SELECTING AN ARCHITECT FAQ
The Design team
What is the design team? Depending on the complexity of your project, it could require the services of other design professionals like structural engineers (required for the most part), electrical engineers, mechanical engineers(for HVAC systems- heating ventilation air conditioning), civil engineers, landscape architects, pool/ spa designers, kitchen designers and interior architects/ designers.
This varies from project to project and the majority of smaller houses usually will only require the services of an architect and a structural engineer. Some projects will require the services of a geo-technical engineer and or surveyors. Those traditionally are not par of the design team and are usually a contractual requirement on the part of the owner to provide the required information to the design team. Their fees typically are not included with those of the design team.
Today's technocentric world occasionally requires technology/ networking, multimedia experts, acoustic engineers and theater designers as part of the team.
In most residential projects, a lot of the work is "design-build". In other words, it isn't designed and engineered during the design phases but during construction by the general contractor's sub contractors.
Tools of the Trade -Computer Aided Design
A common and widely held misconception is that all the work is done by computers. Computers cannot design for the architect. They are just another tool we use. Just imagine your typical word processing software that you have on your computer. If you started up the program and left it alone for a few hours, days, weeks or years, there would be nothing typed on the screen.
No "War and Peace" created by the computer. Nothing gets created until somebody inputs information
into the computer. The same applies to computer aided design. Unfortunately the term given to programs that we use to draft or layout our designs implies that the
computer aids us in the design. That somehow it is helping generate the design. Well, if you turn on a CAD program and left it on the same as you did your
word processor, you will end
up with the exact same results. Nada, zilch, nothing.
We use computers to help us generate drawings, plots on paper, research, three dimensional digital models and animations or renderings. Nothing gets done unless we input the information into the computer and tell it what to do. It is a great tool that many architects use to push the boundaries of design and the built environment.
Using computers to get the work done is just part and parcel of today's world. Doing it right, creating proper standards and ensuring a higher level of quality and coordination is a difficult task and not all architects do so. Gerard Lee Architects has a proven track record over the years and we have a set of mature and well developed standards that we share with all our consultants on a project. It is available to our design teams from our secure project web sites and in hardcopy which we distribute during coordination meetings.