Whether you want a simple room remodel or a brand-new structure, you’ll likely have both an architect and a general contractor working on your project. However, you don’t want to hire these professionals just because they excel in their respective areas. You also want to make sure they can collaborate as a team to ensure the best possible outcome for your project.
Double the Knowledge
An architect formulates a room or building design based on their client’s imagination. They will create schematics, blueprints and artistic renderings or construct a model of what your new living or working space will look like based on what you’ve told them about your day-to-day needs and design preferences. They also understand what design materials will best complement each other for a more cohesive space.
A general contractor, on the other hand, is responsible for constructing the building itself. They will organize and execute the project by providing material, labor and equipment. It is their responsibility to hire specialized subcontractors to perform the work, such as framers, electricians and plumbers, then see the project through to completion. Success in this role is heavily dependent on construction knowledge, legal understanding of building codes and project management skills.
Hiring experienced general contractors with a proven reputation is important when you’re investing a significant amount of money in home improvements you’ll be living with every day. The wrong contractor has the potential to cut corners on material, work with inexperienced subcontractors or perform hasty, shoddy work. At DMG, we take pride in the quality of our detail-oriented craftsmen and the communication we establish with each client to ensure they are fully informed about the progress of their home improvement project every step of the way.
There has been greater crossover between the architect and general contractor positions in recent years. Some contractors provide advanced schematics and blueprints and some architects are familiar with which building materials are most cost-efficient. However, for the most part, these two professionals have complementary rather than overlapping skill sets. Sharing their knowledge earlier in the process helps ensure optimal decisions are made every step of the way. It’s not uncommon for some of those early decisions to have significant impacts late in the game as the build inches closer to completion.
On occasion, an architect will create a fabulous design only to realize the materials are cost prohibitive for the owner. In this case, a general contractor who is highly familiar with ever-changing material prices can recommend an alternative to stay within budget. They can also provide insight about which design details do not adhere to local building codes, saving you money by steering the project in a different direction before construction begins.
Adherence to Time Constraints
General contractors have worked hands-on with every material under the sun. They will have a good idea how long your project will take from previous experience, whereas architects have typically spent less time on actual job sites. An architect can benefit from a contractor’s time management skills early in the design process so fewer revisions will need to be made come build time.
A highly present architect can also speed the process along by touching base and giving the contractor the answers they need in a timely manner. For example, if a contractor knows an aspect of the design must be adjusted for practical reasons, but cannot get a hold of the architect, they’ll have to either wait or make a judgement call that could result in delays or dissatisfaction down the road.
Execution of the Client’s Vision
Architects tend to excel in accurately codifying clients’ ideas and bringing them to fruition. Whereas contractors focus on efficiency, scheduling and practical concerns, architects understand what you originally want from the space before adjustments need to be made. Thus, they are great advocates for your vision during times when you don’t have the design and construction vocabulary to accurately express your wishes.
Of course, a skilled general contractor should also listen to their clients, but sometimes an architect is a good mediator because they have a better understanding of where the contractor is coming from.
It’s important to have your architect and general contractor on the same page from the get-go for a headache-free experience. Everyone knows the frustration of being left in the dark. That frustration is only exacerbated when thousands of dollars and weeks of time are on the line. Poor communication in such a situation can only lead to disappointment and disaster.
Save yourself some sleepless nights by choosing an architect and general contractor who express a desire to collaborate with others and emphasize clear, prompt communication. This way, any surprises that crop up after breaking ground can be dealt with swiftly and efficiently without conflict.
Start Your Next Project With DMG
Whether you are a home or business owner, DMG can guide you through the process of a new build, remodel, renovation or add-on. We are a general contractor located in the New Orleans area that understands the importance of collaborating with designers and architects to ensure client satisfaction. If you are interested in a new space that is as stunning as it is functional, call us at (504) 275-6664 today.