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Question DetailsAsked on 1/6/2015

Should I hire an architect for a room addition to our home? Or is that a service provided by the General Contractor

I've never been involved in a big project like this. We plan to add a "family room" to our home; but I'm just not sure where to start.

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1 Answer


While some General Contractors will retain an architect to do the necessary plans for obtaining building permits and to build to, that merans the architect is basically working for him, and is going to be doing the bare minimum necessary.

If the Architect is working for you, then he is working to develop plans that provide you with the features you want, and will generally (though there is evidently a sort of prima donna movement amongst architects to not do this any more) provide a construction cost estimate so you know the plans are developing a project that is likely to be within budgeted amount. An architect is also more likely to consider issues which most builders commonly forget about - access issues, roof interface issues, what effect the new addition has on your HVAC system sizing and electrical load, etc.

The first thing that should be done, before even conceptual sketches are done, is checking with local government agencies (and condo/homeowner's associations, etc as applicable) on how much addition is allowed in your area, how close to property lines you can get, any required setbacks or taboo land for wildlife refuges or floodplain preservation, etc. This is critical,because I have seen a lot of projects that got to the bidding or even construction contract award stage, only to find out it could not be built where planned or in the configuration planned - in one case a brand new house replacing an old cabin had to be torn down because it violated a nature conservancy provision which the original cabin builder had put on the title, but did not get caught in a title search at time of title transfer because it was done in a private transaction.

Answered 5 years ago by LCD

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