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  • Merissa Periana

What does an Architect do? Do I need to hire one?


Architects are trained to think about a project on several levels. They have learned several aspects of building science so that they can work with many different disciplines of sub-consultants such as: structural engineers or mechanical engineers this is helpful so that they can solve problem together, the sub consultant thinking about the problem from their isolated field while it is the architect job to review the proposed system and think about how it will integrate in the entire project. It can be a back and forth process the more complicated the project are. For projects that the most minimalistic this comes at extreme coordination and problem solving. A building is a complex system and it takes a lot of persistence to make it look like a piece of art that has no function other than to make a statement.


For example, if you are thinking of a radiant system for your floors in an existing structure this will raise the floor height and add weight. The added dead load (weight of new system) now needs to be accounted for in the existing structure which might need to be reinforced. The architect would then coordinate with the Radiant floor sub and structural engineer.


The bottom of doors might need to be trimmed as well as anything else that would be affected by the new height difference. Which will mean this will need to be known by the general contractor so he can find a sub contractor to cut the doors if someone on his regular staff doesn't cut and rehang doors.


In a new build you might have the desire to have a exposed ceiling, this might need the architect to coordinate with all trades to cleanly place their pipes and conduit together in a way that becomes more of a art piece. When ceilings are enclosed the different trades don't need to coordinate because they can just fit them wherever and they can look messy since no one will ever see them. Which of course the more work the more expensive it is.


Your architect will help translate your dream or ideas into a form that meets your design aesthetic, code, and budget requirements while also incorporating the way you want to live, work or play in your space. Architects take into account environmental analysis as well as material, energy, light, sounds, sustainability, and several other factors as they design the building in whole and in small details. We will create drawings that will provide instruction to the General Contractor on exactly what the vision is.

The architect’s skill set is not just as designers, planners, and problem solvers, but as coordinators, translators, and analyzers.

Architects are licensed professionals that are responsible for the life, safety, and welfare of anyone that enters into a built space. To become an architect, it takes 5-7 years of school, 3 years of hours trained in specific areas, and 8 exams that each take months to study for. The average starting age of a licensed architect in California is 33 exemplifying architects are held to an extremely high standard.


Architect's are not required to be hired on small residential projects. How do you know if you need one? If you are in SF and you live in Condo it is required to hire one. If you are doing a lot of work that affects Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing and Structure it is best to hire one. If you are wanting a new floor plan you might be able to hire a interior designer but if you want intricate structural details. Like large open spaces, custom staircase, or additions it is also best to hire a architect.


If you are in the market for architect now please schedule a free consultation now.



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