Its a brave person who takes on a self build without the aid of an architects in Miami. While there are off the shelf plans available for thousands of different styled and sized homes it can still pay in the long run to hire a professional.
When you mention architect to most people they imagine the guy sat in the office with a drawing board and blueprint designing his latest project but there is more to their services than that.
To work out his fees the architect breaks his part in your dream build into 5 phases and these are:
The Dream. At the start you have a dream and it is the architects job to make it feasible and transfer it to the drawing board. This initial phase can take a while and you will most likely meet regular to discuss ideas and workarounds. He will provide sketches and an estimate of roughly how much the build will cost.
The Design. This is where the dream takes more shape. Again you will be working closely with your architect as he will need you to choose more detail. Things like type of windows, heating, doors etc. are added at this stage as is defining the living spaces. Sketches will now be redone in scaled rough drawings and your architect will also update the estimate as this point to a more accurate price of total cost.
The Planning. Once you are both happy with the design stage your architect will draw up the blueprints for the contractor. These will be detailed and include spec’s and material lists so the job can be put out for bids.
The Bidding. Your architect will assist in selecting a pool of companies to accept bids from. He will know the standard of work of most of your local builders so is in a perfect position to aid you in the selection process. He will leave the final decision to you but will help to negotiate price and draw up the contracts.
The Build. Your architect will make site visits to advise on quality of workmanship, discuss change requests with the contractor, make amendments to the plans etc. This is particularly handy at each payment stage. For instance your first payment is due once the foundations are in. Your architect can come and inspect for you and make sure everything is to his liking before you write the check.
One important note about the build process is that your architect can visit and advise you but he is not responsible if later a defect is found.
The AIA says this about the subject:
“The architect does not supervise construction. The contractor and not the architect is solely responsible for construction methods, means, techniques, sequences and procedures.”
Basically this means that while your architect can advise you on the work being done by the contractor it is your contract with the contractor that will be under scrutiny should faults be found at a later date.
As you can see there is much more to the role your architect plays in your dream build than you at first imagined and it can pay in the long run to have a professional at the end of the phone.