The dream home in your head is perfect; however, you really want to live in it. To do that, you need to get it down on paper. So how will that image in your head become a three-dimensional, honest-to-goodness home? Unless you’re set on a kit log home or a stock timber home plan with no structural changes, you’re going to need an architectural designer. Here are some things to consider when searching for the architectural designer to make your dream home come alive:

Dovetail Log CornerIs the architectural designer familiar with the products used to construct your home?
Mountain-style log and timber homes require specialized materials and methods that will impact construction, from the overall building plans to schematics for wiring and plumbing. Look for an architectural designer experienced with the niche building type you’re using.

Will the architectural designer provide engineered construction drawings?
If you’re building in an area with a heavy snow load, seismic or other site related conditions, it is important to understand if your architectural designer provides engineered construction drawings or if that is something you will need to have done separately.

Is the architectural designer familiar with environmentally-friendly design?
Ask whether the architectural designer has designed “green” buildings before, and about what materials or techniques he or she used to make the design more eco-friendly.

Is the architectural designer able to design to a budget? 
Building to your budget is key and that starts with the home’s design. If the architectural designer designs a home that you cannot afford, you may need to spend extra money and time revising the plan. Be honest about your budget and work with an architectural designer that has the ability to design a home to your specific budget.

What will your architectural designer provide?
Will you get conceptual drawings or full construction drawings? Do you get a color rendering or just a floor plan and elevations? How many revisions are included in the design fee? Do not be afraid to ask what’s included.

Timber Frame Home RenderingDo they have rendering capabilities?

In addition to design drawings, you will want images of your home rendered in a detailed sketch, computer-enhanced drawing, or even a 3-D model. The architectural designer may do this or hire a service to produce renderings. Envisioning what your home will look like is more difficult if this service is not available.

Has the architectural designer worked with a variety of site conditions?
Architectural designers who have worked in only one building region may be limited in their ability to tackle vastly different terrain, or weather conditions (such as snowload) that will impact your design. Be certain your architectural designer has experience designing for your site conditions.

What services are available?
Does the architectural designer have options for interior design, landscaping or outdoor structures? If these are important to you, know up front if they are available.

Would you want to live in one of the architectural designer’s previous projects?
When you review the architectural designer’s photo gallery, or look around the office lobby, are you inspired by the drawings and photographs? Can you envision yourself living, entertaining and relaxing there? Your emotional reaction to the architectural designer’s work is important, so be sure to give it its due.

Technology to CommunicateHow will you communicate with your architectural designer?

With today’s technology, it is easier than ever to communicate. Because it is quite common for your architectural designer to live somewhere other than your build site, communication is paramount to the success of your home’s construction. Make sure to find out what method the architectural designer uses to interact with clients and decide if that works for you.

Is the architectural designer involved with the whole building process?
Find out whether the architectural designer will participate in the process, including monitoring the project’s progress, and advising the builder as necessary. If he or she is not willing to communicate with your crew during construction, the integrity of your home’s design could be compromised.

Working with PrecisionCraft and M.T.N Design
PrecisionCraft Log & Timber Homes works with its in-house architectural design firm, M.T.N Design, to design the majority of the homes it builds. Because M.T.N Design specializes in log and timber homes built throughout North America and internationally, the architectural designers know how to create beautiful home designs with logs and timbers taking into account differing site conditions. In addition, by incorporating structural insulating panels (SIPs) and insulating concrete forms (ICFs) for the foundation, you can be assured that your home maximizes energy efficiency.

M.T.N Design provides clients with color renderings as well as full engineered construction drawings stamped by engineers local to the build site to ensure local regulations are met. A PrecisionCraft project manager is brought into the process when M.T.N Design starts your design. This project manager is assigned to your project for the duration of your contract with M.T.N Design and PrecisionCraft to ensure consistency in your project. Communication occurs as often as you would like and through whatever channels you prefer throughout your project.

Choosing an architectural designer for your custom wood home project should be an enlightening process, and one that leads you to a professional who instills the confidence to move ahead with your custom log or timber home plans.

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