Hiring A Design-Build Company vs Hiring An Architect/Draftsperson

We’ve noticed that more and more homeowners are having their building plans completed prior to speaking with any general contractors. In some cases, homeowners are actually going ahead and getting their building permits as well. This could be a direct result of the economy being in the state that it’s in and homeowners believing that this could potentially save them some money in the end. Whatever the reason, there are several reasons why we try to dissuade homeowners from doing this and here are a few reasons why:

  1. When you the homeowner hire an architect/draftsperson to have your plans done, you are ultimately responsible for the plans, instead of your design-build contractor. This can be problematic later on when it turns out that something is wrong with the plans or you need to have changes made to the plans when something changes during the building process. Once an architect/draftsperson has been paid for their work, there’s really no further involvement that he/she needs or wants to be involved with. On the other hand, when your design-build contractor is the one responsible for the plans, you the homeowner are the boss and it’s a simple call to get the plans changed.
  2. We find that homeowners who have actually gone ahead and purchased their building permit prior to speaking with any building contractors often end up wasting their money on a permit for a project they will never build. And this is because once the homeowner starts discussing prices with local building contractors, he/she finds that the costs of the project will be significantly more than their architect/draftsperson had estimated. And now you have invested perhaps close to 10K dollars for a project you cannot afford. Whereas, a simple discussion to a design-build firm could have avoided the problem from the start. Your project would have been designed per your budget and you would know ahead of time that you could afford what you were getting a permit for.
  3. For some homeowners looking to design a room addition for their home, it’s a simple matter of adding a bedroom and a bathroom for the extra needed space. In which case, design is perhaps less important. But we find that this type of homeowner is less likely to hire an architect/draftsperson and more likely to hire a contractor anyway. The homeowner who is considering an architect/draftsperson for their design is most likely more interested in space planning and the functionality of the design. And though there are architects/draftspersons who fancy themselves experts in these areas, your best bet would be to hire someone who specializes in this. Like most general contractors, architect/draftspersons usually will focus on what’s the quickest, easiest design possible, and ultimately what they can charge the most for in the shortest amount of time. In this case, you the homeowner will be charged at a likely hourly rate for a design that may or may not be functional and well thought-out. Whereas in the case of hiring a design-build company, your design will be done per your budget, you will be able to see renderings of your project so you can understand clearly, how functional your design is and how well thought out the space planning is. And in most cases, the overall value of the design will be higher when hiring a design-build company.

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