Five reasons you need an Architect

by James Pitropov

If you’re building a new home or cottage, you’ve likely set funds aside in a dedicated bank account to cover the cost of a design, technical drawings, permits and securing a general contractor. But by the time you start racking up extra charges for things like moving light switches, you regret not hiring an architect.

What seemed like a luxury would have limited the likelihood of costly mistakes, saving you money, time and frustration over the long run.

Here are five reasons why you need an architect:   

1. Setting the course for success.

There’s lots to consider at the beginning of any project but an architect will provide an accurate picture of how the project will turn out before a single nail has been driven.

At Lakeside Architecture, for example, that includes conducting a feasibility study, preparing an initial design, and creating 3D images and a simple model so you fully understand the proposed layout, scale and look of your property. The final design will include the location of plumbing fixtures and appliances, as well as door and window sizes. Your architect should also provide a detailed cost summary of your approved design and a construction timeline. Check out Lakeside’s design process here:

2. In- and out-of-the-box thinking.

Thinking in the box may sound counterintuitive when your dream is to build a one-of-a-kind house or cottage but if you think out of the box too quickly, you eventually risk hitting a wall. That’s because in-the-box thinking considers a variety of constraints, including budget, site typography and municipal bylaws, resulting in a design that fulfills functional requirements in a conceptual way.

From there, an architect’s creativity and problem-solving skills drive out-of-the-box thinking, taking a client’s napkin sketch to unimaginable heights while managing expenses. When designing a cottage, for instance, you might want to incorporate stone to connect the structure to the site both visually and spiritually. Constructing it entirely in stone would cost an exorbitant amount but using stone selectively could achieve similar results with a more affordable price tag.

3. Knowledge.

Some people will contact an architect even before purchasing a piece of land to make observations regarding orientation and practical considerations that might encourage or discourage the development of their ideas. Coming up with a design that appears to contradict constraints separates great architecture from good architecture.

An architect will guide you through complex regulatory building requirements. In many building projects, you’re required by law to work with an architecture practice. Rules vary among jurisdictions so be aware of your municipality’s requirements before embarking on any project.

4. Originality.

When you’re building a dream home or cottage, a cookie-cutter design won’t suffice. While many builders have a range of ideas, most are very similar to their most recent projects, short circuiting the creative process. Respectable architects will approach every project with an open mind and take the time to understand each client’s needs and preferences, asking lifestyle questions like how you like to entertain. Their willingness to explore possibilities will help leverage your property to its full potential. Check out some of our projects here:

5. Leadership.

An architect is uniquely trained to manage and coordinate structural, mechanical and electrical engineers, whose services are often essential. Architectural services sometimes cover construction administration, the benefits of which include tracking costs and managing changes more efficiently.

Lakeside Architect’s sister company, Lakeside Construction Management Inc., for instance, instructs and manages the build crew, works closely with the master carpenter, meets with building inspectors, and conducts weekly site visits to ensure a project remains on track the client is up to date on the build progress. If you choose the design-bid-build approach, Lakeside Construction Management can provide referrals for local builders, manufacturers and installers.