Architect or Building Designer, what’s the difference & how best to hire?

True or False:
Only architects can design houses & renovations

FALSE.  While archiects that are licensed in the state of the projects they design in, not all states require architects for design of single family homes & renovation projects.  Read on to learn more.

Step 1: Learn The Rules

If you’re thinking of designing a home or renovating your house, the first step is to contact your local building department and determine the rules for your jurisdiction. 

Some municipalities let homeowners submit their own plans while others allow certified building designers and some require architects licensed in the state of the project.

The rules also change for multi-family houses, commercial structures, and specialty structures, some of which may even need a combination of structural, civil, and MEP engineers to design and certify.

Architects & engineers carry a digital or physical seal that’s placed on the plans to certify the document as a recognized, certified plan.

Woman engineer working on blueprint person

Step 2: Follow These Guidelines

The AIBD, or American Institute of Building Design, published an article revealing a 9-step process on how to hire an architect or building designer for your project.

This article covers important concepts such as budgeting and the need to consult before you sign.  The AIBD even hosts a directory of architects, engineers, and building designers which can be searched in your area of the US.

If you are a design professional, we encourage you to consider membership in the AIBD. Learn more here.

Closing Words

The saying goes, ‘penny wise, pound foolish’.  Saving money up front by not hiring the right qualified professional or trying to remodel without a plan or permit catches up with you. 

Your insurance could be affected or claims not paid, issues will arise when you resell your home, there could be structural, egress, fire, and weatherability issues with not following code-minimum requirements. to name a few. Design professionals are trained, licensed, and should be insured (always ask!) for their work. 

If you’re looking for a custom engineering plan or design professional for your project, we can help. Contact us to discuss your needs. 

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