hiring an architect for new home design

Hiring an Architect or Draftsman | New Home Design

Home architects and draftspersons have different qualification criteria. Architects are required to pass a state exam and are licensed, whereas draftspersons may or may not have a drafting degree.

Some municipalities require house blueprints to be drawn by an architect. Draftspersons may be able to draw house blueprints, but an architect will still be required to sign off on their work. The architect is then responsible for the blueprints.

Note: Not all municipalities require architectural drawings.

When planning to design a home, it's best to start by making a call to your municipal home building inspector. Present some idea of what you plan to build so the municipality can give details listing their requirements. This can save you from having to back track.

There are other restrictions besides the municipality, which include land deed and subdivision restrictions. If you need help locating a contact person to inquire about these, the municipal building inspector should be able to advise you.

Selecting a Home Architect / Draftsperson

a. Every professional drawing house blueprints will have a different perspective on an ideal house plan, bedroom and kitchen size, layout, etc. Thus, selecting the right person is a prerequisite.

They must understand what your and your family's wants, needs and desires are for this new home plan. As an example, the professional that mostly designs small house plans is not the person to have to create a luxury home plan. They lack the necessary exposure and experience.

b. A word of caution when obtaining a house plan price. Rule number one. Before any home design work begins, establish the cost and a time for completion, in writing. There are broad variations of fees used in setting prices. Again, get it in writing and be sure you clearly understand your agreement.

Requirements for the professional designing your house plans.

  • The person you interviewed at the preliminary meeting should be the same person who will be doing the drafting.
  • He/she must be a very good communicator.
  • He/she must have the ability to transform words onto paper.
  • He/she must have the ability to develop sq. ft. house plans that will not exceed your budget.
  • He/she must have the ability to estimate building costs for work and items added or deleted during the drafting process.
  • He/she will quote a fixed price for:
    • A completed set of house plans,
    • A per hour fee for changes and
    • Give an approximate completion date (within several weeks)
  • (Option to 6.) Be quoted a cost per hour for the home plans to include an estimated completion time. 'X' amount of hours should be allowed for changes and the per hour fee for time exceeding the quote. In other words, what will be the near cost and completion date for the final 'building inspector' approved plans.
  • Establish the number of progress meetings to be included in the quoted price and a timetable for completion of the house plans.
  • Heed caution to signing an open ended agreement. (Per hour fee)

c. Begin you're design process by accumulating ideas, house floor plans, interior and exterior designs, products and materials. (Visit our 'Building Marketplace' with nearly 400 building related sites.) Include your own sketches, amenities, etc. to assist in presenting your thoughts and ideas to the design person. It's important that your line of thinking and lifestyle are understood.

Note: Keep all evaluation options open until you've interviewed several persons before committing to an agreement. Selecting the design professional is equally as important as selecting your builder.

d. To maintain your budget, your designer must be well-informed with per square foot costs for the price range of your home and your life style. If not, you'll end up with house plans that have the greatest home design, incorporating every idea on your wish list, but you won't be able to afford it. Our guidebook will provide you with all the vital points to circumvent this situation.

The 'Our Home Building Guide' costs less than hour of drafting time, with nearly the same fee to have your drafting agreement reviewed. (Before you sign it.)

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