The Role of the Home Architect

by mark on 22/05/2010

Building a New House or House Extension – The Role of the Home Architect

In addition to hiring a home architect for the production of house plans for a home improvement project or a new house, the architect can play a very useful role in protecting the owner from the risks involved in the construction process.

Besides being well-versed in the construction process, an experienced home architect knows the pitfalls of construction and has a working knowledge of property law.

An architect can make critical suggestions for protecting the homeowner from an unscrupulous or inexperienced contractor.

When a home architect is hired to provide services pre-construction, he/she will generally:

  • Visit the site, listen carefully to what the home owner is trying to achieve with a view to representing these wishes in a set of drawings or plans.
  • Once the drawings are prepared and agreed with the home owner, apply for planning permission (if required) and building regulation approval.
  • Following approval of the above, to review material and labour quotations from a building contractor.
  • Make periodic visits to the job to review the progress of the work.

The home architect hired for services during the construction phases will review the requests for payment from the building contractor on completion of each phase. He/she will make sure that what the client is receiving, accords with the house plans.

In addition, the architect can make sure that the contractor is not “front-loading” the schedule of materials and labour costs. ‘Front-loading’ means that the contractor is trying to discretely collect more money up front by stating that items which are to be installed first actually cost more than they do. For example, he will put in more money for the for the footings than the actual cost so that he can put more money in his pocket at the beginning of the job.

By providing these services during the construction phase, the architect will help the homeowner avoid a dispute with the general contractor or his sub-contractors. It is easier to avoid a dispute with contractor than to try to fix a dispute once it starts.

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