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An architect is a licensed professional who organizes space. Architects design houses, office buildings, skyscrapers, landscapes, ships, and even entire cities.

For large additions, whole-house renovations, and new kitchens, you should consider hiring an architect to help plan the project. An architect can make sure the esthetic considerations meld with the structural requirements of the project and that the space is both livable and aesthetically pleasing. When it comes to a small addition/remodel such as adding a window or knocking down a wall, you should not hire a architect as the planning and design can be handled by the contractor and homeowner quite easily.

What an architect does

Architects are highly trained in building design, engineering, and ergonomics. At the outset of a remodeling project, an architect will examine your house, listen to your dreams and needs, and then provide solutions and approximate building costs.

Once you’ve settled on a design, the professional can work up simple floor plans or complete blueprints, help select a contractor, work with a structural engineer for permitting, and spot check or oversee construction to ensure it’s being done according to plan.


  • Per hour: $50 to $150
  • Percentage of project cost: 5% to 20%
  • Flat fee: $5,000 to $20,000 on a $100,000 job
  • Most professionals are willing to negotiate fees on remodeling projects. They might agree to a flat fee for the design and blueprints, and a per-hour fee for site inspections and design changes after construction has begun.

Why hire an architect

  • “Any time you’re changing the exterior of the building, making significant alterations to the floor plan inside, or spending more than 5% of the value of the house, you want an architect,” says Stamford, Conn., construction manager William Harke.
  • Architects are trained professionals and have been there and done that. Their knowledge will greatly improve your remodeling experience and ensure it goes smoothly.
  • Architects will be able to:
  1. Clarify and define your building needs
  2. Look a head
  3. Manage your project
  4. Maximize your investment
  5. See the big picture
  6. Solve problems
  • Architects can save you money in many different ways as well. In some cases, it may end up being cheaper to hire an architect than doing the design yourself. Here's why:
  1. Architects plan your project in it's entirety with you and ensure that your project is build as efficient an economically as possible.
  2. An architect can design a building that is very energy efficient that will end up saving you lots of money down the road, something that people commonly oversee.
  3. Architects can help you choose materials and finishes that are durable as well as beautiful and affordable.
  4. A well designed house has a much higher resale value which can mean big bucks down the road.
  • An architect will simply make your life easier.