An architect can translate your individual requirements, dreams and thoughts into the form of a plan. They are sensitive to land conservation, environmental issues and familiar with applicable building codes and zoning regulations. They work for you as your agent and can help you in bid evaluation and selecting a contractor. They can even manage your project for you!
An engineer uses scientific knowledge, mathematics and ingenuity to develop solutions. They design materials, structures and systems while considering the limitations imposed by practicality, safety and costs. Basically, an architect is the designer managing the overall design of a building, with primary emphasis on space planning and appearance. The engineer handles safety and is also responsible for the layout of plumbing and electrical. Continue Reading
Architects are necessary whenever a home remodeling calls for making an addition, altering room sizes and shapes, or making major changes to the plumbing, electrical or heating systems. Architects will explore a homeowner's lifestyle and use of the house, assess the house's structure, and draw up construction plans that address both the owner's desires and the structure's requirements. Depending on city codes, homeowners may also need to submit plans with an architect's seal before beginning work and retaining a permit. You may also want help with the management of your project.
How much do architects charge?
Architects normally charge a percentage of what the total construction cost, which can range anywhere from one to eight percent. You may encounter ones that charge an hourly fee from $85-125. Either way, the architect should be able to save you money during construction. Be sure that you get a very detailed bid that includes what your architect will do for you and how often you can expect to communicate with them.
What should I hire an engineer?
You will need an engineer when you make changes to the roofing, walls, plumbing, wiring, or foundations of your home. It's also a good idea to call a structural engineer if you feel your home has issues that make it unsafe. Engineers will explore the house and recommend what needs to be done, keeping in mind city building codes and your needs.
If you are building a home or adding an addition, you may need a structural engineer or a soil engineer. A structural engineer is needed if the load-bearing walls in your home are being modified or removed, changes made to the plumbing or wiring, or if other structural elements are being tampered with. In these types of cases, it is crucial than you employ one in order to ensure your structure is safe.
Soil engineers (also called geotechnical engineers) analyze the soil structure of a proposed building construction site and existing structures for problematic conditions concerning the ground under foundations. They make necessary calculations for designing a structure's foundation and the structure itself. A chimney continually going down, wall cracks, moving buildings - a soil engineer can help alleviate possible problems like this.
How much do engineers charge?
Some structural engineers will charge anywhere from $100-150 per hour for their services with an average amount of $350-500 spent by homeowners and construction managers. Soil engineers cost on average $500-1,000 for testing the ground for any problems. You might consider seeing a local government soil engineer to save some money. Also depending on the project, it might be better to hire a land surveyor.
Your architect will let you know if you need an engineer and may be able to suggest where you can find one. Although engineers cost more than architects, their work is often imperative to the success of the overall project.