Architect services to build an addition

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We are planning to build an addition and we are looking for an architect. We are on super tight budget and want to minimize what we need to spend on an architect.
What type and level of services does an architect provide and what we can do ourselves to lower this cost? We more or less know what we want to build. If for instance we provide architect blueprints of our existing house with all measurements and various images can this possible mean he won't need to do it himself and even visit our house?
Hiring an architect is a responsible step. Do they usually provide a free consultation so we can talk to him or her and figure out if we like him?
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ls02 wrote:

I asked what do architects do for home additions at google: http://tinyurl.com/ybm8598 or... http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=what+do+architects+do+for+home+additions&sourceid=navclient-ff&rlz 3GGGL_enUS177US215&ie=UTF-8
Lots of info
Lou
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You're not ready to build. A good architect can actually pay for himself with saved aggravation and trouble. Of curse you want value for your money, but with your quest to save every penny you can end up in an adversarial relationship. Also, figure to spend more that what the estimates come in at. Just reading your post, I'd not work with you on the project.
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Amen to that. A reasonably good architect can save you money by making you realize the pros and cons of certain ideas (including the ones you haven't thought of). A good local architect can also help you stay away from contractors you wouldn't like if all is done/not done). In addition, some kind of engineer might help on top of what the architect designs. As example: We had steam heat and wanted an 8 foot extension. At first that was thought of as just another steam pipe to the addition. However, a plumber friend said that the pitch would likely be too low and other things, and a pump for hot water circulating from the steam boiler would have maintenance problems. Since much of the house was going to be opened during construction, we decided to replace the steam boiler with a hot water heating system. That was 10 years ago, and now we are really happy!!
--
Best regards
Han
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And I am not hiring you. I have experience of doing project both big and small, myself, including dealing with permits, inspections, etc. I built two bathrooms in my house, did complete finishing basement, changed all plumbing in my house, 50% of electrical, completely redone kitchen, replaced all windows, changed insulation in entire second floor, do all carpentry including building cabinets, vanities, trims, etc. I also rather proficient in engineering and structural terms and did several structural calculation myself. I used some CAD software in past.
I never worked with architects though. But my BIL is a professional architect, though he is not licensed in my state and therefore cannot provide me official blueprints. He is also said that it is custom that architect provides various degree of service, from just blueprints to full supervision of work with almost daily visit of job site. What I need from an architect is to confirm my plans and advise me of certain issues I have doubts with. After I obtain permits I feel confident I can manage the project myself acting part as GC and part doing work myself.
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And I am not hiring you. I have experience of doing project both big and small, myself, including dealing with permits, inspections, etc. I built two bathrooms in my house, did complete finishing basement, changed all plumbing in my house, 50% of electrical, completely redone kitchen, replaced all windows, changed insulation in entire second floor, do all carpentry including building cabinets, vanities, trims, etc. I also rather proficient in engineering and structural terms and did several structural calculation myself. I used some CAD software in past.
I never worked with architects though. But my BIL is a professional architect, though he is not licensed in my state and therefore cannot provide me official blueprints. He is also said that it is custom that architect provides various degree of service, from just blueprints to full supervision of work with almost daily visit of job site. What I need from an architect is to confirm my plans and advise me of certain issues I have doubts with. After I obtain permits I feel confident I can manage the project myself acting part as GC and part doing work myself.
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"ls02" wrote "Ed Pawlowski" wrote:

la de la. If *true* you'd nevr have asked that question. You'd already know the answer.

What you want is someone willing to work for pennies and provide top dollar service for free. It doesnt happen that way.
You might be a decent person but all we can see here is what you write and it came off like one of the posts where a person claims a grunch of experience they dont have, 'trying to look cool'. Warning, there are many here with *real* experience. They are happy to say where they lack it. For example, I am no electrician at all, but i can talk a newbie through rescreening a wood porch. Shrug.
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Where did you get I "want is someone willing to work for pennies and provide top dollar service for free"? I want as much service as I need and I am ready to pay fair fee for that service. I just don't need to pay for the service that I don't need. For instance I know this from my plumbing inspector that some plumbers offer service when they verify and advise you on DVW diagram or draw it themselves and you then do all the work. Essentially, you pay for their expertise and obviously it costs way less than them doing all the work.
Regarding my experience I can only speak from the work I did. But it does not matter. I did not ask you to judge what I can or cannot do. I asked rather straightforward question, what level of services an architect provides. If you don't have anything constructive to say, just stay away from this thread.
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ls02 wrote: ...

All depends on the architect and what you contract for (and what any particular individual/firm is willing to do piecemeal as you're asking).
In general, most will not want to work under the type of constraints you've described; particularly if you do need professional stamps; they have very specific requirements of level of oversight required to provide that certification that has strong ramifications on their liability. Ditto for engineering.
As someone noted, if you don't need the certification, you're best bet may be the individual w/ some training but w/o the certification.
Best advice I can give would be to get some recommendations from acquaintances and make some local contacts w/ some of the local firms and talk over your wishes w/ them and see if you can find one that will work on those terms. All they can do is say "no" or "yes" or "yes, but..." but you'll never know from usenet what you can find locally. For one thing, you make no indication of whether you're in a sizable population center or not--that may and probably will have a large bearing on the availability.
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Good
Then he should be able to answer all your questions and perhaps even suggest a particular one to call locally.
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He works work for a large architectural firm that designs commercial building. He does not build residential housing. Besides he work 60 hr a week and does not have time to assist me with my project. He also is not familiar with building code in my state, for instance he does not know the depth of frost level so he does not know how deep the footing should be.
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ls02 wrote:

