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Why use an architect?

What Architects Do?

For some projects, architects wear many hats. They may create the design, do the drafting, select the materials and supervise the entire work process. Ideally, your architect will visit your building site and observe the direction of the sun, the placement of trees, and the location of the best views.These services will add 8% to 12% to the final cost of building your home.

For other projects, the architect’s role may be limited to drafting the blueprints. If you can find stock blueprints similar to your own dream house, you may be able to hire an architect to make alterations. Changing an existing plan is always less expensive than designing a house from scratch.

Before drafting a design, a good architect will spend time talking with you and other members of your family.

Why Use One?

Even if you are working within a tight budget, it does not make good economical sense to cut corners on design. Talented professionals will help you avoid costly mistakes – and can assure that the home you build is ideally suited for the way you live.
Here are your options:

1. Purchase a Stock Building Plan

These are often drawn by architects and home designers for mass marketing through magazines, catalogs, and Web sites.

Advantages: You can easily find stock plans for houses in a wide variety of sizes, styles, and budgets. If you are able to find a stock plan that works for you, you will save the cost of hiring your own architect.

Disadvantages: The architect who designed your stock building plan has never met you and does not know your tastes and needs. Moreover, stock building plans cannot take into account the nature of your building lot or the climate in your region. Many people who purchase stock building plans eventually decide to hire an architect to make modifications.

2. Use a Production Home Builder

New homes in suburban housing developments are often constructed by production home builders. Production home builders have contracted with architects and designers to create plans suitable for the region and harmonious with other houses in the development. When you work with a production home builder, you must select one of the builder’s offered plans. You then “customize” the plan by choosing exterior siding, light fixtures, bay windows, and other architectural features from a menu of options.Advantages: Builders can work more quickly and more economically when they follow familiar, traditional plans. Since the plans are locally created, they will probably be suitable for the climate and the terrain.

Disadvantages: Your home will be assembled from a limited array of standard features. Although you may request some customization, your house will not be a custom home. It is likely to look very similar to the other houses in your development. Your builder may refuse, or charge highly for, any changes that are not on the established list of options.

3. Hire a Certified Professional Building Designer

Another cost-saving alternative is to hire a Certified Professional Building Designer (also known as a Home Designer) to design your now home. Home designers do not have the same level of education or the same licensing requirements as architects, and their fees are usually lower. Nevertheless, professional home designers do hold professional certificates which demonstrate that they have completed coursework and achieved experience in the field.

Advantages: Home designers specialize in private homes – not office buildings, shopping centers or gas stations. For this reason, a home designer may actually have more experience designing houses than some licensed architects. A good home designer can create a customized home tailor-made for your family.

Disadvantages: Like builders and real estate developers, home designers tend to produce plans which are traditional. In general, home designers do not have the training to create especially complex or unusual designs. If you have special needs, or if you desire a home that is truly unique, then you’ll need to hire an architect.

Article above taken from about.com
Interesting comments from a forum about the building with and without an architect.
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