Posted by Melissa Lynn Galland on Nov 9, 2017 6:34:57 AM
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For many people, building a custom home is completely new territory. Even if you are already a homeowner, the process is much different from buying an existing home. You have to find land, secure financing, and, of course, get a custom home design. It’s easy to assume that every new custom home must start with an architect, but this isn’t necessarily the case.

In fact, you can work with an integrated team that includes a design team, builder, estimator, and materials purchasing staff to create a beautiful new home that has the features and floor plans you want. There are multiple benefits to taking this route, including cost savings and better budget management.  

Save Money on Design Fees

If you’re working with a limited budget, cutting out the architectural fees is a good first step. For most homeowners who simply want a floor plan that meets their specific needs, an architect is not necessary. Architectural fees vary depending on the scope of the project but could add as much as 10 percent to 15 percent of the total construction cost. This cost is dramatically reduced when you work with a builder that provides custom design services. Eliminating architectural fees also allows you to get more home for your money, because you can apply those funds to additional features, material upgrades, or whatever is important to you.     

Control the Budget from Day One

Another potential pitfall when working with an architect is watching the budget balloon. Adair Homes Drafting Manager Chris Foisy has experience with this. He says, “There have been several times when customers have come in to us after going to an architect and finding out when they go to a builder for bids that their project is over budget.” When you work with an integrated team, the design professionals review changes with an estimator, so you will know early in the process if you need to scale back in order to stay within your defined budget parameters.   

Stay Compliant with Regulators

In some circumstances, like homes with larger square footages, it might be necessary to have a licensed professional sign off on the plans. Some municipalities also have code requirements that include submitting stamped plans for any new home or remodel. However, this doesn’t always have to be an architect. In many cases, the engineer of record can sign off on the plans that were generated by a qualified design professional. The primary reason why regulators require sign-off from a licensed professional is to ensure that the design is safe. As long as an engineer has reviewed and approved the plans, you don’t need an architect to be involved.

Rely on Experience

Whether you decide to hire an architect or work with an integrated team, it is essential that the provider has sufficient experience. Successful spaces are the result of good planning, and you want to be sure that the professional you choose has a track record of success. This means both creating functional, beautiful spaces and staying within the budget. One benefit of working with an experienced builder that offers custom design services is that it continually learns from its customers. Unlike architects, who are not always involved in the construction process, integrated teams can recognize the factors that often lead to costs creeping up. This experience will help you save time during the design process and allow you to truly optimize the budget.     


As Chris says, “Our biggest value to our customers who go fully custom is that we keep where they want to be at the project's end in mind while designing their home.” If this sounds appealing to you, get in touch with Adair Homes today to talk to a Home Ownership Counselor about your custom home project. Our experienced staff will work closely with you to incorporate your wants and needs into the design while bearing the budget in mind at every step.

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Topics: Build a Custom Home