An architect is a highly trained specialist in combining
organization, esthetics, and practicality in construction.
He designs and draws up plans for buildings and
supervises construction.
If you’re contemplating any kind of structural change,
an architect can give you an individualized, custom
design and save you time and money in the long run . He
can help you with such things as how to get the most
service out of the floor space, how to introduce natural
light, how much storage to allot, and how to cope with
bearing walls or other obstacles that might stand in the
way of enlarging a bathroom or installing a bath.
You can employ an architect for all or part of a number
of services. Here’s what the architect will do: 1) Discuss
and organize your basic needs and make rough sketches
of practical solutions; 2) Draw up precisely detailed
plans and specifications for bids, obtain the building
permit for a new house (the contractor usually handles
permits in remodeling), and ensure that nothing contradicts
local codes and ordinances ; 3) Supervise the
contractor’s work as it progresses, seeing that the
requisite grades of materials and workmanship go into
the job and that time schedules are met; and 4) Make a
final inspection of the completed work and sign a certificate
of approval when you and he are completely
satisfied . Unless retained on a consultation basis
specifying an hourly fee (the usual procedure in re modeling),
architects generally work on a flat percentage
basis tied in with the total cost of the job.
The best way to choose an architect is to inspect his
work. Many licensed architects belong to a professional
organization, the American Institute of Architects (AlA),
which has a referral service. Look in the Yellow Pages
under ” Architects” for the address and telephone number
of the nearest AlA chapter.
A building designer can be someone who has an architect’s
education and training but hasn’t gone through the
state’s licensing procedure. Or he may be a member of
a relatively new profession of building designers that has
a separate educational program and a professional
organization called the American Institute of Building
Designers. The AIBD can refer you to a building designer
on the basis of your location and the type of job you’re
contemplating. Check your telephone book for the
address of an AIBD office in your area.
A building designer will provide you with preliminary
drawings for a minor fee and a set of plans for a prearranged
price. The designer will make constructive
suggestions concerning your plan and help smooth out
any rough edges.
A draftsman can be either an unlicensed, apprentice
architect or a member of a skilled trade prepared to
draw plans exactly according to your instructions. If you
are experienced in building and know such things as
which electrical conduits to specify, exact requirements
for joists and studding, and the pros and cons of various
fixtures, you could save money by hiring a competent
draftsman at an hourly rate. To locate a draftsman, check
the Yellow Pages under “Building Designers” or
” Draftsmen. “