It is important to know the architect's style before you hire him/her. My experience is that architects are more interested in expressing their style than listening or responding to a client. If your dream project is reasonably aligned with his/her style, you may end up happy with the result. Otherwise, not.
Planning a kitchen renovation begins with idle dreams of a beautiful, updated kitchen. Taken to the next step, you will probably start planning out the actual project, visualizing and drawing out a new floor plan, thinking about your ideal additional space needs, and envisioning your perfect design style. From here, you’ll be planning such specifics as where appliances will fit, whether or not you’ll want an island, where extra storage and countertops might go—and before you know it, your kitchen will have grown, and you’ll need to knock down walls and either claim space from other rooms or from outside. At this point, it’s best to call in an architect.
It’s important to consult with an architect when your project involves structural changes. Moving interior walls requires a visit by an architect. While the kitchen architect is at your house, he or she will inspect your home to determine the location of existing load bearing walls, and then advise you on where new supports may be needed for your planned expansion. Even small changes to the structure of your home, such as installing a new window or moving a door, may require some type of reinforcement within the walls.
The architect may go through a number of iterations of your kitchen to find the right combination of doors, windows, and floor plans for your home. Come prepared to meetings with your architect, thinking through any and all lifestyle needs before you sit down and talk about your ideal kitchen. Bring your wish list and any inspiration pictures to show the architect, which transform your ideas to life instantly.
Part of the fun when working with an architect is to explore all of the possibilities for your space, knowing that the architect will keep a close eye on what is architecturally feasible for your home. Since town and city codes require that all structural work must be documented, the architect will be in charge of submitting all necessary drawings and written specifications.
Architects offer a number of services that range in price from a set of simple drawings for permit approval to full-service involvement in your project from beginning to end. Your architect will give you an approximate square foot price for your renovation to help begin your budgeting process. He or she can manage the bidding process to help you determine which contractor is best suited for your project. Each contractor will give you a specific set of plans and specifications that you can then use to compare contractors’ bids to find the best fit for your project and budget.
In a full-service arrangement, the architect may also supervise construction every step of the way, holding onsite meetings with you, the contractors, and the subcontractors. He or she will personally inspect building progress to make sure that the plans for your renovation have been carefully followed.
When construction is involved in a kitchen renovation, it is critical to make sure that your finished kitchen has been well built and is safe for your family and all who visit. Hiring an architect ensures that your home will be structurally sound and well-thought out. Dream on, and you’ll get your architect’s blessing to make those dreams a reality!
It's sad that many times I read on these types of articles and no mention of a structural engineer is anywhere in there. Architectures consult or even hire structural engineers to assess on the load bearing and all at times. Engineers never get the credit. It's alwys the architect this, architect that...Even people get misled, never knowing that it takes an engineer to build a house, not just an architect.
You're so right about that - engineers are another wonderful source, especially if you need specific structural advice and are often able to quickly help.
I like this article and it is very on point, However I am an Estimator for a general contractor which specializes in custom construction especially kitchens and baths, building a whole home design into the spaces and creating a great flow, 99% of homes I walk in to are clients "with a budget" I love architects and it takes alot of my work out of my job but have found that getting one to do the above listed duties for less that about $5,000.00 is pretty rare! I understand that there aren't alot of trustworthy builders out there anymore and maybe $5k is worth the piece of mind for some but with enough research you can find a builder with a great concept for design, undestanding of structural design (load bearing walls) relocation of plumbing and electrical, with the ability to draft your drawings for "hundreds" not "thousands". Any credible contractor better have all the knowledge and desire to pull all permits necessary and build a quality product that satisfies him or herself as much as the client! Don't give up on contractors just yet! there are some good ones left out there.
-Joe Keene- Martin P. McFall Builders Inc. http://mcfallbuilders.com/