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What are the benefits of hiring an architect?
I’ve never hired an architect before and I’m not sure how the process works.
I’m not sure how big a house I need or want. How can I tell what would work for me?
How do your fees work?
Are there any other costs related to my project that I should be aware of?
How long will my project take?
I have a smaller project and I’m not sure if your firm does that kind of work. Or do you only handle large homes?
Do you do interior design, or just the exterior?
Will you recommend contractors or builders?
Do you only work in the Ottawa area?
Can you provide three-dimensional drawings?
There are many benefits but the big three are:
A. Superior Design: We could talk for hours on the importance of good design but in a nutshell – we work with you to ensure your new or remodeled home is perfectly designed for you. There are the practical issues of number and size of rooms of course – but good design is much more than that. When we design your home we consider how you “live” – your taste, style and indeed your lifestyle should be totally reflected in your home. After all, a custom home should be exactly that – a home that is unique to you. The landscape and surroundings are also an important consideration. We take a holistic approach to design and ensure there is a connection of indoor and outdoor spaces.
B. Regulatory Issues: Building a home or undergoing a major renovation can be stressful. Hiring an architect relieves a lot of that because we help and guide you through any regulatory issues such as zoning by-laws, variances, permit applications, etc.
C. Coordination with contractors and engineers: The construction process involves a lot of different trades. We provide coordination with the engineers (civil and structural for example) and other consultants on the project … and through the Construction Administration Phase we oversee the construction of your home to ensure it is on schedule, on budget and being built right and to a high standard of quality.
For a new custom home or renovation we like to meet with you and talk about your project to gain an appreciation of what you want to build. Through this discussion we get an idea as to your style and aspirations, the size of home you want, and how you “live” in your home. We also talk about budget and timelines. Following this initial meeting we would prepare a fee proposal letter that would provide more detail about the process and outline our architectural fees.
Through careful planning we design a home that is just the right size for the way you live. And designing a house that suits your needs, yet is more modest in size, is an environmentally responsible approach as well. We have developed a “space programming” template that is very fun to work with. It has some room suggestions where you can plug in your measurements and see how that translates into overall square footage. And of course you can add or delete rooms as required – this is just a template to play around with.
Our fees vary depending on the size and complexity of the project and the services required by the client. Typically our fees are charged as a percentage of the estimated construction cost. However we may charge a flat rate fee when we have a good idea of the amount of work involved or occasionally we will charge an hourly rate for smaller jobs or for ad-hoc work.
There may be costs for items such as any survey requirements, civil and structural engineering fees, Committee of Adjustment fees, and asbestos abatement costs (for renovation or demolition projects), to name a few. As we work with you at the outset, we will identify what additional costs should be anticipated for your particular project.
The process varies depending on the size and complexity of your project. There are a number of intangibles that could affect the timeline such as how quickly decisions are made in the schematic and design development phases. And of course the actual construction phase can be hampered by weather and seasonal conditions. A new house usually takes 7 to 10 months to complete.
Depending on our current work schedule, we’d love to work with you on a smaller project – it’s always worth contacting us to see what might work. We put the same amount of inspiration and delight into smaller projects as bigger ones. Take a look at our website under the “Projects” section to see some great examples.
We have interior designers on staff who specialize in interior work. As well, all of our architects have years of experience in interior design. Typically we design the cabinetry and lighting, and select the finishes on custom residential homes. We also provide detailed landscape design services.
We can recommend builders who have experience building to our specifications, and we can help tender your project to a few firms if required. Or if you have a preferred builder, we are pleased to work with them as well.
We are capable of handling projects outside of Ottawa and indeed have worked for many clients in Toronto, Caledon, Muskoka, the U.S., and parts of Quebec in particular. We have also worked with clients who were living abroad during the design and construction process so when they returned – their home was “move-in ready.”
We know that reading a standard two-dimensional drawing isn’t easy. Even if you can tell where the walls, windows and doors are, you may not get an accurate feel for how the design will look in the real world. We can render 3-D images that can be rotated and viewed from multiple angles, which gives you a much better understanding of the design. This type of 3D visualization service is standard on our custom home projects.