Hi, Using architect is very expensive. When I did it on my last house, We knew exactly what we wanted. After consulting with a structural engineer, hired a very reputable friend general contractor. Blue prints for permit were produced by an architectural draft person for a fee using CAD. This way it cost lot less than hiring an architect. Result was more than satisfactory. When we sold the house, we recovered the cost of addition quite a bit.
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If you know so little about the process, you should not build. Super tight budget? Minimize on what we spend on an architect? It is what it is. Are you going to insist that you will only spend so much on the plumbing and so much on the electrical? If the answer is yes, then there will be places where there are switches but no wiring, and sinks but no drains or water.
It all depends on what you are building, and the community you live in. We did a 1200sf addition to our home, and in our community, the permits were $280, and we provided a scale drawing on a couple of large sheets of graph paper. Cost, about a quarter. Everything was code. Whether or not you need an architect depends on how fancy your construction will be. If it is going to be that fancy, then you really need one, and they charge what they charge. If you can't or won't pay what the man wants, do some redecorating.
Steve
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SteveB wrote:

Hi, Actually reading OP I was thinking, champagne on a beer budget, LOL!
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Is there an architecture school anywhere near you? Students design much more than anyone can possibly build thus would probably be glad to work for you at cut rates, and you might be able to get faculty members to supervise as part of the students' professional training.
--
Don Phillipson
Carlsbad Springs
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ls02 wrote:

Unless local laws or your bank requires it, you usually don't need an AIA-stamp wielding architect for a residential addition. You just need a good experienced residential designer. That is the business my father has been in for 50-some years, and he is still turning work away.
Ask friends and coworkers who they used for their last remodel (especially if you like how it turned out), and ask the local custom builders who does their design work. (NOT a chain builder, the small guys who only have 4-5 houses underway at once, and who also do remodels.) You should hear the same 2-3 names pop up more than once. Those are the guys to talk to. To keep out the dreamers, most good designers charge a few hundred for the inititial consult/walkthrough and rough sketches. If the project proceeds, that is credited against the buildable plans. If you also want him to monitor the progress of the project to make sure the contractor doesn't screw up, that will cost more, and not all designers offer that. Any designer who has been in business awhile will know which local contractors have a good track record.
If you know any doctors outside of their offices, ask them. Doctors (actually, their bored wives in most cases) are my father's best source of repeat business and word-of-mouth referrals for new houses and remodels. They tend to hang out together, so when one gets a new McMansion, or even just a new kitchen, all the others learn all the details.
As to how to save a few bucks- if you can get a set of the as-built plans of the existing house, and a good plat of the lot showing where the house sits, where the corner pegs are, and where the utility feeds and easements are, that eliminates a chunk of the up-front gofer work for the designer. That shows him where the addition CAN go. If the designer doesn't insist on a site visit, you don't want him doing the work. Nothing replaces a site survey by experienced eyes. Pictures can't hurt, if your first meeting is at his office, but he or his assistant will still need to field-verify the critical dimensions.
-- aem sends...
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Our building code requires all structural work (and addition certainly falls into this category) to be stamped by licensed architect.
I already did survey of all sewer and gas lines on my property. Addition will not involve adding or modifying any of them. Most of the addition involves another level over existing first floor except enclosed porch that is relatively small. If I have stamped plans I can certainly apply for permits myself, I did this already four times, very familiar with the procedure and all inspectors know my personally.
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ls02 wrote: ...

Well, you'll have to have a fair amount of engineering to verify the existing foundation will be adequate to hold a second story and possibly the engineering to retrofit it if it (as is quite likely) isn't.
Taking the plans to actually get the permits is simply gofer work; what you'll save by that kind of thing is minimal at best imo.
Not to mention, unless you're financing this all up front, there's the issue of serving as your own GC to satisfy w/ whoever's going to fronting the construction loan...
--
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The house is colonial, second story extends only half over the first one. Almost all houses in my neighborhood which were originally the same had this addition built with second story extending over entire first one. None of them did any foundation work, so I have a lot of real life examples that I see out of my window every day.
Regarding working as GC, yes there are challenges here. However I do not see how it affects my working with architect. I have a friend who rebuilt his entire house and worked as GC doing at least half of the work himself. I will be doing a lot of work myself. I need someone to put up frame, exterior sheathing and maybe house wrap and roof and I also need HVAC contractor who I already have (the one who installed HVAC in my house 10 years ago). I will install all windows myself, put insulation, will do all electrical and plumbing, drywall, interior work. I am also fine with most of the all materials since I did this numerous times.
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ls02 wrote:

Hmmm, Your neighbors, your numerous experience and you raised the original question? That is funny. For me instead of doing addition, etc. on an old house, I moved 5 times building new house with experience learned from previous one. I am too old to do it any more but still my present house is not perfect for us two. Now kids all grown up and on their own. Only time I used full architectural service was when I built my cabin. We went to the building site. Started with soil testing, from design to finish he acted as project manager. Result was 110% satisfaction. Money well spent! He is a PE and licensed arch.
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