There have been many occasions where I have met clients through contractors that I have worked with.  A typical scenario would be someone who is looking to put an addition on their home will first reach out to a contractor in order to come up with a design solution and construction cost estimate for an addition to their home. 

This is understandable and makes sense especially to someone who may not have experience with the design and building process.  However, there are several issues which are problematic with this scenario:

  • A contractor will not be able to bid accurately without knowing what structural or other building specifications are required. 
  • This will result in varying bids that are not comparable since the project is based solely on a conversation with the home owner that can be interpreted differently by the bidding contractors.

Speaking with an architect early on, allows the homeowner to better understand the overall design & building process.  I always try to make it a point to discuss the process with my clients during my initial consultation. 

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During the design process, I will review and guide my client’s through many requirements and aid in the decision making process.  Some of the requirements and decisions include identifying client needs and wants, reviewing what the local zoning ordinances allow, what is desirable aesthetically, what constraints there may be structurally, discussing the construction budget, and reviewing the building code. 

Once a design solution is reached and agreed upon, I create a “Contract Bid Set” of drawings which will have, in detail, all the necessary structural information such as joist sizes, beam sizes, rafter sizes, zoning information, building code information, and project specifications. 

This allows my clients to bid the project to several contractors in order to obtain the best price quote.  The contractors can then submit bids that are comparable to one another.

In short, without a proper design, which considers local zoning and building codes, includes the required structure, project specifications, and a formal design resolution that meets the client’s needs aesthetically and programmatically, there would be no true comparable quote that could be obtained from multiple bidding contractors.

I hope you have found this article to be informative.  If you have any questions feel free to contact me at 732-215-4769.

Giuseppe Barberio AIA

G.B. Architect llc