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21 July 2020
Manoj Singh

Why Large Homebuilders Prefer Using Local Architects

When large homebuilders use local architects for their projects, they are having the cake and eating it too, with cherries on top. Architects from or near the project site provide several perks. They can access the site easily and may be able to communicate the design clearly to potential customers. They will be able to ensure local codes are complied with and can be consulted for understanding local market needs. Local architects can update old plans for new codes, incorporate new customer needs (eg. home offices) and adapt quickly to any changed circumstances in the area. Adept at creating residential design drawings, local architects can provide high-quality, reliable residential drafting services for large homebuilders.

Home-grown architects or architects who have been practicing in the general location for several years know the area, the location, its history and its people. Their contribution to large homebuilding projects could prove invaluable.

So, how do architects contribute to these large projects?

Architects design a project considering setbacks, height restrictions and other building codes to comply with zoning laws and other regulations. Architects involved in designing homebuilding projects must also:

  • Consult with homebuilders to determine the sort of lifestyle and family needs of potential homeowners
  • Analyse site conditions, anticipate future views and floor plan orientation, develop conceptual drawings, consider feedback from the builder and specify materials and quantities
  • Create moods, provide options with different styles, colours and finishes, make effective use of exterior views, natural light and artificial lighting, plan for traffic flow within the site and maximise interior spaces
  • Know about product innovations, building codes, material availability and costs
  • Draft plans that are structurally sound, aesthetically-pleasing, functional and meet zoning requirements, can be built within budget, and meets the target customer’s lifestyle requirements and expectations
  • Sometimes, they obtain permits, monitor the progress and troubleshoot on-site work to ensure it meets specifications and that construction stays true to design.

Typically, architects can save expenses spent on building products and supplies for homebuilders and can help reduce energy use and future maintenance costs of new and existing homes. By creating detailed 3D designs, architects can present complex design features for the homebuilder/sub-contractors and reduce errors and expensive change orders.

Benefits of Local Architects

Employing local architects offers several advantages for large homebuilding projects. They include:

  • Taking project ideas from concepts to the drawing board, keeping in mind the location, climate, building codes of the area
  • Creating a design tailored for local sites and anticipating any potential obstacles
  • Using experience with designing homes in the area to maintain a friendly relationship with the local planning authority
  • Recommending reliable local sub-contractors who they’ve dealt with before
  • Knowledge of similar projects in the area and their success rates
  • Having a website with well-documented previous projects in the area, which would show the architectural style they prefer in that location, materials that they have previously used and the construction methods that they employed for similar conditions
  • Sometimes, depending on local politics, land rights and local communities, certain projects may be controversial, complex and involve many details. Architects that have worked with planning authority officials will have developed a personal rapport with them and would result in a practical grasp on what might or might not gain approval.

How do local architects benefit homebuilders that must renovate, upgrade or modify existing structures?

It could be a series of unexpected developments – new zoning requirements, changes in building codes, climate change or even the effects of a pandemic. There may be a time when a large homebuilder’s completed project must be renovated or redefined to adapt to unavoidable changes in circumstances.

At this point, homebuilders will require the services of an architect licensed by local authorities to help create residential construction drawings. Even slight alterations to an existing building can be difficult to make without the services of an architect. Why?

  • Their unique training enables architects to see the potential and the pitfalls of any change and then create detailed plans for the homebuilder to use in that location.
  • Once the new design is finalised by the architect keeping local factors in mind, draftsmen or drafters produce the drawings, which are now created digitally.
  • A good architect can save future expenses for the homebuilder through value engineering, such as designing a feature or element at a lower cost, introduce cost-effective building material or sustainable material sourced locally or prevent costly design errors.

It becomes crucial to factor the cost of hiring an architect into the homebuilder’s overall remodelling budget. To find the right local architect, homebuilders can do a little local research, ask the owners of similar projects or search for them online. Modern architects use a range of software tools, such as AutoCAD, ArchiCAD and Revit Architecture to create detailed residential design drawings for large homebuilders.

Sometimes, for considerably large projects, a team of local architects alone may not suffice to meet deadlines and workloads. Increasingly, overseas firms can provide a solution to this challenge. The right partner will have a large pool of architects who have in-depth knowledge of local codes and regulations and will be able to create homebuilders’ construction drawings and other homebuilder drafting services which are of high quality and delivered on time. Homebuilders value the expertise of local architects, but when push comes to shove, they are happy to accept assistance from offshore alternates, as long as these partners maintain the quality, experience with local projects and knowhow they are used to from local architects.

XS CAD has valuable experience providing residential drafting services, residential BIM modelling, and residential 3D rendering (CGIs) for global firms. Our range of services for architects and homebuilding stakeholders includes providing residential design support, BIM models, residential design drawings and photo-realistic visualisation for large homebuilders.