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Frequently Asked Questions

Why do I need an architect? An architect can anticipate any issues that may arise and solve the problems in advance by asking the right questions at the appropriate time. If you want to build a habitable space that needs structure, plumbing or electricity, an architect's or engineer's stamped drawings are required by law to secure a building permit. (Check with your state and local jurisdiction for rules, as they vary.) If you want your building customized to your lifestyle, hire an architect. You don't need an architect to buy a house off the shelf; you need one to tailor a home uniquely to you. For many people, their home is the single largest investment of their lives. Such an endeavor deserves a team of professionals who will do the project justice. An architect can translate your ideas and constraints into construction language for the officials and trades you'll need to complete your project.

What's the difference between an architect and a residential/home designer?

What does an architect do? Architects are legally responsible to design buildings that are compliant with all of the codes and regulations that apply, including: life, safety, welfare, energy efficiency, accessibility, local zoning and more. Before any design begins, an architect checks that your project is feasible within local requirements, and measures an existing buildings on the property. An architect tailors the design to meet your specific wish list and budget needs. An architect must make the building structurally sound, healthy to live in and safe to escape in an emergency. An architect provides construction documents which become your contract with a builder, and explain the project to the local jurisdiction issuing the building permit. An architect helps you find a builder and compares builder quotes apples-to-apples. An architect observes the builder's progress to make sure they are building what was ordered in the construction documents. An architect is a resource for the lifetime of the building to troubleshoot its performance over time and to make changes as your needs grow.

Does an architect save me money? Yes, by strategically planning the building itself to optimize your expenses so you get the most bang for your buck on what matters. Yes, by showing you what you're getting before you built it - more considerations during design results in fewer changes during construction and unexpected costs. Yes, an architect can tailor the design to your contractor's most cost-effective options, such as materials they work with most often. Yes, by talking shop with the builder and translating for you what it means to the timeline and bottom line. ​

Questions to ask an Architect

What kind of architecture do you do? We specialize in single-family residential architecture.

Are you licensed and insured? Yes, I am licensed in Virgina, North Carolina and Florida and am NCARB Certified and I carry Professional Liability Insurance. The firm is also licensed to practice in VA, NC & FL.

What will my project cost? We estimate the cost of your project three times. First in our initial consultation to make sure we're building the right sized project for your needs. We will advisse you on how your choices during the design process impact construction costs. The current most common cost estimating system in the construction industry is on a time + materials basis.

When can you start? We can begin the initial consultation whenever you are ready. To begin full services, our typical wait list is 6 weeks to 4 months but varies at different times of the year.

Why choose Stroud Architects + Associates? We listen to you. . . . . . to understand how you live to create a special place to share with friends and family through generations.

Questions to consider before hiring an Architect

What are your 3 most important goals of your project? Establish your wish list and brainstorm every idea you think of. Organize your list to prioritize the order between the "must have" items and the "may sacrifice" items.

What is your budget? Every client's least favorite, but one of the most important! You must identify the limit of investment for your property - what is the most you are willing to spend? There are two ways to design for a budget: 1) Do you prefer to design everything you ever wanted, get a cost for it in all phases, then subract until you reach your budget? or 2) Do you prefer to sest a budget, aim for 30% below, and make design sacrifices as you go? Do you have independent funds or are you planning to seek financing? Subtract "soft costs" (architect's fee, permit fees, landscaping, furnishing, etc.) to identify your construction budget.

What is your timeline? The design process for a typical new single-family home can take 6-12 months, depending on the complexity of your project and how quickly you make decisions. Similarly, a complex renovation

What are your inspirations? Gather photos of the spaces that inspire you, products you'd like to use, colors that make you smile and anything that motivates you make your house a home.

Do you have a builder? Do you have a contractor/builder you trust, someone you've worked iwth before, or someone who was recommended to you? Do you need help finding a builder?

Do you have any drawings? Do you have a survey drawing that shows property boundaries, any existing buildings, well/septic system, etc.? These might have been included in closing documents if you recently purchased your home. Do you have drawgins from a previous architect?

Are you aware of any property constraints? Do you live on the water? Does your deed mention any covenants, variances or special approvals? Do you have a homeowner's association?

What does your house mean to you? Is your house a place where your family will grow up together? Is it your private retreat from the hustle and bustle? Is this the place where you gather for the holidays? Is it your canvas for family photos, mementos, culture, history or collections? Is it an investment, safety net, or hobby project? If you think it's just a house, why or why not? And what would it need to become your home?

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