Who Should You Hire for Your Project?
When remodeling your home, the main question you may be wondering is, “Who should I hire to do the job?” Well, this depends on the scope of the project you are looking to get done. Who you choose to hire for your remodel depends on the details of the project. Each professional has their own set of skills they bring to the table. Here is a breakdown of what you can expect from an architect, a designer, and a contractor.
You may be interested in hiring an architect if the scope of your project includes a new floorplan layout. If you are looking to make structural changes or complex design that speaks one-of-a-kind aesthetic, then an architect is fitting for your project. They are trained professionals in design theory and engineering. These professionals often even take on project management.
Architects are licensed experts at creating inventive ideas while solving complex design challenges. Often, homeowners hire an architect before a contractor is involved. After meeting with the homeowner, they present a full set of plans for bid that usually include renderings of the outside structure and building details. After making any changes, they redraw the plans for an additional fee.
Architects oversee big-picture elements like engineering, exterior details, safety and code regulations, and energy practice. They create construction drawings that are submitted to officials for building permits. Architects have a license by the state, a degree, have went through an apprenticeship, and pass an exam to prove their skills in building technologies and structural safety.
Rates vary when hiring an architect according to the services they are offering and the region the remodeling or building project is in. The standard cost for an architect can range from $50 to $200 per hour. This cost can also range between a 5 to 20 percent project fee if overseeing your entire project. If you are looking for a standard kitchen or bathroom remodel with beautiful interior design touches, hire a designer.
Designers may not have as extensive academic training as architects, but they are skilled in interior space planning while keeping looks and function in mind. If you are looking to remodel your kitchen, bathroom, family room, or a simple addition, it may be more fitting to hire a designer than an architect.
Interior designers design how the space will feel and look. This includes selecting interior finishes such as choosing cabinets, flooring, countertop materials, backsplash tile, and paint colors. Plans also include coming up with functional features that meet the homeowner’s needs. This includes elements like undercabinet lighting, double-jointed corner cabinets, built-in spice rack cabinetry, and an open-concept layout. If you want a professional’s input, you may want to choose a designer over an architect.
The plans created by the designer still need to be reviewed by a structural engineer. This is to make sure beams, posts, and flooring foundation have approval for remodeling without potential challenges. However, not all designers offer project management. This means you may have to hire a separate contractor yourself to get pricing and build the project.
Designers do not need to have a degree, but you can always ask about the work they have done or by looking at their portfolio. You should also see if they have any customer references or reviews available from previous clients. Make sure you do your research on the designer and what your scope entails before proceeding.
Hiring a designer without a contractor can cost you about half of what an architect would charge. Again, this depends on the scope of the project, what region, and how decisive or indecisive you are. The more time you go shopping with a designer for materials, this will most likely mean that you will be billed for taking up more of their time.
If you are looking for kitchen remodeling, bathroom remodeling, or even a room addition, with beautiful design and function, but do not want to hire two separate companies to do your project, consider hiring a design and build remodeling firm. Design-build remodeling firms provide homeowners a point contact with a designer and project manager under one roof. Design-build companies are licensed and submit permitting for you so you do not have to take the work you would if you chose to hire your own contractor.
From design, estimation, architecture, engineering, and construction, design-build companies manage everything from beginning to end while providing services like specialty trades, equipment, and material options. Going the design-build route also means more accurate pricing with fewer change orders. This is because everyone is working under one roof with better communication. If you are trying to stick to a budget, this option is best for you while remodeling with beautiful design and function in mind. These firms are skilled at remodeling your space with value engineering.
The cost of going with a design-build firm to remodel your kitchen can start at $50,000 and your bathroom at $25,000. This includes all the above services, materials, and labor.
Related: Financing options for your remodel
A contractor oversees the entire project but may not be the most skilled in interior design. They will determine the cost and provide the carpenter, plumber, and other sub-contractors needed to complete the job. Some contractors have a designer they may tend to partner with or may be open to you hiring your own designer of choice. Some can design the project themselves, but this is not where their skill tends to be in, so this is an option if you are looking for basic countertop or cabinet replacement.
Think of it as the architect or designer is responsible for the beautiful design and the contractor is responsible for building it. Contractors’ skills are in removing and installing walls, countertops, cabinetry, light fixtures, and so on.
It is important to do your research and work with a licensed contractor if you choose to hire one on your own. Contractors must pass exams to be licensed. If they are not licensed, they will not be authorized to pull permits with local officials to complete your remodeling project.
Unlike architects, contractors do not typically charge per hour, however, they charge per project. This cost is based off the scope of work, materials selected, and the labor that goes into it. If they must hire more subcontractors, then the price will increase. Contractors will take the price they expect the project to cost and will typically add a 50 percent markup.
Whether you are thinking about remodeling your home or are just exploring options, understand the difference between architects, designers, and contractors. Each of these professionals have value and offer services that are meant for different projects. Once you decide on the scope of your remodeling project, then you are ready to select the appropriate professional!