So you’ve decided to build a new space for your company or community. Congratulations! Now what? While the design and construction of a new building or space can be very rewarding, getting the process started can be difficult. That’s where architects come in. As designers, they translate your vision, ideas, and functional needs into reality. As programmers, they develop construction plans that enable contractors to do their job well. During construction, they ensure building material quality and safety standards are met. On a given project, an architect will wear many hats, and yet those new to construction may not be aware of what an architect does and how they can benefit a project. We are here to help!
In this article, we will cover how architects can assist you in the design and construction of your new space.
1. Creating spaces that fit your design goals and budget
Architects are trained to bring your ideas and inspiration to life through design. They help you identify the priorities for a space, develop its look and feel, and incorporate best practices of design into your project. More than designing four walls and a roof, architects help you see the big picture and make a lasting impression for those that interact with your building. They can also keep your project on budget by presenting design solutions catered to your specific needs.
2. Increasing ROI for your new building through design
The curb appeal and perceived quality of a property can directly impact the valuation of your construction investment. Architects help you get the most out of your budget by designing a space that will be attractive for years to come. Their attention to detail and material quality improves the overall appearance of a project, in many cases increasing ROI for new construction.
3. Coordinating the elements of new construction
To the untrained eye, a building can look like a relatively simple structure. The foundation holds up the walls, which in turn hold up the roof. Sprinkle in a few windows here and there, add a door or two, install countertops and cabinets, and BOOM – project done.
The reality is that within the walls and floors runs an entirely hidden system of electrical cables, plumbing, and network solutions needed to run water from the faucets or turn your lights on. Architects can help here too. During the design process, they coordinate the vast array of building systems to avoid unnecessary hiccups and delays when your project is in construction.
4. Ensuring your project meets building codes and other guidelines
All new construction brings with it building codes and standards created to ensure occupancy safety in the event of an emergency, as well as functional inclusivity for those with disabilities. While designing your space, architects reference codes and guidelines to ensure your property will pass fire and other inspections, and help you stay clear of potential lawsuits and other risks that are posed as a result of not being code compliant.
Here are a few examples of regulations that architects ensure your project complies with:
- American Disabilities Act Compliance (ADA Compliance)
- National Fire Protection Administration (NFPA) - Life Safety Code (LSC)
- International Building Code (IBC)
- International Energy Conservation Code (IECC)
- Sustainability Best Management Practices
- Zoning Regulations
- Land Use
- Flood Permitting
5. Recommending the best course of action when there is an unexpected fork in the road
Nearly all construction projects encounter unexpected problems as a project comes to life from the planning documents and into the real world. When this happens, architects recommend the best course of action to ensure that your project stays on course and budget, and if needed act as project liaisons between you and the contractor to ensure that changes are implemented successfully.
6. Quality control supervision for your project
Most of the construction materials and components included within the blueprints including drywall specifications, doors, windows, cabinetry, and beyond have been outlined for prospective contractors. As contractors begin putting their estimate (or bid) together, they often submit requests for material and product alternatives of equal performance, finish, and durability. These substitution requests are known as product equals. Contractors submit these requests for a variety of reasons including accessibility, price, or personal preference. However, they must be approved by the architect in order to be submitted in the final contractor bid.
Architects review the substitution requests for your project, and either approve or deny the proposed alternatives based on your preferences and budget. In this way, they actively regulate the quality of the final build and ensure that the product meets your vision. During construction, they also regularly visit the project site to ensure construction meets the design intent.
7. Making your life easier during a stressful period
Designing a new building can feel like a complex puzzle of choices and uncertainty. It is a process filled with decision making, limited time, and limited budgets. All of this can create stress for a project owner. As a professional familiar with the in’s and out’s of construction, a quality architect is able to walk you step-by-step through a time filled with unfamiliarity and help you arrive on the other side having met your initial construction vision and goals.