Role of Other Professionals

When you design and build a house, there are three primary players:

  • yourself as the Owner
  • the Architect
  • the Builder

The Owner contracts with the Architect to design the house and to prepare the construction drawings and specifications, which become the contract documents. The Owner signs a separate but related contract with the Builder who will construct the house according to those construction drawings and specifications. The Architect's role is to serve as the Owner's agent during the bidding and negotiation phase on through the construction phase and warranty period.

In addition, most projects require, or would benefit from, the services of the following professionals: structural engineer, licensed surveyor and geo-technical engineer:

The structural engineer is typically required by the municipality issuing the building permit; while some structures might be adequately designed by lumber yard, rule-of-thumb minimums, most modern structures are complex enough that we would insist on using a licensed engineer for the structural design of the frame and foundation.

The licensed surveyor is important because she determines where the boundaries of the property are, which has both legal and practical consequences. The surveyor can also provide topographic information such as contour maps, location of trees, rock outcroppings and other features. This information greatly assists in properly locating the building for optimum appearance and performance. Ideally, the survey information is provided in a 3D CAD format to speed the design process; paper versions can be used, but some accuracy is lost in the translation.

The geo-technical engineer takes core samples from the site in the footprint of the proposed building to determine the actual soil conditions. These samples are translated into a soil report which specifies the structural bearing capacity of the soil, the swell potential, the approximate height of the water table and other data which impacts the building. Some areas of the country have fairly uniform soils conditions across a wide area; designers then work off of rules-of-thumb, based on the experience other people have had in that area. In areas with potential swelling soil, the municipality often requires a soils report; if there is a possibility of swelling soil, it would be good practice to get a soils report, regardless of whether it is required.

A landscape architect, interior designer and various artisans may be included; depending on your goals for the project they can add special features and bring a specific area of expertise to the "visuals" of the project.

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Earth and Sky Architecture, Colorado's leading sustainable residential home architect, specializes in evocative, compassionate, and environmentally responsible house design. The Rocky Mountain Colorado passive solar home designer is committed to designing homes that harness the energy of nature to create a serene sense of comfort and significantly reduce long-term maintenance expenses. The sustainable home architect in the Denver Metro Colorado offers custom luxury homes and residential passive solar home design for a reasonable price. Front Range Colorado green home architect can offer passive solar home design. Paul Adams, licensed Colorado architect, was a leader among his peers serving as president of the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS). He was also a finalist in the Walter Wagner Education Forum, a national educational award for architecture. Paul Adams is a sustainable architect. We design Colorado solar homes.