Do I need an architect for my Maryland or Washington, DC, renovation?

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If you are preparing for a renovation to your Maryland or Washington, DC, home, you may be wondering whether or not you need to hire an architect. 

While no blanket answer works in every situation, the short answer is, maybe. Or, maybe not. If that sounds vague, you’re right. However, every renovation is different, so it stands to reason that every renovation requires individual consideration. 

In terms of permitting, if you are intending to make any structural changes to the home, an architect will have to sign off on it. Each municipality will have its own set of regulations and processes for permitting, but your contractor will be able to advise you on what you need to make it right. 

In any case, all permits need to be in place before the work begins.

When You Need An Architect For Your Remodel

Hiring an architect can give you a lot of advantages in the remodeling process. But, depending on the scope of work to be done, it’s not always necessary.

hiring an architect vs design buildRegulatory Reasons

Sometimes, you will need an architect’s signature on drawings to satisfy municipal requirements. This is something that can be built into the design and planning cost, and it generally doesn’t make very much of a difference in terms of the fees. 

However, if the work to be done is more complex, it may require a higher level of scrutiny. If this is the case, it is something we will know in advance, and the fee will be included in the initial estimate. 

Ultimately, knowing when you do and do not need an architect can save you a lot of money. Your contractor is the best resource for this information, but if you sense that they aren’t familiar with municipal ordinances, don’t be afraid to walk away. 

A licensed contractor in Maryland or DC should be able to answer any questions you have about the process so you can set your mind at ease.

Structural Changes

If your renovation involves significant structural changes or if you are changing the original footprint of the home, you will need an architect and an engineer. Having a higher level of expertise will ensure that every phase of your job goes smoothly and stays within your budget and timelines.

When You Don’t Need An Architect For Your Remodel

Not every renovation or remodel require the input of an architect. Doing so would just drive up the cost unnecessarily. We always do our best to spare your budget any extra expenditures, so we would never suggest something that is not needed. 

Some of the circumstances where you wouldn’t need an architect might include:

hiring an architect vs design buildSurface Changes Only

The vast majority of remodels involve new cabinets, countertops, lighting, flooring, and so on. Because there are no structural changes to be made, bringing in an architect or an engineer is not necessary.

If No Load-Bearing Walls Need To Be Removed

If we are doing a remodel on an older home with closed-off rooms and transforming it into an open-concept space, we may need to remove a wall or two. If the walls are not load-bearing, we will not have to bring in an architect. If there is a load-bearing wall involved, we will need an assessment done to determine the best way to proceed.

Historic Home Remodels 

If your home is located in a historic district, chances are you might be bound by a stringent set of requirements. In these neighborhoods, there is a particular sensitivity towards history and the original architect’s design. Often, there are also a whole separate set of codes and zoning restrictions that need to be upheld. 

Working with an architect and builder who is experienced in historic properties is always a good idea. They have the sensitivity and knowledge you need to make sure your project goes forward as planned.

The Winthorpe Advantage

Winthorpe Design & Build applies a systematic, step-by-step process to complete your renovation. Our in-house team will help you bring your dream home to life. We love taking your ideas from concept to creation, delivering a result that always exceeds expectations. 

We offer complete architectural services that are customized to your specific needs. In any case, you will never have to worry about paying for architectural services you do not require. 

If you are getting ready to remodel your Maryland or Washington, DC, home, we would love to help. Reach out today to learn more about what we can do for you. 

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