How Do New Jersey Architects Typically Work?When you hire an architect for your custom new home or remodeling project, they will develop a set of plans for your home remodel, but before the project is actually priced. Most residential architects in NJ or in any other state operate this way. An architect will ask you some questions to gain an understanding of the type of project you want and what your budget is, but it’s difficult for an architectural firm to know precisely what the project will cost as designed. A common issue arises when you get your set of plans from an architect in NJ, for which you pay in full, and you go out to bid for your remodeling project or NJ custom home project. Typically, you and the architectural firm will put together a short list of 3-5 remodeling contractors in NJ to invite to bid on your remodel or addition. If the bids come in and they are out of line with your budget (usually higher), you now must go back to the architect to have the plans revised, which will be an additional fee as well as extra time added on to the project. It is reported that half of all the architectural plans drawn for residential remodeling in NJ never get built because the remodeling quotes for the project as designed are above the homeowner’s budget.
What May Not Be Included in a NJ Architect’s Project Cost Estimation?In addition to many architects not having a firm grasp on what things actually cost, there are several items that we routinely see that are left out of project estimates. These are all things that homeowners may not think of either, which result in surprises further down the road and add to the overall project costs. Some of these oft unforeseen project costs include:
- Heating and Air Conditioning
- Remodeling or upgrading existing areas surrounding an addition
- Patchwork and painting
- Debris removal
- Lead testing and remediation
- Dust protection
- And more…
Architects in NJ Provide Black and White DrawingsChances are, you have seen new home or remodeling project prints and drawings before. If you have, you probably recall that they are done in 2D and black and white. While this is necessary to ensure proper measurement and layout, it can be difficult to visualize a project, which is disadvantage for both homeowners and the NJ remodeling contractors who are trying to quote the project. Since the drawings are in flat black and white, each remodeler may have a different take on what the project should look like. Since they will all have different visualizations, their project estimates may come in all over the place, which doesn’t help the homeowner too much when it comes time to make a decision.
The Alternative Is the Design Build Planners ApproachOur Better Approach to Remodeling as a leading New Jersey designer is to design and calculate prices in tandem to control your project budget. When we first meet with each homeowner, we go through our multi-point assessment, which helps us to gain an understanding of your budget, lifestyle, etc… Our initial Discover Meeting, part one of our 5-Part Process Design Build Process, includes:
- Lifestyle and design profile consultation to determine how your home can best suit your lifestyle
- Potential work scope assessment
- Universal design and aging in place strategies, where necessary
- Determining which of the four remodeling groups you are in - Do It Yourself, General Contract Your Own Project, Hire an Owner-Operator Remodeling Firm, Hire a Full Service Remodeling Firm
- Repair and renovation options for adjacent areas of main project area
- Dust protection plan
- Overview of possible design options for your project
- Estimated budget and contingency factors
- “Green Remodeling” options to improve household efficiency and be kind to our environment
- Assessment of funding and payment solutions, including sample project schedules
- Outline potential project timeline, including start and completion dates.
Where Do Architects Come Into the Picture?Great question and this is one we get all the time. After we submit our three design options to you and revise your chosen one based on feedback, preferences, and budget, we are able to offer you a final design layout using Computer Aided Design (CAD) software. At this time, we would help you hire a reliable local architect in NJ for your particular project. If you need recommendations for architects in the NJ area, we work with some of the best in every corner of the state, so we can certainly make introductions and manage certain aspects of the homeowner-architect relationship for you. Or if you have an local architect in the NJ area that you know, like, and trust, that will be a suitable option as well. The New Jersey architect that you hire for this project will be able to provide a much more accurate set of drawings because your project is already designed with computer software in 3D full color format, most times with fixtures and products already specified. Because the architecture firm already has this information, they are usually able to design your home or remodeling project much more quickly and for a lower rate than traditional NJ house plans would cost.
After the Architectural Project Plans are CompleteThere are several steps in this part of the process, which you can read about in more depth here, but at this point we are ready to research and hire a remodeling contractor best suited for your project. Because we have already designed your project together based on your preferences and budget, and because the architectural plans are based on our agreed-upon designs, NJ remodeling contractors are able to be more precise with their estimates, which means the playing field is really level and you will be able to more easily compare estimates apples to apples. Again, this saves a lot of time because there are much fewer questions at this stage than with the typical architect + remodeler model without the involvement of the Design Build Planners.
Hire Design Build Planners Before a Residential Architect in NJAs you can see, our process is quite unique and adds a lot of value to homeowners who are either looking to build new homes, put on new additions, or remodel existing areas of their homes. If you would like to learn more about our process and whether the Design Build Planners are right for you, please click below to schedule a complimentary 15 minute phone consultation. Whether we end up working together or not, we love helping homeowners make the best possible decisions about improving their homes.
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