Choosing A Course of Action
Depending on your own needs and the size and complexity of your intended remodeling project, there are several different options for you to explore in attempting to crystallize your ideas. In order that you best achieve your objective, you should attempt to define which of the following alternatives represents the best approach for your project.
1 - Architect / Designer
Major remodeling projects require construction drawings for the purposes of defining a contract and procurement of permits. In cases where your professional remodeler does not provide design services, you may wish to seek the assistance of a professionally trained architect. In any event, it is best to work with a designer experienced with remodeling; he or she will be more sensitive to the special challenges that remodeling presents.
The decision to involve a designer in your remodeling plans does not always pertain to a certain price or size of job. Your own needs, desires and ability to verbalize and visualize what it is you want will determine whether or not you need an architect.
Choosing the right designer will provide you with a person who is able to help clarify the goals of your project and prioritize your remodeling agenda. The architect can further assist you by recommending a competent general contractor, evaluating contract proposals for your job, and inspecting the progress of your job for compliance with building codes and job specifications.
2 - Contractor
Many home improvements such as porch construction, roofing, siding and window replacement may not require professional design services and can best be handled by the experienced contractor whose knowledge of materials and methods has been gained by years on the job.
Here again, be sure to deal with a professional. Even though the job may be relatively small, its successful completion is important to you. Small jobs, too, need careful planning and attention to details. A reputable remodeling contractor will not give you a sketchy proposal hastily drawn on the back of an envelope.
3 - The Design / Build Contractor
Design / Build is a concept developed to benefit the remodeling homeowner by providing both quality design and construction services within the same general contracting company.
A few of the advantages of working with a design / build firm are:
- Knowing project job costs - a design/build contractor knows his job costs, so throughout the design process, the project is being engineered to fit your budget and needs.
- Communications - Remodeling is very complex. Developing clear specifications, and precise, responsible design are crucial aspects of the entire process. The lines of communication that are developed in the design stage prepare the groundwork for a clear, well-run remodeling project.
- Teamwork - When you contract with a professional design/build firm, you become part of a team whose goal is to design and construct a project that will fit your needs.