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A good architect usually charges $2/square foot for a totally custom design. What I don't understand is getting plans from a book or the internet. How do you design a building when you don't even know where its being built? That's crazy! You might end up with lots of windows facing west, or have an orientation toward a busy street. Hire an Architect to design your house, you'll be happier in the long run.

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What I would suggest is to use some of these internet sites, not to get your design from, but to find a good starting point. Starting completely from scratch can be a very daunting process.

If you find a plan on line or in a book that you mostly like, but you want to change some things (be it the floorplan, some shape, elevations, etc), it will bring your costs down in the design process and streamline it as well as be less stressful for you.

I've got a designer I work with that I love, he is great in every way. If you want some info, just send me a PM.

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I am looking to build a home and I have a question of cost. Is it better to buy an internet plan or have someone design it for me? The question I have is cost. How much does a draftsman/architect charge to do plans?

Thanks.

I think the only way to go is to have an ARCHITECT design it for you. Prices vary widely depending on who you work with. You need to shop around to see who does the type of work you are looking for. When I was working on a small home I talked to several architects and the fees ranged from $3,000 to $20,000. I went with a lower priced one because we communicated well and he understood exactly what I was looking for. He had done similar projects that he could show me.

Remember that you will still have to budget for soil tests and the related engineering for the foundation. Those two items ran another $2,500.

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I know most members here are all about that AIA stamp, but that doesn't mean there are not extremely qualified and talented designers out there. There are hacks in both. Just make sure you qualify whoever you are working with by talking to some of his previous customers, seeing some of his work (in person if at all possible) and checking with the BBB, local chambers of commerce if they are an architect, the AIA.

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A good architect usually charges $2/square foot for a totally custom design. What I don't understand is getting plans from a book or the internet. How do you design a building when you don't even know where its being built? That's crazy! You might end up with lots of windows facing west, or have an orientation toward a busy street. Hire an Architect to design your house, you'll be happier in the long run.

As many who enjoy the forum are not Architects, could someone describe the acual workings of an architect. There is more than designing the home's layout on the lot & meeting the needs of the homeowner. An architect has to know area governing restrictions, deed restrictions/etc.................

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An architect has to know area governing restrictions, deed restrictions/etc.................

the SHOULD, but don't always. in my old neighborhood an architect's plan violated our restrictions. When the homeowner came by to get plans approved they were not approved because of setback violation. the architect then wanted more money to change the plans.

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the SHOULD, but don't always. in my old neighborhood an architect's plan violated our restrictions. When the homeowner came by to get plans approved they were not approved because of setback violation. the architect then wanted more money to change the plans.

true enough - there is a home on a corner lot in Bellaire across from a school, and apparently the lot owners paid quite a bit for their dream home plans, but oops! the design didn't take into account the correct setback for being across from the school.

these folks sent a petition and flyers around the neighborhood explaining how redesign would be costly, but finally got the City of Bellaire to apparently approve the plans (without changes, i think).

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As many who enjoy the forum are not Architects, could someone describe the acual workings of an architect. There is more than designing the home's layout on the lot & meeting the needs of the homeowner. An architect has to know area governing restrictions, deed restrictions/etc.................

The first step is vetting them. This is the part that isn't the most fun part all the time, but it will pay off in the end. To vet them, you want to speak to as many former clients as possible. You will also want to visit their work, possibly even speak to an engineer who they have worked with in the past as well. You will also want to check with professional organizations like AIA (link) for architects or NCBDC (link) to check their credentials, certifications, etc. You will also want to check with the BBB in your area as well as the city planning department in your area. If there are any problems, these organizations are likely to know about it. Keep in mind, judge each person based on their skills, talents and how they interact with you and whether or not they have had problems in the recent past. Simply being an architect does not make someone more qualified or better than a designer.

After you've vetted them and you have found someone you are comfortable with and whose overall style you like, it is time to get to the knitty gritty. As I suggested previously, it doesn't hurt to do some looking around first and gather your thoughts and ideas on what you want. If you have a place to start, it will make things a lot easier. A good architect or designer will guide you through the process. They will sit down with you, talk you through things, ask you the right questions. A good one will break out a piece of paper and start sketching either in front of you or right after you leave. Just remember to be as specific as possible. This is difficult for most people because often they don't always know what they want, but they know what they DON'T want when they see it. This is another reason why having examples of what you like comes in handy.

The process can be drawn out if you are uncertain of what you want, but the more you can give him to work with, the faster things get done and the happier you will be with the final result.

In my experience, it is generally the home owner who drags the process on. So stay on your toes and deliver feedback promptly.

