Home Designer or Architect – Who Best to Design My House?

Many have debated the notion of using a home designer or architect. It is a debate that may continue for as long as time exist. What isn’t in doubt is the fact that both home design professionals are capable of designing functional floor plan layouts for home builders and private clients, either for new home construction house plans, a home remodel, or renovation.  However, there are things you will need to consider to determine which is right for you. You should know which of the two are allowed to work in your state. In addition, you should be aware of their experience, and what their services will cost. Interviewing home designers and architects for home design services will help you in making the best decision.

State Laws determine of you can use a home designer or architect

Your state may allow you the option of choosing between a home designer or architect. However, your neighboring state can have laws that restrict your options. For instance, most states in the U.S. allow home designers to provide home design services for residential projects. Home designers can design single family homes, duplex, and townhouses. This even extend to light commercial buildings and interior space planning that falls within a certain building classification and up to a particular square footage. For example, the state of Georgia allows home designers to do single family residential design with no square foot restrictions. In addition, they can also design light commercial buildings like office buildings up to 5,000 square feet. Assembly and educational occupancy, health care occupancy, and care facilities are excluded from this exception. Multifamily housing, apartment complexes, and buildings classified as high hazard are excluded as well.

If you are in a state that have restrictive laws, there is no option between a home designer or architect. Every set of plans are require to be prepared by a licensed architect who is registered with the state. New York is a state that requires architect stamped house plans on all construction documents. This is the only way the plans will be approved by the building permit office. Home Designers in states such as New York, may have a working relationship with an architect to meet these requirements.

Who has the best design expertise for your specific project?

The amount of experience and the specialty is another key factor in deciding between using a home designer or architect. The assumption is that most architects design homes. Actually that is not exactly the case. Most architects tend to focus more on commercial projects and residential as a secondary option. On the other hand, home designers devote most of if not all of their time to residential design. This is not to say that architects should not be considered. However, you should consider their strength and weaknesses based on their past work. Moreover, there should be an examination on how much of their work is devoted to commercial and residential.

How much will it Cost?

Cost is at the top of everyone’s list, although this is listed third here. The home plan design fees are hard to nail down because they vary widely among home designers and architect. On average, architects tend to be more expensive when compared to home designers. However, there are some home designers who are pricey as well. In these cases, your design budget will ultimately determine who you will choose to prepare your one-of-a-kind custom home design.

In the end, choosing between a home designer or architect is a matter of personal preference in states that allow either professional to prepare residential plans. You have to determine for yourself if you can have a working relationship with the designer or architect. In addition, you should choose someone who you feel can capture the essence of your ideas and apply them to your perfect home design. Your budget will also play a role in your decision. Consider each of these factors and don’t let either of them outweigh any of the others.

Last Updated on July 12, 2023

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