The choices can be confusing and the wrong choice can be costly, adding thousands to your building or remodeling project. It pays to know who does what to whom in the mix, so here's a quick guide to help sort it all out:
Architects are trained in the history of buildings, building design, the planning and engineering of the building and the art of making it all not just workable, but aesthetically-pleasing. It is part of their job to come up with the ideas needed to not only make sure a design will actually work in the space, but overcome any problems that might be inherent in a structure or site. For any big structural change (particularly involving roof lines or load-bearing walls) engaging an architect is imperative.
Architects will also come up with a set of plans, compliant with local codes, and some may (for extra fees-sometimes up to 10% of the gross construction cost) manage the entire project for you, though this service is not particularly their specialty. Usually homeowners contact an architect before they contact a contractor and have a set of plans drawn up (including plans for the outside of the structure, site elevation and all the interior details) so that contractors can bid on the project. Caution: Once the bidding starts, any changes to the plans usually incur a fee for the plans to be redrawn.
FYI: The initials "AIA" after an architect's name means they are a member of the American Institute of Architects; licensing is a separate issue and overseen by the individual states.
These professionals are experienced in interior space planning and kitchen design. Some are certified or a member of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID). If you are remodeling or renovating a kitchen, a designer may have all the experience and skill you require, with no need for an architect (and their services can be less than half of what an architect will charge.)
Designers will prepare a set of conceptual drawings, based on your ideas and requirements for the space. The plans will then be reviewed by a structural engineer (to make certain everything envisioned is safe and up to code). Designers usually don't offer project management services.
Some designers are not only trained in the art and style of kitchen design, but have significant experience with space planning (including vital traffic flow), engineering (including electrical layout), cabinetry, and structural planning (some may even hold an advanced degree in architecture.)
These hybrid professionals create a design based on extensive discussions with you and their knowledge of design and usage. They either work collaboratively with your contractor or may act as project manager for the whole construction process—recommending contractors, choosing and receiving all materials, overseeing the work on-site, making sure all is done properly and finished on time and within budget. This is the type of designer you want if you would prefer not to handle the daily details with the contractor yourself.
This hybrid designer and the contractor work as a team. The hybrid designer will take the initial concept drawings and create a preliminary plan from which the contractor can price out the job. Once approved, the designer will create final plans within the approved budget. Even if plans get changed past this point, a hybrid designers plan changes will usually cost only half of what an architect would charge.
Like most people approaching the construction or renovation of their dream kitchen, you undoubtedly have plenty of ideas, wishes and questions—what you don't have is lots of time.
By choosing an award-winning kitchen designer like Jason Landau of Amazing Spaces, LLC who is both a member of the American Society of Interior Designers and holds a Masters degree in Architecture, you will gain innovative suggestions based on practical experience and get informed answers to your questions. Amazing Spaces, LLC also offers complete start-to-finish project management to save you hours, money and headaches.
Contact Jason at Amazing Spaces, LLC today by visiting www.amazingspacesllc.com or by calling 914-239-3725.