Hiring an Architect Q&A
Q. Why should I hire an architect?
An architect's contribution to a building extends far beyond form and aesthetics. It can influence the perception, performance and value of your home or business.
No matter the scale or scope of your project, it makes sense to consult with a licensed architect. Only a licensed architect has the combination of technical competence, professional service and design ability to look after the needs of all aspects of your project.
An architect has the ability to first visualize then present drawings, renderings and 3D models to help you understand your project. An architect will create a design that is tailored to your needs, both now and in the future; one that is not only productive but also a pleasure for its occupants and visitors. An architect knows how to guide your project through the necessary approval processes and to coordinate with the required engineers and trades.
Consulting with a registered architect can result in cost savings. High quality design can reduce operating costs by maximizing the efficiency of the building. Innovative design will raise the value of the property. Allowing an architect to manage your project and coordinate the work of consultants and contractors in both the planning and construction phases can save you money.
In Ontario architects must be licensed by the Ontario Association of Architects. OAA registered professionals comply with the rules and regulations of the OAA, participate in regular, continuing education and development programs, and carry the Architect's Mandatory Errors and Omissions Liability Insurance to cover your project.
Q. What services does Lapointe Architects provide?
Whether you intend to construct a new building, carry out an expansion, renovation or conversion of an existing building, or to investigate the suitability of a site for a future building, Lapointe Architects prides itself in creating a project tailored to your needs and desires. Prior to retaining our services, we offer an initial consultation to allow us to better understand your goals. The following outlines a typical breakdown of our services:
Preliminary Design Phase
We commence each project with a pre-design phase, to gather information about the particulars of your program, schedule and budget. Lapointe Architects can help you select an appropriate site for your project and prepare the relevant Feasibility or Urban Design Study. In the case of the renovation or enlargement of an existing building, we can also prepare accurate measured drawings of the existing building. Lapointe Architects will also guide your project through various planning and other government processes. We will then develop a preliminary design that meets your needs and conforms to the selected regulations. If required, we will appear on your behalf before various planning committees and at public hearings to present and defend your project.
Design Development Phase
After receiving the required municipal approvals, we will further develop the design of your project. During this phase, we will refine and confirm specific details of the project, both large and small. We can also prepare architectural renderings and models if you so request.
Construction Documents Phase
The design drawings will form the basis for the Construction Documents, which include detailed drawings of plans, interior and exterior elevations, sections and construction details that will be used to obtain a building permit and to construct the building. We also write specifications for all elements that are better described in text rather than drawn, including requirements for the manufacture, installation and performance of various building components.
You may also want us to coordinate other consultants' work, such as the structural and mechanical engineers.
Bidding or Negotiation Phase:
Unless you have pre-selected a contractor, the Construction Documents will also be tendered to selected contractors to obtain quotes for the construction of the project. We can help you choose the most capable and experience contractor by reviewing both their bids and their past experience. If the project is over budget, we can also suggest and implement cost savings measures.
During the construction period of the project, Lapointe Architects will be responsible for communication between the client, consultants and contractor, issuing advice, changes and modifications as required. This phase includes site visits to review the progress of the construction and to ensure that the quality of the construction conforms to the design intent.
We can also prepare architectural as-built drawings and can follow up on any deficiencies arising during the warrantee period.
Q. How much do architectural services cost?
We can provide you with a Fee Proposal based on a percentage of construction cost, or we can quote you a Fee based on the assumed scope of work. Since projects vary greatly in scope and complexity, please call us to request a Fee Proposal specific to your project.
Lapointe Architects' fees are often greatly offset by a reduction in a project's construction cost. This can be attributed to our common sense approach to detailing and material selection, as well as accuracy and completeness of the construction drawings. With more precise and detailed drawings, there is less likelihood of costly changes and extas during construction.
Q. Does Lapointe Architects have a specialty or expertise?
Lapointe Architects has completed a variety of residential, commercial, and industrial projects over the past 6 years. But in the spring of 2006, we made a commitment to only undertake projects that have a strong focus on Sustainable Architecture. Our hope is that all of our new projects will be attractive and innovative in design while being energy efficient, easy-to maintain and durable. We would be happy to talk to you about the opportunity to 'green' your project.
For more information about sustainable architecture please review the FAQ's on "Building Green" under the "Resources" tab at the top of this page.