When you love your house despite the need for more space, home additions provide the ideal solution. But ensuring that Virginia additions blend seamlessly into the existing structures can be challenging. Do homeowners need to hire an architect to do this project well? Or are the services of an experienced general contractor sufficient to get the job done?
How an Architect Can Help With Home Additions
Large-scale additions, including those that significantly alter the footprint of your home, involve several stages of work. From the demolition and excavation through to finishing touches, home additions on the main floor or second story “raise the roof” projects can get complicated. The advice and direction of an architect may help you to avoid common problems along the way.
Architects provide the design service, which deals with several key elements of your project.
- How will the existing structure fit into the new building?
- What changes need to be made to the foundation and landscaping?
- Will the existing pitch and line of your roof work with the new addition?
- Do the traffic flow, entrance and stairways work with the addition of more living space?
These types of questions may be above and beyond the expertise of your contractor. Talk to an architect to have questions of this sort handled from the very beginning.
Having detailed blueprints that address each of these vital elements will help to make the addition process faster and smoother. A triangle of open communication between yourself, the architect and your contractor make even the largest problems manageable, and the finished design is likely to be more suited to your lifestyle and tastes.
What Type of Virginia Additions May Not Require an Architect?
Several types of straightforward addition projects may be efficiently and expertly handled without the involvement of an architect. A garage addition can be built right from stock plans and connected to your home with minimal complications. Loft additions do require extensive roof work, but often leave the foundation, entrances and stairways virtually untouched, making the insight of an architect less valuable.
Gauge the experience of your Virginia contractor when considering the value of an architect. Perhaps they regularly work with a local architect or engineering firm and can glean direction and expertise without putting any pressure on the homeowner to hire one. Decide whether your contractor has the resources available to handle all aspects of the design phase and calculate the actual cost of having an architect work for you.
Do Architects Help With Mechanical Design?
Architect firms most often handle the structural designs, floor plans and layout of your new home. They can draw a rendering of the finished product and help you to achieve the desired vision. Architects also handle the task of blending existing architectural elements with new ones, including trim, siding and roof lines.
Your contractor handles all mechanical issues, such as the electrical, plumbing and HVAC work involved in home additions. Licensed plumbers and electricians know how to connect the new space with the current systems, maintaining peak efficiency and ensuring your entire home runs well.
Although architects are not required for all Virginia additions, they may enhance larger projects and add value to your home improvement project. Assess the cost and weigh the value before you decide to hire a local architect.