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Gwilson is correct. Not all architects are equal in ability. But at least they had a thorough background. At least at UH, we had to take many many engineering classes, environmental classes, history classes, along with a very rigorous design path. I'm sure there are plenty of talented non architects designing stuff, but why not splurge since the cost of design is the cheapest component of building a house?

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Gwilson is correct. Not all architects are equal in ability. But at least they had a thorough background. At least at UH, we had to take many many engineering classes, environmental classes, history classes, along with a very rigorous design path. I'm sure there are plenty of talented non architects designing stuff, but why not splurge since the cost of design is the cheapest component of building a house?

I work primarily with a designer. The reason is because of his immense talent. He is one of those designers that is simply gifted. It is quite possible that he is the exception rather than the rule, but I am fine with that because he is great and great to work with.

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  • 4 weeks later...

the answer to the o.p. question is also dependent on wether he/she is building inside the city limits or out. if out you can have anyone design it as long as they can produce good construction documents...

texas911, you went to u of h and took various engineering classes for architecture? what year did you graduate?

I graduated at u of h architecture also and don't recall taking many engineering classes. I just remember the Thadeus course.

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Thadeaus's courses were engineering courses. What would you call it?

my answer indiates what i consider Thaddeus's courses to be.

don't know if you're trying to be sarcastic in stating what i would call it, but the fact that you stated "we had to take MANY MANY engineering classes" comes across as more than just Thaddeus's course.

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My first job after taking a CAD course when I was young was designing houses.

I had absolutley no experience or training. They paid me $5.25 an hour. I sat down with clients and went from nothing to a set of plans all by myself. Sometimes they would call me from the construction site and say things like... "If we build it like the plans say then the walls are going to come up through the roof." I would just give them the run-around and tell them to call back when the owner was there.

So yes, it pays to do research on the person designing your house... :)

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my answer indiates what i consider Thaddeus's courses to be.

don't know if you're trying to be sarcastic in stating what i would call it, but the fact that you stated "we had to take MANY MANY engineering classes" comes across as more than just Thaddeus's course.

Maybe it changed when you went to school, but we had a structures class EVERY semester from 2nd year on up. Its wasn't just one COURSE taught by Thaddeus. In fact he was just a TA when we first started. That doesn't include Bachman's environmental systems classes either. The point is that an Architectural degree is a well rounded education. Give yourself more credit Rachel.

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Give yourself more credit Rachel.

you read into things way too much, and that statement alone shows your an idiot or have a stick up somewhere...

i simply asked what year you went since you stated there were many many engineering courses. i just wanted to see if it had changed from previous years, hence why I asked what year you graduated. Instead of just clarifying or simply stating that the courses may have changed you come up with a sarcastic attitude. people like you will keep haif from growing. here's a few links to help you change your attitude.

http://www.houstonarchitecture.info/haif/i...showtopic=13411

http://www.houstonarchitecture.info/haif/i...showtopic=11917

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Rachel, you're the one calling me an idiot and you have the gall to say I'm keeping haif from growing? Wow, just wow. Pulling to many allnighters I think. BTW, welcome to the forum, newbie.

Edited by texas911
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  • 2 weeks later...

I am new to the forum, but I have found quite a bit of useful info. I am trying to build my own house as well. I have the same question as the original poster but also need a good way of finding a designer / architect. I have spoken with two, both who design houses similar to what I am wanting. The first one was in my budget, but wanted to reinvent the wheel. I had to essentially let him go after paying him a deposit because he refused to put my ideas / needs into blueprints. The second firm we talked with really seemed to want to give us what we want, however they were four times the price of the first designer and totally out of our budget. We have a VERY clear idea of what we want, even to the point of having a preliminary drawing to scale. I would have never thought it would be this difficult to find someone that fits our vision AND our budget. Any ideas would be welcome.

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I am new to the forum, but I have found quite a bit of useful info. I am trying to build my own house as well. I have the same question as the original poster but also need a good way of finding a designer / architect. I have spoken with two, both who design houses similar to what I am wanting. The first one was in my budget, but wanted to reinvent the wheel. I had to essentially let him go after paying him a deposit because he refused to put my ideas / needs into blueprints. The second firm we talked with really seemed to want to give us what we want, however they were four times the price of the first designer and totally out of our budget. We have a VERY clear idea of what we want, even to the point of having a preliminary drawing to scale. I would have never thought it would be this difficult to find someone that fits our vision AND our budget. Any ideas would be welcome.

go here to find a designer make sure they are Certified. They will have CPBD by their name http://www.tibd.org/

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