When do you need an architect? Not every design project needs the expert hand and mind of an architect.  Many projects are best left to designers, interior designers or builders.  I often tell my clients that you really need an architect when you have a challenging site, a steep site, high water table, unusual shape or significant controls or setbacks.  You need an architect with the mastery of design to overcome some of these obstacles and design a house that takes advantages of these issues but still provides you with a design that fits your needs and wants as well as budget and timeline. To design houses and make submissions to Ontario municipalities for building permits for home renovations, one must be a licensed architect, a professional engineer with a certificate of authorization from the Professional Engineers of Ontario (PEO), or accredited as a designer by the Province with a Building Code Identification Number (BCIN). To obtain this accreditation, one must study and an exam related to small residential construction. Some BCIN-qualified designers may have taken training through community college programs in residential design or architectural technology, while others may have followed the same educational path as licensed architects, obtaining a bachelor or master of architecture university degree. For many who have chosen to follow a career path with a focus on residential design and renovations, pursuing a BCIN designation is a much easier, less time intensive and less responsible accreditation than an OAA designation. If you have a challenging site or a design issue that needs expert attention then an architect is your best choice.  For simple house renovations and additions or for those wanting simply a stock plan placed on a site, designers with their BCIN are good choices.  In my opinion, most resorts and cottage and boathouse projects require the expert hand of licensed and insured architects. If you are contemplating a design project it is best to interview and start planning with your architect or other design professional as early as possible in the project.  It is important to develop your design objectives and budget early on in the process and make sure you have a clear outline of your project so that you can weigh the options and compare the services that you need for your project. As always, we are available to discuss your design project with you.  Please choose – contact us and we will be in touch soon!