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A Remodeler’s View on Using an Architect

A lot of homeowners wonder if they really need an architect to get good results on their home remodeling project.  At Melton, we think the question isn’t “if” but “when” an architect can make a difference.

For starters, let’s look at what an architect brings to a remodeling project: up-to-date knowledge of materials and trends, design skills, and expertise with structural requirements. If an architect designs your addition, for example, you can bet the beams won’t sag and the floor won’t buckle.

On a small-scale remodeling project such as a simple bathroom remodel or a kitchen remodel that uses the existing kitchen’s footprint and layout, you don’t need an architect. Still, having an architect on the team can be an advantage in terms of getting the most creative use of space and materials within that existing footprint.

On a larger-scale remodeling job such as a major kitchen remodel, we think it’s always a good idea to have an architect involved. A kitchen remodeling project, for example, can involve scores of decisions about everything from cabinets and countertops to where to place outlets and how to handle ambient and task lighting.  Having an architect make sure all those choices work – and making sure all the electric, plumbing, and structural considerations work together – can actually save time and money compared with not having things so neatly planned out for the construction team.

On a major home remodel or renovation involving multiple rooms, bearing walls, and structural changes, we think it is a tremendous advantage to have an architect’s skills – and “eye” – on the project. We have an excellent construction crew and project management processes. Still, when an architect has paved the way with smart design concepts and detailed plans, we find things typically go smoother and with fewer change orders because the architect has done so much good thinking ahead of time.

Bottom line: Is it a good idea to remodel with an architect?  We think so – and we continue to see great results because of it.  Does working with an architect have to run up the price of remodeling?  No.  In fact, we find that a good architect, especially one that is part of a design/build company can actually save money by finding creative solutions up front and helping to avoid change orders and “fixes” down the road. This is why at Melton, our design team is headed up by a registered architect.

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