Seeking Architect For Plan Finalization - Kalamazoo Mi


Jedjewel
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Hello,

 

We have a single story house plan nearly complete in Home Designer Pro 2014.  We are at a point we need to partner with a professional to finish the plan (for sure the roof needs work), ensure the structure is safe and meets local regulations, etc.  My thinking is that an architect currently using Chief would make this process much more effiencient due to the software compatability.  Is this a proven approach?  If you are qualified to assist, please send me your information and I'll give you a call.  

 

Thank you,

Julie

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Julie,

If you are in a relatively urban area with significant regulatory controls, I encourage you to engage a local architect to help expedite the process. Such an architect would be available to make site visits during construction, too, when issues come up.

 

BTW, it is illegal in every state that I know of to offer "architectural design" without actually being a licensed architect.

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BTW, it is illegal in every state that I know of to offer "architectural design" without actually being a licensed architect.

 

This is true.

 

Also, Julie - I know a lot of people think you can DIY for residential design, but I've NEVER in my career seen a home done by DIY that didn't look DIY.  Its like proposing to Microsoft they allow you to handle their marketing campaign since you have MS Publisher.  The money you will spend on a professional to take your ideas and floor plan and put finishing touches everywhere is money well spent when you go to sell your home, not to mention livability factors.

 

Would you be willing to post your plan so far?

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Julie,

If you are in a relatively urban area with significant regulatory controls, I encourage you to engage a local architect to help expedite the process. Such an architect would be available to make site visits during construction, too, when issues come up.

 

BTW, it is illegal in every state that I know of to offer "architectural design" without actually being a licensed architect

 

 

You probably don't need an Architect unless you want one. I have been doing plans in the most regulated areas in the country for 40 years without being an architect. building design can be done by anyone including yourself. Architect's always try to scare everyone.

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You probably don't need an Architect unless you want one. I have been doing plans in the most regulated areas in the country for 40 years without being an architect. building design can be done by anyone including yourself. Architect's always try to scare everyone.

 

- "building design can be done by anyone"

- "Architect's always try to scare everyone"

 

Those are some interesting absolutes you state.  Needless to say, I fully disagree.  I'll state again, I have NEVER seen a DIY project I thought was well done and didn't look DIY.  I won't be as bold to state an absolute and say: "There are NO DIY homes that look good to ANYONE".

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I'm talking about the license to design, not needed.   I've seen very nicely done projects, done by un-licensed people. And yes building design can be done by anyone, didn't say it was nicely done or not, that could also apply to Architects.

You took those statements out of context.

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Perry,

 

I never try to scare anyone.  OTOH, a good designer is an investment that shouldn't be taken lightly.  It is true that only licensed Architects are legally able to advertise "Architectural Design" but that doesn't mean that all Architects are excellent designers and it doesn't mean that there aren't those who are excellent designers but are not licensed architects.

 

Julie should determine what she needs and interview both Architects and others who might provide the services she needs to select the person that will do the best job.  She might need just a simple set of drawings for permit or she might need much more.  A local Architect or Building Designer using Chief Architect would make sense due to the efficiency of taking her existing HD files and proceeding from there.  Local would be best because of familiarity with local conditions and practices - but that's not absolutely required.

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Thank you all for the feedback.  I'm by no means an official designer, but after a year of studying other plans, touring Parade of Homes, a full-on addition to Houzz, and a 2nd full-time career trying to figure out Home Designer Pro, I feel pretty good about the design.  But where my confidence stops short is overcoming important components like a roof that doesn't leak and ensuring the structure is safe and meets code.  A couple of resources have emerged through my question here that I will interview with the plan in hand to see if they can provide the needed professional assistance.  I do appreciate the quick and candid follow up to this post! 

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I've seen it both ways buddy

 

I've seen bad design by both architect and designer - no question.  Yet, even in something I felt was "bad design" (which is subjective), there tends to be organized thought (program) coming through an architects work that I simply dont see with "bad" design by a "designer".  Id rather have a good designer than a bad architect (again subjective)....but I would rather have a bad architect than a bad designer.

