Opinion: If it requires a permit, it requires an architect

When should you hire an architect? The folks over at Curbed.com, the real estate website, recently posted about the house pictured below. It is buildings like this that make me think, if it requires a permit, it requires an architect.

Seriously.

I am sure that the original owner who designed this house was well intended. There is nothing wrong with lots of windows and wrap around decks. There is nothing wrong with the opulent use of marble and other stones. But there is so much wrong about how it has all be executed in this house. I am not sure what style home he was aiming for with this design, but, I’m pretty sure that if he’d hired an architect to design the house, it would have looked a lot better, and wouldn’t still be on the market.

my eyes

Hiring an architect is not cheap. I’ve said that before here. Every project that comes into my office is a custom solution to a unique set of circumstances for very specific people. Architectural fees range from 8% to 15% of the construction cost depending on the size of a project, the complexity of the problem, the level of service you want from the architect, and other factors, like the location of the project and the number of bureaucratic hoops that need to be jumped to get a building permit.

I understand that if you are looking at spending  $500,000 dollars to build a new house, or $150,000 to add on to or remodel an existing house, the prospect of spending 15 – 25% on professional services and permits may seem outrageous. But, honestly, the value you gain from that additional investment is measurable. A good architect can save you money – in design, in bidding, and during construction. A good design adds value to the completed structure. Good design is a good investment. An architect designed home will generally appreciate in value more, and more quickly, than an non-architect designed house.

That is why I believe that if a project requires a permit, it requires an architect (or other professional).

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