Saturday, September 12, 2015

Architect, Engineer or Designer - Which Is Best For Your Project?

One of the most confusing aspects of planning a new building or renovating an existing one is deciding which type of professional will best fit your particular project needs. Designers, Architects and Engineers all have different specialties, and each individual professional often has their own niche market. By understanding what types of services each professional provides, you will be better prepared to find the right professional for your needs.

Architects: Architects specialize in producing engaging and thought-provoking building designs to evoke emotion from all who view the building. They are masters of creating aesthetics that are unique and sure to set your building apart. Many Architects will specify the finishes, trim profiles, paint colors, and flooring selections, among other aspects, to ensure that the final design is cohesive with their vision of the project. In order to maintain creative control of the project design, Architects often do all of the drafting work themselves, while sometimes collaborating with an Engineer for more complex structural designs. Architects are able to certify their own drawings for permitting in most municipalities. Architects create designs for both residential and commercial projects.

Engineers: There are several different types of Engineers available, however Professional and Structural Engineers are the most common when it comes to building designs and permitting. Engineering itself typically involves geometric shapes, straight lines, and calculating a lot of loads. Engineers are masters of structural integrity and are often called in to identify the cause and solution for issues in existing homes. Engineers often partner with Architects and Designers to produce structurally sound and visually pleasing permit-ready construction drawings. Engineers handle both residential and commercial designs.

Designers: Designers can be thought of as an intermediary between the services provided by Architects and Engineers. While some designers/consultants have more structural engineering experience than others, most are masters at taking your vision and interpreting it into build-able construction drawings. The services offered can be simple, the minimum needed to permit and build your structure. They can also be much more extensive, including interior material specifications and 3-D virtual renderings of your project. A Designer must work with an Architect, or in most cases an Engineer, to produce permit-ready drawings. Designers are a great choice for clients who need guidance in producing the final design, but also desire more control over the design itself, particularly renovations. Plans drawn by a Designer are in many cases more affordable than those prepared by other professionals, however the requirements of your project and finding the right professional is ultimately more important than the cost of the plans. Designers work primarily on residential projects, but often provide drafting support services for Architects and Engineers on commercial projects.

Whatever your project needs are, there is a professional to help you. All of these professionals are generally aware of what their strong points and weak areas are, and many are not afraid to refer you to a professional better suited for your needs if your needs fall outside of their scope of work. As a result, many residences and commercial buildings in our area are a collaboration between all three professions. At the end of the day, all are working towards making sure your needs are met.

To find out more about our company and the design/consulting services that we offer, please visit our website at