You and Your Architect – the Dream team

Are you planning to build your own home? Have an idea of a plan you are set on? How it will look? Now let me ask you have you thought of hiring an architect?

Well, they are trained in this field; they know the dos and don’ts, know how to save you some money. And I am, in no way, saying you cannot design your own home! I’m just saying with the help of an architect, they will be able to merge beautiful designs with your daily needs and functions.

Dream house comes to life with the help of an architect

How do you pick the architect for you?

Selecting an architect can be a little difficult, like where do you start? You can start by using the Architecture Canada Electronic Directory or if you have a contractor you like working with, they might have someone. BUT never just go ahead and agree on that architect your contractor suggested. Do your research! You want an architect that will design for you and your needs!

On the OAA site, it will help guide you through the process of picking an architect. It mentions a method called Qualifications-based selection. There are three steps to this method:

  1. Selecting the most qualified architect for your project
  2. Process of analyzing parameters and defining the scope of the project with that architect
  3. Prep and submission of the proposal, negotiation, and signing contract
    You can also find further information on their site.

You need an architect that understands your idea and can then communicate your idea through architectural drawings. Hiring an architect will benefit you in terms of the design; they have creative ways of solving issues and finding ways to enhance your lifestyle.

Moving from the design process towards thinking about the materials… that could be a lot for you to handle if you do not know what you want or do not know what materials to use where. Well because you have your wonderful architect, they can help you with that! They could also have connections and get some good deals. (I did say could… so do not quote me on that!) There are so many different materials that you could use but picking the right one will bring your home to life. Coming from a student that loves textures and materials, it is amazing to see how a change in material can change the atmospheric qualities of a space.

Materials on materials

Let’s talk about the building code just a little…

Having a professional ensuring the plans abides by your local zoning by-laws and codes are so helpful. It can get tricky, like really tricky.


Coming from a student that is in third-year architecture and only had a taste of the code… I do not think you would want to design/build on your own. There are parts to this code and architects are trained to find the best ways to save money on a project. The code and things you can do to save yourself a LOT of money amaze me.

An example, the building height:
The height in the code means the number of storeys between roof and floor of the first story. First storey: floor closest to the grade and its ceiling more than 1.8 metre above grade. (Grade is the average level of proposed or finished ground attaching a building at all exterior walls)

SO! If you have three floors where one of the floors are within the ground but the height of it from the ground to the top of that floors ceiling is under 1.8m, you only then have two storeys.

Diagram of storeys – done by Nyna Hua

Now with this one example imagine the other strategies architects have up their sleeves. I might be a little bias because I am working towards becoming an architect, but it will save you some headache.

If you do this on your own, it is possible but the headache of the code. Even thinking about it now, I can feel the pain.

A snowball effect could possibly happen, you will go from one article that leads you to another sentence, continuing into clauses all the way to sub-sub clause. There are so many technicalities that can happen. So to save yourself some money (design wise) and headache, hiring an architect. It won’t hurt.

There are many benefits to hiring an architect, I mentioned some that came to mind but if you need more convincing here are some articles on why hiring an architect is a GOOD idea:

Remember, hiring an architect is a good thing if you find the right fit. Be clear with what you want and need from the architect because this is a partnership.

Communication is key! Also, hear the architect out; listen to what they have to say. They should be bringing out the best in your ideal home.

Would you hire an architect to help you design your home? Create that dream team?