What is an Architect’s Role in Custom Home Building?
By Pat Cardoni
The architect is the most highly educated of all the players in the game of building your custom home. They have to have knowledge of all the systems involved in constructing your home.
Architects will design or propose their idea of your project, while being mindful of all city regulations, especially the City of Chicago. So yes, they have guidelines to follow to get your ideas approved. They will give you ideas that you can accept or modify until you arrive upon the final design. Some architects will then pass your plans off to one of their associates on the technical side.
Mechanical engineers are the ones that ensure that the load bearing walls, beams, and foundation can actually pass the stringent mechanical requirements of city and county regulations. All regulation in the housing industry is for your safety. In other words, they assure your house does not fall down after being built.
Architects also have assistants for measurement or interior/exterior rendering or other details of your project. They often get to be the quarterback that gets all of the glory while the linemen (associates), put together all of the hard work.
In most cases, the architect is also the one responsible to submit the project to the city for approval. It is their plan set that has to stand up to the requirements of the city. Some architects can self certify their plans. That means that the city will not require additional structural engineer review, assuming the home passes all basic code requirements. Other cities will send in plans for full review. Remember, you are paying for everyday your project. Whether anything is going on or not, time is of the essence. Self certification can save you interest and taxes as it is a streamlined approval process. It is important to know the process and timeline that your city will take when planning to build or reconstruction a custom home.
Be proactive with your project. Ask for timeframes and check back often as things do end up sitting in certain departments in the city regardless if you are in Chicago or Naperville, or Springfield. It is your money make sure your municipality or your architect doesn’t forget that.
Next week : Designers (Don’t confuse Architecture and Design)