Choosing The Right Designer

on Thursday, 01 November 2012. Posted in Planning your custom home/remodeling project

Now that you have completed the 1st step, formulating a basic plan of what you would like to change about your home, it is time to move on to selecting a design professional who can help you put those ideas on paper to help you see the possibilities. There are different levels of design, including:

- Concept plans that can be floor plans and a combination of 2D or 3D elevations to help you visualize your home

- Scaled design development plans that are now adding more details and sections through critical areas

- Bid documents which should be scaled plans with complete notes and detailed specifications as well as the engineering needed so that you can get an accurate estimate and apples-to-apples bids

- Construction drawings with all the dimensions, sections, product schedules etc. that are needed to execute the work

- 3D models that can help you better visualize your home, inside and out

There are multiple options for you to consider when choosing a design professional: the complexity of the project, architectural styling and taste and budget should all be considered when choosing your design professional. There are multiple options for you to consider as well:

-  Your first option is to hire an architect. Architects are very skilled and creative and understand what architectural details work best. They are artist with buildings. It never ceases to amaze me how creative they can be presenting design solutions to difficult projects. Architects can also give you more detailed drawings and specifications to enable you to bid the project out. They can also offer you the most protection from unscrupulous contractors. I suggest you visit for a list of excellent professional architects.

- If you have a good idea of what you want to do you can hire a draftsman to create the plans for pricing.  This option will be less costly than using an architect, but history has shown that the construction documents are sometimes lacking in detailed information which could result in a wide range of bids. In addition, a draftsman may not have addressed critical structural engineering issues. However, if your design is simple and you don’t mind filling in some of the details yourself, a draftsman can help you move the project forward for a lower cost.

- If your project involves just interior spaces, you may want to consider hiring an interior designer, but make sure you choose one who is experienced in space planning, not just picking out fabrics and furniture. Like a draftsman, an interior designer may not be able to address structural issues, but if you have chosen a good builder, he/she can coordinate these new areas. Contact for a list of the many excellent interior designers in our area.

- Another option is Design/Build.  This is where the builder also serves as the designer, using an in-house designer or architect, or sometimes using the services of an outside architect whom the builder has a working relationship with. In this scenario, the project timeline is reduced since there is less detail required for the drawings since they are not being bid out. Also, the builder would have a better understanding of budget issues and you have a more likely chance of bringing the project in on budget.

There is no best design option – only by doing the research can you decide what makes the most sense for your family. With all your design options it is very important that you select someone who is experienced in residential design of the same style and architecture of your home, someone who will listen and respond to your needs and requests, someone who wants to work with you. There is nothing worse than working with someone who ignores your ideas and request, drawing what he/she wants regardless of practicality, functionality or budget. Next week, we’ll discuss all the things you should consider when evaluating your design.

Comments (0)

Leave a comment

You are commenting as guest.