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How to Know if You Need an Architect for Your Home Project

When you think about drawings or plans for a home, an architect may be the first thing that comes to mind. 

And we’re often asked by clients if an architect is needed for a project. Occasionally, we work with someone who’s hired an architect to draw plans for their home. 

But is hiring an architect necessary, or should you go through a construction consultation first?

Honestly, it’s complicated. Working with an architect can have many benefits. But the important thing is knowing when an architect is required to work on a project.

Do You Need an Architect?

The short answer? No. Not for a residential project. 

But, like many things in construction, it all depends on what you’re doing. 

South Carolina does not require an architect for most residential projects. There are a few exceptions, like coastal homes. Those projects are subject to higher winds and increased risk of flooding, so it’s not unusual for an architect to be involved and sign off on plans before construction begins. 

While the state does not require an architect for residential projects, your city or county might have different regulations. Local governments can create their own building laws, which may require an architect’s signature on plans. 

Architects are required to sign off on all commercial projects.

What Can an Architect Do for You?

Architects are true artists. They can create incredible plans and designs for your home and commercial project. 

However, for most residential projects, an architect isn’t necessary to draft plans and start construction. 

In some situations, hiring an architect is the best choice. For example, if you have a unique design or project in mind, an architect whose portfolio has extensive experience in the concepts you’re considering can be really valuable to your renovation. 

The best thing you can do is hire a construction consultant to help decide if an architect is needed. Then, you can focus on finding the right contractor, working with your bank, and any other specialists who can support your project. 

What to Do Before You Hire an Architect

Before you start a residential or commercial project, you need to know if an architect is required. 

And honestly, it’s hard to find that information on your own. In addition, you’re likely not familiar with local building codes and they’re not easily accessible. 

That’s why it’s so important to go through a construction consult. During consults, we sit down with you to discuss what you’re looking for in a project, provide realistic feedback from our staff builders, and we’ll be honest if you need an architect. 

In some cases, we do recommend hiring an architect. This is mostly for commercial projects, but they can add value to residential work in special circumstances. That’s why we have an Architect of Record (AOR) with Phase One who can step in when needed. 

If you’re considering hiring an architect, you’ll want to ask a few questions and ensure they’re talking to you about essential parts of the project, like construction logistics, if your ideas are possible and your budget. 

If you’re asking, “do I need an architect?” you’ll find the answer in talking with building experts about what you want to do for your project. And the best way to have that conversation is through a Phase One construction consult

October 18, 2022