 

Hiring an architect does give you some quality threshold which a designer (good or bad) doesn't have to even have to consider.

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It is true that only licensed Architects are legally able to advertise "Architectural Design"

Come on Joe you know that's just a play on words, I can advise anyone on any level of building design, just not allowed to use the A word. I have designed and advised custom homes and additions legally for 40 years.

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Here is an example I am actually working on right now.  Past clients of mine had friends who were developing plans by a "designer" - and when these people shared the plans with my former clients, they were advised to have me look at the design and offer an opinion.  Its a slopping lot, but the clients wanted single-level living - however, the designer said it was impossible to get a 2-car garage on the main floor entry level, so he had to place the garages all in the basement (stairs).  These people are elderly, yet they assumed what their designer was saying is correct and so planned to walk up and down stairs each time they accessed the garage.  Further, this is a seaboard town and they wanted the house to look "beachy" (their word) - yet they didn't have the budget for full cedar shingles together with what they wanted inside.

 

Their "designer" permit approved these drawings:

 

Floor Plan

bad_floor.jpg

 

Elevations

bad_design.jpg

 

Following their request, these were my concepts:

 

Floor Plan Concept

floor_plan.jpg

 

Elevation Concept

elevation1.jpg

 

My example isn't a architect vs designer issue - since I feel many designers are awesome.  Its about people going down a path they dont know they dont know.  Had these clients not heard from their friends they should come talk with me, they would be building this other plan right now that didn't meet the objectives they wanted.

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Johnny,

This is a great example, but I fear that many won't be able to really understand the different between the original boxy rat maze and your very gracious and open floor plan. (My only complaint would be the probable furniture layout in the master bedroom.) Nor to predict the increase in resale value that you've created over the original mess.

 

There is actually a lot of things I would personally do different - ie master bath, but this was specifically requested.  I had the door to the sewing room going from hallway to provide 2 full walls for bed/etc, but they asked for it to be placed there since she wanted to access from room....they planned to put bed on the west wall (right).  Not what I would have done...so I agree there as well.

 

If you look at the original design - its even more than bad design, as the entry clerestory windows (they dont match pitch) are directly interfered with by the den wall.

 

To top it all off, my plans were cheaper to build (bid by builder selected) as the "designer" placed ridiculous steel beams in the drawings which weren't necessary.

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Johnny

Like I said , it goes both ways. People should just be aware of who they choose no matter who is doing it.

 

I dont disagree with this, but I will say in my personal experience I've never seen an architect hand me a plan set like the one above.  Not saying it hasn't happened to other people, its just i've never see it - and yet I get this sort of "designer" work sent to me a lot to re-do.

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NOTE: TO FUTURE READERS

 

Richard has deleted most of his postings in this thread

 

thus, a lot of responses, especially mine, will seem disjointed and unconnected

 

perhaps the moderator should just delete this entire thread

since a lot of it doesn't make sense anymore ???

 

 

 

 

oh wow, I have to say I agree with Perry

about the statement that it is "illegal" for non-architects to do design

 

they can not state they are architects but in many, many jurisdictions they can do design

this has been discussed/debated "ad naseum" on this forum for the entire decade that I have been here

 

I really don't want re-hash it again - just feel the need to counter the "scare"

 

yet, I also agree with Johnny (et al.) that an architect should be able to do better design than a DIY

 

yet, a DIY might be able to do a decent design

 

look at FLW and Sullivan and others who never got a degree

and did designs against the "norm" of their times

 

furthermore I have seen designs by architects that are a horror show

yes, that is my opinion and I could post samples but it is still my opinion

 

I have recommended to clients that they should consult with an architect

if they indicated that wanted more than my partner could offer with his designs

 

knowing what the client wants and is willing to pay for helps in deciding this

 

bottom line, it is a good design if the client likes it

 

the architects that see it may have a different opinion

but the clients opinion is the only one that really counts

 

Lew

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I know this thread has been kind of hijacked at this point, but I think this is something the original poster should see.  

