Q. What is an architect? A. An architect is a licensed professional who has earned a Bachelor or Master of Architecture from an accredited program, undergone a minimum 3 year internship and successfully passed all the national architectural Board exams, known as the A.R.E. All architects must be licensed from the State in which they are practicing and fulfill continuing education each year to maintain their license. By penalty of law, no person may use the title of “architect” unless they have met all of these requirements
Q. Am I required to use an architect*? A. Most residential projects in N.C. do not require an architect. *Most all commercial projects in N.C. require an architect. Check with your local jurisdiction (or contact me) to find out when you are exempt from using an architect for commercial projects.
Q. Don’t some General Contractors (G.C.) provide drawings as part of their service? A. In some circumstances a G.C. is the right choice when you need drawings to obtain a building permit. There are many reputable G.C.’s in N.C. that are more than capable of translating your construction needs into a set of permit drawings.
Q. Why hire an architect? A. Many times clients know their needs but do not have a grasp on how to formulate those needs into a cohesive design. Architects are the only professionals with the education, training, experience and vision to guide you through the entire design and construction process.
Q. What does an architect charge? A. The upfront costs of an architect can sometimes feel overwhelming, especially to those who have never worked with a design professional before. Architect’s fees vary, but you should expect the cost to be anywhere from 3% to 7% of your total construction budget depending on the complexity of the design, structure and existing conditions.
Q. Is an architect’s fee a justifiable expense for my project? A. There are many arguments in favor of hiring an architect. Real Estate agents will tell you that you can expect a better return on your investment when you employ a design professional. Many contractors will tell you that working from a professionally prepared set of construction documents lowers their construction costs and gets the total job done quicker. Experienced clients will tell you that an architect saves money over the lifetime of a building due to the well-educated choices in materials, equipment and most up-to-date building methods. And your utility providers will tell you that buildings designed by architects generally have lower power and water demands because of the architect’s ongoing ethical code of sustainable building practices.
Q. How do I know if I want to hire an architect for my project? A. Architects generally enjoy answering questions and most offer consultation services to help you figure out what your next step should be. Consultation costs are usually based on the architect’s hourly fee and can be extremely helpful in steering you in the right direction, whether that be to employ an architect or to take your idea directly to a General Contractor.