The dream home in your head is perfect; however, you really want to live in it. In order 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 are building a kit log home or using a stock timber home plan, an architectural designer will need to help you. Here are some things to consider when searching for the architectural designer to make your dream home come alive:
Is 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. This includes the overall building plan as well as schematics for wiring and plumbing. Look for an architectural designer experienced with your niche building type.
Will the architectural designer provide engineered construction drawings?
Heavy snow loads, seismic activity, and other site related conditions dictate what type of engineering your homes needs. Because of this, it is important to know if your architectural designer provides engineered construction drawings, or if this is something you will need to have done separately.
Is the architectural designer familiar with environmentally-friendly design?
Ask whether the architectural designer has previously designed “green” buildings, and about what materials or techniques he or she uses when making designs more eco-friendly.
Can the architectural designer design to your budget?
Building to your budget is key and it starts with your 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. Therefore, 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?
Ask exactly what is provided in your design fee; it limits surprises down the road. Will you receive conceptual drawings or full construction drawings? Do you take away a color rendering or just a floor plan and elevations? Does the design fee include revisions?
Do they offer 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. If professional rendering services are not available, envisioning the look of your home is more difficult.
Has the architectural designer worked with a variety of site conditions?
Each building region has its own unique attributes. Thus, you need to select an architectural designer with experience working in various regions. This enhances his or her ability to tackle vastly different terrain and weather conditions (such as snow loads). Be certain your architectural designer has experience designing for site conditions similar to yours.
What services are available?
Does the architectural designer have options for interior design, landscaping, or outdoor structures? If these services are important to you, know up-front of their availability.
Would you want to live in one of the architectural designer’s previous projects?
When reviewing the architectural designer’s photo gallery, or looking around the office lobby, are you inspired by the drawings and photographs? For example, can you envision yourself living, entertaining, and relaxing in one of the pictured homes? Your emotional reaction to the architectural designer’s work is important; be sure to give it its due.
How 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 you find out what method the architectural designer uses for client interaction and decide if it works for you.
Is the architectural designer involved with the whole building process?
Your architectural designer should participate in the whole building process, ensuring your home is built according to the plans. Not communicating with the construction crew affects the integrity of your home’s design.
Working with PrecisionCraft and M-T-N Design
PrecisionCraft Log & Timber Homes works with its in-house architectural design firm, M-T-N Design, designing the majority of the homes built. M-T-N Design specializes in log and timber homes across both North America and internationally. M-T-N’s architectural designers offer years of experience creating beautiful home designs that work with a variety of site conditions. In addition, by incorporating structural insulating panels (SIPs) and insulating concrete forms (ICFs) for the foundation, you are 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. This ensures the project meets local regulations. A PrecisionCraft project manager joins the process as soon as M-T-N Design starts your design. Further, for project consistency, this dedicated project manager works on your project throughout your contract with M-TN Design and PrecisionCraft. Communication occurs as often as you would like, and through whatever channels you prefer, for the duration of your project.
Choosing an architectural designer for your custom wood home design is a process that should enlighten you, ultimately instilling confidence in your choice of designer.