Using a series of meetings and a questionnaire, Architects work with you to discover what you expect in a house. Architects map your expectations and needs both quantitatively (the number of square feet, rooms, types of spaces, number of cars to be parked, special areas within the house, total size, number of stories, your expected or affordable budget) and qualitatively (your special desires, your need for light, how you want to use large and small spaces, your ability to be mobile or special physical needs, the relationship between the spaces you will use, individual dreams that you and your family may have about the house, the importance of light at different times of the day and for various activities, how the seasons and seasonal use may affect the design and layout of the house. An Architect can bring a beautiful synthesis of all of these factors to a design based on years of training and experience.
At Rhodes Architecture we create two unique guides to designing a house. A “program” which captures types, sizes, and locations of space and spatial relationships and a preliminary “proforma”, a document that estimates the costs of building your house. The construction cost, the cost of labor and materials is one part of the costs of building a house. An experienced Architect estimates ranges of construction cost, permitting fees and utility fees, the taxes that will be charged on the construction and the costs of professionals who will be required. A well-planned building benefits from a licensed Architect, Structural Engineer, Landscape Architect, and potentially a Civil Engineer to plan utilities, grading, drainage, roads and walks.
Utility fees and planning fees, for example a registered survey to define your land, slopes, trees, and environmental features, may be very prudent or mandatory to meet the requirements of your city or county.
An Architect is not a magician who can perfectly estimate the cost of your home; these planning tools are guides utilizing ranges. The builder you work with (who is essential) together with an Architect and your direction, will determine construction costs including the costs of excavation, foundations and structure, utilities and utility fees, materials and finishes, building labor and a builder’s overhead and profit. These costs will vary with the construction demand in your area, your specific building location and land, and a region’s cost inflation. The Architect will create a cost guide direct a process where a builder, usually a licensed general contractor, solicits bids from many subcontractors and ensures quality and competitiveness of those trades who will build your home.