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Ten reasons why it’s better to call an architect first, before getting contractor prices for building an addition

1. If a contractor recommends that he is able to provide his own plans BEWARE! A contractor could be motivated to omit some details in order to keep the price low and/or to provide abbreviated plans from unlicensed “designers”.

2. Getting started from scratch requires the imagination and engineering know-how of a licensed architect, where contractors are experts in other ways. Give credit to a builder that frankly admits that creating a plan is not their expertise.

3. Building codes, deed restrictions and property ordinances are the rules that must be followed in any building project.  An architect is professionally responsible for researching the regulations that will affect a given property.

4. Construction takes longer to complete when working from poorly detailed plans, requiring more supervision time for the contractor because ambiguities must be “worked out” on the job.

5. Reputable contractors will always recommend that you get professional plans before they give you a bid on your project. A good contractor wants to be distinguished from other contractors by competitive pricing, swift completion and good workmanship.

6. Contractors may be motivated to charge more for their construction contracts when plans are prepared by an amateur, in order to cover uncertainties.

7. Without an architect, a homeowner could be put in the position of having to depend on their contractor to evaluate their own workmanship. This leads to a potential conflict of interest for the contractor.

8. A homeowner should always recover the money spent for professional plans, saving the difference between competitive bids for the same work. (It’s free enterprise working for the homeowner’s benefit).

9. Building aesthetics are best handled by a professional with an eye for balance and proportion, to blend the addition seamlessly into an existing house construction.

10. An architect is licensed, insured and educated to provide design services and engineering expertise.  A great addition/remodeling project starts with a thoughtfully prepared plan by an experienced architect.

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