Depending on your project you may or may not be required to hire an architect. In the city of New Orleans, any project that is commercial in nature or any structural renovation will require that an Architect or Engineer prepare and stamp drawings for your project. While it is true that a non-structural renovation does not require architectural services, hiring an architect will make your building project more efficient and an architect will create value in excess of what you pay them.
1. Architects don’t see problems, they see design opportunities in need of creative solutions
Site, budget, building code, zoning, base flood elevation and all the many other considerations will inform a project’s design. It can be overwhelming for a client to try and balance all the project requirements with their desires. Architects see these conflicts and issues as design opportunities. These constraints inform the project and architects are trained to find solutions to these issues. Architects are sometimes stereotyped as ego driven dreamers that ignore client concerns and blow budgets. At Adamick Architecture, we believe in client driven design and that the client is the most important person in the design team. A good architect will listen, work with you and design for you. That is why at the beginning of projects, architects sit down with clients and ask them how they see the space being used, because in the end, it isn’t a building, it is your home, investment, or workplace.
2. Architects are visual problem solvers
Clients can always verbally describe their goals for a project, but it may be difficult for some to visually describe them. Additionally, it can be difficult to understand a three dimensional spaces’s limitations and qualities. This is an especially true in renovations and rehabilitation projects, where some part of the project already exists and must be modified.
Architectural design is the process that translates the clients ideas and goals into a physical structure. An architect will guide you through the design process, so that what is finished is exactly what you want. An architect will also have experience of how a built space will feel and be able to explain this to the client. An architect has been trained to understand and think about projects in three dimensions. They are able to take a client’s verbal description and translate it into documents that allow for the construction of complex spaces. They also have a series of tools that help to allow the client to understand the project and enhance its design.
This may not sound like much, but it is helpful when it comes to re-imagining buildings and communicating design intent. Moving a wall is not just moving a wall, it can affect the interior space, exterior elevations, roof plane, adjacent floors, the location of plumbing, and many other aspects of the structure. Architects understand that altering one component of a building may have ramifications on other aspects of the design. Architects also consider the effects these changes have with regard to the site, budget, zoning, and code. They deal in the minutiae of the smaller components that seem trivial but can cause major inconveniences or expensive fixes if a space were constructed improperly. Many of these details can be difficult to understand; especially if it is not something in which one has experience or training.
3. Architects protect your investment
Anybody can be an architect, but it takes a long time and a lot of experience. An architect must have a degree from an accredited university then work under a licensed architect through the NCARB (National Council of Architectural Registration Boards) intern program that requires 3,740 hours of documented experience in different categories of the building industry. Finally, the intern architect must pass seven exams before they can apply for their license and become an architect. The goal of this process is to ” protect the public health, safety, and welfare by leading the regulation of the practice of architecture through the development and application of standards for licensure and credentialing of architects. NCARB is responsible for establishing, interpreting and enforcing national standards for architectural licensure.” This means that all architects are trained and experienced in the field. A building project is always a large investment and it is very important to work with a professional to make sure that this investment is protected.
4. Architects save money
Many think architects are too expensive. However, architectural services should be looked at as an initial investment in the project that will actually create value. Architects think about the entire project and anticipate problems before they happen. This avoids errors which are costly to fix mid construction. An architect can also offer advice that will increase the value of the design. Professional design results in a better project because problems are avoided and issues are quickly resolved. Architects think about the projects in its entirety resulting in a cohesive finished product.
Architects also work to negotiate your construction contract. We ensure that all the contractors bidding on your project are bidding appropriately and are not missing or misrepresenting their costs. Architects also manage the payments to the contractor to ensure that payments do not get ahead during construction. Adamick Architecture also has relationships with engineers, surveying companies, and other consultants in the building industry that translate to savings for our clients.
Tax Credits are a great way to get recoup some of the money spent on renovations and rehabilitation. An architect can guide you through the process to ensure that your building qualifies for tax credits, and the best part is that Architectural Services are a qualifying expense for Tax Credits.
5. Architects do more than design
It takes more than a good design to have a good building. It takes a team. Architects don’t just help find contractors and engineers, they deal with city officials, community groups, state and city officials, and more. When you hire an architect you are not just hiring someone to design a space, you are hiring someone to get you through the process of erecting a structure. We have worked extensively with New Orleans City Planning and Zoning Offices, the State Fire Marshal, the Historic District Landmarks Commission, the State Historic Preservation Office, New Orleans City Council among many others. We are on a first name basis with many of these officials. These relationships allow us to move quickly through the permitting process.
6. An architect is your advocate
An architect will represent your best interests throughout the building process. Having an experienced person on call can reduce stress and make projects move faster. An architect acts as the clients representative in bid negotiation and in construction management. These services save money and ensure that building is built correctly.
Finding an architect is the first step towards building a good team to build your project. It is important to find someone you can work with and can trust. Find a design professional who fits your needs, who listens to you and who has the experience to see your project through to completion.