Education, licensure, legal responsibility, professional responsibility and construction knowledge; are minimum requirements of an architect. A skillful designer can create a beautiful space, embellish with stunning finishes and comfort. But a ‘designer’ has no legal obligation to the structural and design integrity of your home. An architect is schooled in the principals of structure, seismic loads, safety, building codes, building techniques, grading, drainage, energy strategies and yes. . . design; design that should be a higher level of response to enhance your existing home or your new home.
Our architectural firm designs floor plans that respond to solar axis, and natural light and ventilation. In other words; the sun should come up in the morning in your breakfast room, not your closet. And sunset should be enjoyed in your evening spaces, not your garage. All homes, whether interior lots, corner lots or expansive properties have natural amenities that should be used to enhance your interior living experience. Our construction documents are highly detailed and include all elements of the completed home; appliances, lighting design, plumbing fixtures, kitchen design, ceiling design, architectural and structural details so that an experienced general contractor can bid and build with few questions and a price that reflects the end product; not a flood of extras for things not included. An architect should help you find and select a qualified builder, help negotiate your construction costs and be your advocate throughout construction.
Architect’s are licensed by the State, they must take and pass a series of rigorous tests with many parts. In California architects are now required to undergo a minimum of two years apprenticeship under the guidance of a licensed architect before they can begin testing. Once they earn their license they are required to maintain their license in good standing, take continuing education courses and remain current on state of the art construction techniques. If they are found to have failures or construction deficiencies in their projects they may lose their license. No such requirements exist for designers. Architects are more expensive than designers for all these reasons and the extra cost is realized in increased value, better construction, and greater living pleasure.
Architects find value in working with good designers who help enhance the client’s interiors, finish selections, furnishings and comfort. When architects and designers team together the result can be magical and seamless for the owner. When designers regard themselves as architects - be weary. Designers cannot submit plans to any city in California; only engineers and architects can because both are responsible for health and safety of the occupants . . . designers are not. Architects and engineers can secure Professional Liability insurance to protect you, designers cannot.
The fact is, you will be spending considerable money on your new home or your remodel. The quality and finished pleasure you have in your home can be greatly enhanced by the knowledge and skill of a professional architect, your investment is enhanced by the results. And it goes without saying . . . . hire an architect experienced in the type of work you want . . . the more experienced, the better for you.