Working with an Architect: A Homeowner's Guide to Designing a New House

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To successfully design and build the home of your dreams, you need to work with a qualified and experienced architect. An architect plans, designs, and coordinates the construction of a house and ensures the completion of the project on time, and within budget.

The Benefits of Working with an Architect When Building Your New Home

  • A professional architect will ensure a home building project meets the family's current and future needs and requirements.
  • A good architect can design a home's spaces for specific activities or user needs.
  • An architect can use creativity and problem-solving skills to anticipate the obstacles and challenges of a project, which can provide early mitigation and save the homeowner money.
  • Architects can perform a site analysis that maximizes energy-efficiency by home orientation and house frame specific landscape features to save homeowners money.
  • A good architect designs a home with high indoor environmental quality (IEQ) components like high-quality air, light, and sound quality - which improves the comfort and health of the occupants.

A Guide for Working with an Architect to Design Your Home

When designing a new home, architects can provide vital guidance to future homeowners by helping them define their goals and fine-tune the exterior and interior design. An architect understands structural integrity, local building codes, green design, and other crucial engineering and legal components of building a new home.

To successfully construct your new dream home, you must select a qualified and experienced architect, clearly identify your goals for the new house, provide excellent communication, and respect the architect's expertise.

1. How to Choose a Knowledgeable and Experienced Architect

Future homeowners and their architects work closely together throughout the home building process; therefore, the homeowner must feel comfortable with, and trust the architect's professional opinions.

When interviewing an architect for your new home, you should ask the architect several essential questions.

  • Can you provide recommendations from past completed home projects?
  • Do you have the expertise to complete our home project?
  • Do you know and understand current market trends and construction techniques?
  • Do you have a good record of delivering home projects on budget?
  • Do you believe you can achieve our homebuilding goals within our budget?
  • How often do you typically stop by a job site?
  • Finally, ask the architect about their fee schedule timeline for project delivery?

2. Homeowners Must Clearly Identify the Goals for Their Future Home

Before meeting with an architect, the homeowner should have a clear understanding of what they want and need for the interior and exterior of their new home - this includes both current and future requirements. Collecting floor plans, images, and product information can help an architect understand a homeowner's expectations for their future home.

It is important that the homeowner has a realistic budget. Homeowners that provide an architect with a feasible budget and organized design goals will create a path towards successful project completion. It is important to have the architect develop a design that exceeds minimum building code requirements and build for the future. This instills value to the home and well being for your family.

3. Establish Good Communication with Your Architect

A good working relationship between homeowner and architect depends on excellent communication. For example, once a homeowner selects an architect, the homeowner must thoroughly communicate (to the architect) what they want and need in their future home. With this information, the architect can make design suggestions to ensure the homeowner meets their goals and stays within budget.

However, the responsibility for quoting the project belongs to the contractor. To stay on budget, the architect should always communicate to the contractor any important information he or she gathers during a client meeting and vice versa.

As the project progresses, the architect's responsibilities include immediately contacting the homeowner when choices exceed the budget. To stay on budget, the future homeowner must respect the architect's expertise.

To successfully build a new home (within budget), excellent communication between the client, architect, and builder must occur.

4. Respect the Architect's Building and Construction Knowledge

Clients that want to stay on budget and reach their construction goals should listen to their architect's building and construction expertise.

  • Knowledgeable architects ensure compliance with codes and local requirements and standards for new home building projects.
  • Architects also help clients choose the latest high-performance building features and systems, durable building techniques, disaster-resistance, energy-efficient and low-maintenance materials, and healthy IAQ.

Why Fox Blocks ICF Walls Meet Architect's and Homeowner’s Demands for a High-Performing Home

Today's architects and homeowners demand energy-efficient building materials and assemblies, including high-performing walls. Homeowners and architects also want walls that provide disaster-resistance, durability, healthy living, and excellent indoor air quality (IAQ).

The movement towards energy efficiency is not slowing down. It’s quickly become a standard feature that all new homeowners want, and they shouldn’t settle for less in today’s market. Why waste money unnecessarily on a home that is not efficient? Homeowners also need to know that they are living in a home that is healthy for their family, and for the environment.

Fast and easy-to-install Fox Blocks insulated concrete form (ICF) wall systems are an ideal product for achieving the following;

  • Fox Blocks may be used for below and above wall assemblies exceeding energy code requirements.
  • Energy-efficient Fox Blocks save homeowners money with a high thermal mass and an R-value of 23 that exceed the requirements of the ASHRAE/ANSI 90.1 energy code.
  • Fox Blocks create disaster-resistant and durable homes;
    • Maintain their integrity during severe winds of over 200 mph.
    • Resist projectile debris moving at speeds higher than 100 mph.
    • Furnish superior firewall protection.
    • Provide shear walls that extend the full height of every side of a structure, which provides earthquake resistance.
    • Produces solid continuous monolithic concrete and permeable walls that resist moisture, which can cause damaging mold.
  • A Fox Blocks home provides a family with excellent IAQ:
    • ICFs provide air- and moisture-resistance, which protects against unhealthy mold.
    • Do not contain VOCs.

To successfully build a new house, the homeowner must hire an experienced and qualified architect. It is important that the homeowner clearly identify their goals to the architect, establish good communication, and trust the architect's expertise.

Contact Fox Blocks for more tips on working with an architect with designing and building your new home.