 

I just finished a complete re-do that a licensed architect with outstanding credentials (on paper) completed for a client for a fee of about $20,000.  They just wanted me to model it to give them a better visual of the project before they built.  While looking at the plans, I immediately noticed numerous items were not up to code, there was a wood burning fireplace in the basement, but he forgot to put in a chimney or any venting, the basement, 1st floor, and 2nd floor walls did not line up, and the list goes on and on.  The architect had worked with the client for almost a year before I got involved.  After unsuccessfully trying to get the architect to make the required corrections, the client finally just paid me to redraw the construction documents from scratch so he could get it permitted and begin construction.  After really taking time to connect with the client to understand their desires, we ended up coming up with a completely different layout.  The client commented that the architect was designing building he liked himself, and not necessarily what the client wanted. 

 

Just my opinion, but I think it is more about knowledge of the designer or architect than simply having a piece of paper that says you are an architect that makes you good at this profession.  As in this case, many licensed architects concentrate on commercial designs and have much less knowledge of residential design requirements and current design trends than a good home designer.  I think clients should see if you have a good connection with the designer or architect first, then let the portfolios and past client references do the talking as to if they are qualified to handle your project or not.  There are good building designers out there, and you can save a lot of money by using them and still get a quality product.  I know architects don't like the competition, but this is America baby!  I'm with Perry on this one.

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Richard:

 

yes, I did a few historical projects in Old Town Georgetown in DC

 

so I will amend to add design review boards satisfaction also

 

our first historic project won a "honorable mention" award

due to the modern kitchen conforming to the historic nature of the building

 

we NEVER had a project permit rejected

they were all accepted on the first submission

 

Lew

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It is unfortunate that this thread has deteriorated into a bashing contest.  Every client deserves quality design and no designer (Architect or Not) should be excused from providing that level of service.  For most people who simply want a good livable and attractive home there are "Plan Shops" with stock plans that can be modified a bit.  For those that want something special they need to hire a professional who listens to what they want and does the best possible job for them.

 

Forcing a design on a client that is contrary to their wants and needs is unconscionable.  I have no objection to unlicensed designers doing residential projects but I can't respect anyone that just puts out a cookie cutter home design for a custom home.  That's cheating the client.

 

When I was just starting my career I did some tracts for builders.  I did some that I think were excellent and some that were just so-so.  I made a reasonable profit on those jobs.  OTOH, I have done many custom homes and just as many remodel projects that I am proud of and probably spent 2-3 times as much time as I got paid for.  Chief Architect has made it easier to do my job but the thought and time that I put into the design itself hasn't really changed.  At one time I would expect to spend about 50% of the time on design and 50% on the Construction Documents.  Now it's about 85% on design and 15% on ConDocs.  IMO anyone using Chief Architect that isn't close to a 4:1 ratio is either a design genius or not a designer at all.

 

btw, I have not designed a perfect custom home yet and I've been doing this for over 45 years.  Personally I don't think there is such a thing as perfection - but I keep trying.  The problem now is that in most cases I am my own client and I'm really hard to satisfy.

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bottom line, it is a good design if the client likes it

 

the architects that see it may have a different opinion

but the clients opinion is the only one that really counts

 

Lew

 

I wholly and utterly disagree with that statement - since good design isn't what one person might think it is (taste might be diff, but I can tell "good design" even from things I dont find tasteful).  The client (more often than not) doesn't have a professional background, and a client that asks their designer/architect: Is my "idea" workable - from a cost, practicality, or even aesthetic point of view?...is going to come out way ahead listening in part to the professional they hired.

 

I dont go to a Dr. only to have him listen to what I think might be wrong with me, and what I believe I should be prescribed.  Even though I might cite some article I read online about my symptoms, I want him to use his education, experience, and common sense to help me help myself.

 

It wasn't my intent to make this an architect vs designer discussion.  I have a lot of respect and faith in certain designers.

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