+ Lisa Jaffe, AIA, LEED AP

Waiting out the Covid19 quarantine has given us the chance to finally do some things we’ve been waiting to do, but haven’t had the time … like a splashy, new reno on our website and starting a blog.  We’re excited to have you here and look forward to using this space to share our thoughts on the latest trends and news in architecture and interiors.  

Should I Hire an Architect?

So diving right in … we thought we’d start a Why series of posts and the first big Why topic we decided to tackle was:  Why you should hire an architect.  As Chicago residential architects, we’ve met with scores of homeowners to talk about their home building projects.  Sometimes we’re introduced by mutual friends in a social setting and over a casual chat we’ll offer suggestions; other times, we’ll meet formally in our studio with potential clients.  Before our services are retained, a topic that frequently comes up is, “Do I really need to hire an architect for this project?”

If you’re here visiting our site as a first-time home buyer thinking about renovating a vintage home, or you’re finally ready to embark on your dream of building a vacation home, “Should I hire an architect?” or “Can the builder do this for me?” has probably crossed your mind, too. As architects, specializing in one-of-a-kind homes for over 25 years, the answer is simple — “Yes, you should hire an architect!” 

Five Phases Of Architectural Design

To better understand why hiring an architect is essential, it’s helpful to gain insight into what architects do and how their involvement can transform your project.  First, we’d like to shed some light on the architectural process by introducing the five phases of architectural design. Later on, in subsequent posts, we’ll dig into each phase to highlight the architect’s role in developing your project from concept to completion.

Architects use these phases to categorize the fees associated with their services, but they also represent how the design/build process unfolds.  When you break down the process into these five phases, the “Why you shoulds” are easy to understand. 

  1. Schematic Design (SD)
  2. Design Development (DD)
  3. Construction Documents (CD)
  4. Bidding (BID)
  5. Construction Administration (CA)

The first three phases (SD, DD AND CD) comprise roughly seventy five percent of our architectural fees and most of our time.  In essence, the majority of our work for a project is done before it’s built, even before we send it out to construction companies for bids.  This is the elemental and essential work we do, and it goes without saying that you have to know the specifics of what you want, all the details, so that you can get an accurate price (BID) for building your new home (CA). 

Going Deeper, Going Further      

At JAFFE A+I we distinguish our firm from others by going well beyond providing a basic set of drawings.  Starting with SD we go deep to find out how you live, and then we spend the time to learn about your specific desires and needs.

SD is where we conduct extensive client interviews, do fieldwork and devise solutions that allow us to make your house a home.  In our next post we’ll discuss SD in greater detail and offer specific narratives that will highlight our services and show the value we provide when we design your home.  

In our future posts, we’ll elaborate how the Design Development phase unfolds and spools into the next phase, Construction Documents.  After that, we’ll delve into the Bid and Construction Administration aspects that lead to the completion of your home.