Hire an Architect
An architect is an asset to any project requiring building a new structure or fundamentally altering a current structure. An architect can turn your vision into an actual plan and blueprint it for a builder to work from. They are not only skilled at building engineering, structural and spatial relationships and planning, but they also are familiar with applicable building codes and zoning regulations. They work as your agent and can help you in bid evaluation and selecting a contractor.
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How do I know I need an architect?
If you answer yes to any of the following questions below, then you may need to hire an architect:
Do you need a blueprint for bank financing, construction requirements or subcontractors to complete your project?
Do you require a permit for your project?
Do you need help designing your room/house?
Do specific areas of your project require an architect's seal?
Selecting an architect
He or she should show genuine enthusiasm for your project. An equally important consideration is simply how well you two get along. Competence, interest and chemistry are major considerations in making the final selection. Determine the size and scope of your project. You may wish to consult a contractor first to discuss cost, feasibility and design coordination. Select two or more firms and ask for references from previous jobs similar to yours. Verify their expertise in your type of project and their ability to complete projects on time and on budget. A license is required in many states to work as an architect. A quick call to your local building department will help you confirm that the architect that you are about to hire has an active license.
As you get your bids, ask for everything to be in writing and understand the terms and conditions of the work to be done. See what kinds of warranties are offered and know what is included in the price of the estimate.