of Other Professionals
you design and build a house, there are three primary players:
as the Owner
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.
addition, most projects require, or would benefit from, the
services of the following professionals: structural engineer,
licensed surveyor and geo-technical engineer:
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.
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.
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.
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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