Should You Hire the Architect or Builder First?

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This is a common question most homeowners face when they are in the process of either building a new home, an addition or adding a Pop Top to their current home. It’s our industry’s version of the chicken or the egg!

Since Paradigm operates as a Design/Build firm there are benefits of us being hired at the start of the process and we take a pretty firm stance that you should hire both at the same time.

Very often architects design without a budget in mind – they are not builders but artists that provide great designs!  They don’t analyze costs or processes like builders do and often think of the home with more thoughts of function and design over price. I’m generalizing here, as some do have an idea of cost but in most cases architects are typically hired for their strong understanding of design and not for their understanding  of the related pricing and process.

Here is an example of a custom home build in which the client hired the architect prior to the builder: In this situation the architect was hired directly by our client. The architect then over-sized and over designed the home, which in turn, created the new home’s budget to be more expensive than the client could afford.  So time was lost on all sides and the owner ultimately had to redesign the home to stay within budget. This is an extreme case but it happens.

Another challenge that sometimes occurs, is the notation of  important specs or details are left off the plans when the builder and architect are hired separate. The builder provides a price based on what was designed per the plans and specs, so when there is a discrepancy the owner typically pays the cost to change or repair the discrepancy. On occasion the architect may help with the cost but more often than not the owner pays discrepancy fees.

Here’s example of missing plan details: Our client hired the architect and the plan dimensions on the concrete foundation page where not the same as the framing plan pages. This resulted in the framers constructing to what the concrete team installed which in turn changed the look of the front elevation of the home. This resulted in a change order to the client to make the repair. In this case if Paradigm were hired to do the design/build, the client would not see a charge for this error because we are working within the same firm and in most cases we would have caught the error.

Challenges like this do not happen on every project when the architect and builder are hired separate, but you can see on occasion they do and the client is stuck with the discrepancy or cost to repair. This is why we advocate for Paradigm being hired on from the beginning, to ensure good communication and that our client achieves their goals.

If you are considering a new home or addition project, and aren’t sure what direction to go first… please give us a call and we can help walk you through some of the added benefits of hiring Paradigm to work as your Design/Build firm.

By | 2017-05-23T21:24:06+00:00 April 26, 2016|Project Ideas, Projects, Tips|Comments Off on Should You Hire the Architect or Builder First?