More than once I’ve been asked whether or not it’s really necessary to hire an architect. Depending on the project scale, the straight answer is no, there may not be a need to hire an architect. But, what IS essential is a comprehensive project plan which is often times prepared by an architect, designer, or design-build contractor. The project plan includes specific details on the entire project scope from beginning to end.
When details are not clearly defined, the likelihood of problems is almost guaranteed. The first problems arise when the contractor must make assumptions on certain details in order to provide a cost estimate or leave those details out of the cost estimate altogether. Either scenario invites the potential for costly change orders and added time to the project schedule, both of which result in heavier stress on all sides. We all know that elevated stress levels create a breeding ground for conflict, therefore leading to further issues.
Take the time to clearly define the project plan with all of the details specified. Estimate the cost as accurately as possible and set a target completion date. It will save you money and plenty of headache medicine in the end. After all, don’t you want to enjoy your investment when it is done instead of being reminded of all the anxiety it caused?