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Home / Articles / Columnists / Projects to Improve your Home /  Projects to Improve Your Home
. . . . . . .
Tuesday, March 4,2014

Projects to Improve Your Home

By Roger Zona  

To My Readers:

Question: I want to build an addition to my home rather than move. Do I need an Architect?

Answer: That’s a good question. As a former Architect, I should answer immediately with a big “Yes”. But, as a contractor, there are considerations you should be aware  of. 

Architects are trained in building design and engineering and can add that “special Touch".

Architects have a talent for design, proportion and the sense of space usage and traffic patterns. However, their fees (ranging from 5% to 15% or more) can add significantly to your bottom line cost. A rule of thumb is that if you are spending more than 10% of the home value, you need an Architect. For example, your house cost $450,000 and you have a budget of $100,000 – that’s 22% of the value. The bigger the remodeling budget and the more valuable your home, the more you need a professional. Keep in mind that you not only have increased the selling value of your home, you have also increased the taxes, maintenance, and operating costs such as electricity, and air conditioning. Generally speaking, if there are structural changes or additions to your home, the code will require an Architect. If your budget is low you may be able to negotiate a fixed fee. The plans must be sufficient to get a permit and pass all code requirements.

I always suggest to my clients that they prepare a scrapbook with pictures of homes they admire, design type, colors swatches, I always suggest to my clients that they I always suggest to my clients that they prepare a scrapbook with pictures of homes they admire, design type, colors swatches, and pictures or literature about appliances, cabinets, doors, hardware, etc. This can save a great deal of time. Your Architect can specify your preferences and the contractor knows what to include in his bid. This cuts down on change orders. Your negotiations with an Architect can include complete working drawings (10 sets), permitting process (code review, fire marshal, landscape review, etc.). You will need a current (no more than 6 months old) survey of the property. Your Architect can also help with the selection of a contractor and he can make periodic inspections on the construction progress and determine if the contractor is billing you correctly. These services cost money and can be included in a percentage fee or flat fee. Good luck with your project.





 

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