accredited institution.
- Architectural License: In all 50 states of the U.S., architects are required to hold an architectural license to practice their craft professionally. Qualifications for licensure vary in each state but almost always include requirements for education, experience, examination, and registration.
- Additional Certifications: In addition to the required education and licensure needed by a professional architect, you should also look for an architect with specialized certifications. For example, if you plan on remodeling a kitchen to include all wood flooring and cabinets, finding an architect certified in woodworking design can be highly advantageous
Portfolio & Design Philosophy
For every architect you approach about your project, you should always request to see their portfolio and ask about their design philosophy.
A strong architect’s portfolio should include their best and most recent work to showcase what they are capable of. It should include blueprints and schematics, as well as real-life photographs to illustrate the final results achieved in a given project.
By reviewing an architect’s portfolio, you can determine if their design style matches your needs.
As for the architect’s design philosophy, this refers to the specific practices and areas of focus an architect maintains throughout their body of work. For instance, if an architect is committed to sustainability, their design philosophy may include using refurbished or recycled construction materials.
Finding an architect whose design philosophy matches your own values helps to guarantee you get exactly what you want out of your remodeling project.
It probably goes without saying, but you should always ask about an architect’s pricing model before signing any sort of formal project.
Some architects may offer set rates, while others may be open to negotiation. The key to determining whether or not an architect’s pricing is fair is to look at how transparent the price breakdown is. If there are high costs that cannot be clearly explained, it may be best to move on to other prospects.
Final Thoughts: How to Plan for an Architect
Now that you know what services an architect offers and what to look for in an architect, let’s conclude this guide by going over how to plan for your partnership with your chosen architect.
Here are 5 key planning steps to complete before approaching an architect about a remodel project:
- Create a Budget: You should always have a clear idea of what your budgetary restrictions are before approaching an architect. If your budget is flexible, then determine a low and high budget. The low budget is the amount you are most comfortable with spending, while the high budget is the absolute maximum you can spend. Ideally, you should find an architect that is willing to discuss both budgets during consultation.
- Understand the Scope of Your Project: Are you planning a full interior and exterior remodel of your home, or are you only planning on remodeling one or two rooms? Knowing the scope of your project will make it easier to communicate your needs to an architect when you begin the consultation process.
- Determine Your Timeframe: Depending on how soon you need your remodel complete can narrow the pool of architects you can choose from. Without a set timeframe that you can communicate to potential architects, you may end up with a project that gets drawn out way past when you would like it to be completed.
- Know What You Want: When looking for the right architect, it can be helpful to first do some initial research into different design styles and philosophies. This will help you determine exactly what you want out of your remodel and find the right architect that can achieve it.
- Find Examples: It’s always a good idea to have examples to present to an architect of different structural designs and design elements that you like. Not only will this help you communicate your ideas better but it will also give the architect a strong visual reference to go off of when they begin the design process.
Above all else, you want to find an architect that is flexible and willing to work within your boundaries.
With all that said and done, here is a list of our favorite architects to work with, we wish you the best of luck in finding the perfect architect for your remodel!
Exterio Design – Katia Goffin Gardens