Need Help Finding an Architect?
(This will connect you to AIA North Carolina's firm database)
Why an AIA Architect?
Like doctors, lawyers and CPA's, architects are licensed professionals. Only an individual who holds a state license to practice architecture may use the title "Architect." They are the professionals in the construction industry who represent the interests of the building owner.
- College degree from an accredited school of architecture, requiring five years or more of professional studies
- Three year internship under the supervision of a licensed architect
- Successful completion of the Architectural Record Examination administered by the North Carolina Board of Architecture.
Only those professionals who have fulfilled these requirements, or other requirements as stipulated by other states, may legally call themselves architects and practice within the licensing jurisdiction. Reciprocal licensing agreements among the states enable architects to be registered, or licensed, in multiple states.
The "AIA" Designation
By selecting an architect who is a member of AIA, you can be assured that you are hiring an individual that is technically competent and that has the staff resources to keep your project on schedule. AIA architects adhere to a rigorous code of ethics and professional conduct that set the standard for professional conduct.
What is the AIA?
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) is the professional organization that helps architects serve the public's needs and builds awareness of the role architects and architecture in American society. The organization was founded in 1857. Today, with headquarters in Washington, DC, and 300 local chapters worldwide, the organization represents more than 75,000 licensed architects and associated professionals. AIA Triangle is your local conduit to the 680+ members of AIA in Central North Carolina.
What do Architects do?
Architects see the big picture. They solve problems creatively. They help you get the most from your construction dollar. They make your life easier. If you want an architect who is serious about his or her profession and providing you with the best your money can buy, just look for the "AIA."
There are many misconceptions about why you would need an architect and how they can help you with your project. Here a just a few...
All I Need Are Four Walls and a Roof...I Don't Need An Architect.
Not True. Architects help make decisions. After talking with an architect, many people are surprised at their own definite ideas in what they want in a house. Architects help you think about how a building functions. They can design a house that is flexible enough to grow with a young, working couple and who expect children later. They can design an inexpensive, energy-efficient, fully accessible home for retired people on a fixed income. They can show how a house built for one family can be remodeled into apartments.
Anyway, All I Need Is A Builder Or Contractor.
Not True. The architect is the single professional who has the training and experience to guide you through the entire building process. The architect serves as the owner's agent. As the head of a team of specialist (engineers, landscape architects, contractors, etc.), an architect's first obligation is to look out for your interests. Architects' drawings and construction documents, which tell the contractor precisely what to build, set down your exact requirements. Your architect follows your contractor's work to make sure there are no surprises - you know what you will get.
An Architect is A Luxury I Cannot Afford.
Not True. Architects' fees are not just added on top of your project costs. They can save you money in many ways. An Architect oversees your budget and negotiates to get the best materials and workmanship at a good price. Much more importantly, an architect's design can greatly reduce your energy and maintenance costs, which add up to many times the purchase price of the home over time. They can turn a difficult lot into a successful building site. They can spend time planning and developing your ideas fully to avoid costly refinements after construction is underway. They can make sure that bids for construction are based exactly on what you wanted and expected so you really do get the best price. They can find parts of the project that you can do yourself, or show you how to act as your own contractor.
Architects Just Do Blueprints.
Not True. Today, the best answer to the question, "What do architects do?" may be "What do you want them to do?" Renovation? Energy analysis? Site selection? Interiors? Cost analysis? Construction management? In designing your project, architects can add a porch, a skylight - or design a complete house. They can adapt an old building to a new use and keep its character. They can provide cost estimates. They can make a building safe for occupancy. They can fit a building to a difficult site. They can find skilled craftspeople. They can enlarge your present house so you no longer need to move. Or they can just talk to you about how you want your house to be.
Working with an Architect
If you are a first-time client or an experienced client facing a new situation, you undoubtedly have a wide variety of questions, some of which might include:
Architects' Fees: How Are They Determined?
There is no set arrangement for a particular type of project. Fees are established in a number of ways, depending on the type of project plus the extent of services required from an architect. Common methods of compensation include:
- A stipulated sum per unit of what's to be built (I.e. the number of square feet or rooms)
- A stipulated sum based on the architect's compensation proposal
- A percentage of construction costs
- Hourly rates
- a combination of the above described methods.
Your architect will explain how a fee is to be established. Then, the basis for the fee, the amount and the payment schedule are issues for you and your architect to work out together.
The 1998 Means Square Footage Cost Data survey indicates that fees for architectural services on a custom home can range from 5% to 15% of the total cost of construction. Factors that can affect fees include the scope of the project, the level of quality and detail, and economic conditions.