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Architect, Designer or Contractor: Who to Hire for a Renovation?


Written By: Ashley Sutphin
Tuesday, December 01, 2020

If youre going to do a home renovation or remodeling project, you may want to work with professionals for several reasons. Working with a professional in the remodeling industry can help you avoid costly mistakes, can help you get organized, and can bring your vision to life.

There are three main types of professionals you might consider working with on a renovation.

These are an architect, a designer and a contractor.

Knowing what differentiates them from one another can help you make the right decision for your project.

The Role of a Designer

A designer can help you by coming up with ideas, creating plans and steering you in a direction based on your wants and needs. Of those, for many people, drawing the plans can be the most important role of a designer. A basic design plan might include a floor plan and built-in features, such as cabinets in your kitchen. A full-service designer might take the worker beyond that and help with fixtures and finishes. Designers arent typically project managers, however.

Designers can be costly. They can charge hundreds of dollars an hour, and they usually have a minimum project fee of anywhere from 3,000 to 5,000. Some estimates say that you should plan to budget from 8 to 12 of your total project cost for a designer.

If you have an idea of what you like and what you want, you might not need to hire a designer.

The Role of an Architect

An architect will come to your home and go over what you want from your renovation and budget. They will create a plan that will bring that to life. You may work with an architect only for the plan. Some people hire architects for full project management. In that case, the architect will choose contractors and will track their progress.

An architects services can cost anywhere from 50 to 200 an hour, or if theyre managing the project, it may be 5-20 of the total project cost.

If youre doing a renovation that involves taking out walls and changing your layout, you may need an architect.

The Role of a Contractor

A contractor is someone who serves as a project manager when you bring them on for a renovation. They will work with you on your expectations and then make sure those are met. Contractors can give you a complete budget breakdown for the project, and they can also design your project if you want them to.

Something valuable about hiring a contractor is that theyll then find your subcontractors such as electricians and plumbers. This makes your life easier because finding trustworthy subcontractors and then managing them can be a challenge.

Youll need a licensed contractor so they can pull the necessary permits for your project. Contractors usually charge on a cost-plus basis. That means they take the total amount they anticipate the project will cost and they add a markup.

Who Do You Need?

A contractor with experience is likely to be able to deal with a simple renovation as well as an architect, and you can save money. If your budget is tight, you might want to collaborate with your contractor on your design. If you want a bit of help and guidance, you might hire a designer who will offer a consultation.

Finally, if youre doing something like moving major walls for creating an open-concept layout, you might want to consult with an architect because of safety.



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