What Does an Architect Do?
An Architect is someone who designs the desired building project. He can simply design and handover the drawings to you or the contractor or supervise the entire project There are number of processes involved while designing a building namely.
He gathers information from client about building ideas; budget etc. does a site analysis and prepares a building program and concept design with couple of option.
After the preliminary design the design is developed through basic floor plans and some interior, exterior details and specifications are given. Generally a set of walk through and 3D model is made.
These include set of drawings with all details and written specification to obtain bids from contractors and approval from the authorities. More detailed drawings are given for certain more tricky or important areas.
Bidding and Negotiation:
The architect helps you select the appropriate contractor for the job keeping in mind his the scale of project, quality of work, cost and schedule. However owner of the building makes the choice.
It’s an architect’s job is to make sure that the builder follows the plans and specifications. He is also liable to prepare additional drawing if required, approve and process contractor’s fee, changes in plans and determining dispute charges in case such situation may arise.
Architectural fees and options
You can hire architect depending on services required. Most architects work on hourly rates or fixed percentage of 5%-15% of construction cost of a new project and 15%-20% for remodeling. Rates will vary depending upon size of firm, individual practice and your ability to negotiate.
Since most of the contractors have good knowledge about construction practice you can hire the architect only for the preliminary design unless you want to build an architectural marvel. In such cases the architect will have no responsibility as to what the contractor has made out of his concept.
When working with architects and contractors one should be clear about certain issues that can arise at time of a conflict.
In a standard contract the architect holds the copyright to the floor plans whereas the client just has a mere copy of it. In case the architect provides with only preliminary design, the client has the right to make desired changes.
The architect is liable for any mistakes made in the design document whereas if contractor makes a construction change or mistake it is not the responsibility of architect even though he supervises
Hiring the right architect
Depending upon your needs hire an architect that best suits it. Look for their portfolios and websites and go through their work in order to have a better understanding of them. You should also firsthand discuss cost issue with the architect so that he design accordingly which generally is not their priority. Select an architect who you feel comfortable working with, ask for reference and go through them. Hiring an architect may increase or decrease your cost of construction in one or the other way but will definitely give you better design solution and a good house to live in.