POST | 2018

Who to Contact First? Architect or Builder?

January 22, 2018 AT 13:27

Finding out who can best help you to realize your new commercial building, luxury residence, renovation/addition or vacation home project often begins with a few strategies. When you are considering building and have an idea of where you want your project located - be it a particular neighborhood, subdivision, or city - one or more of the following actions usually happen:

+ You research and visit some of your favorite projects locally and seek out the Architect(s) that designed the buildings you admire.
+ You talk to friends about different Builders or Architects to obtain best local references.
+ You visit neighbourhood properties and see other homes being built and discover the Builder of the homes you like.
+ You go online and discover a Builder or Architect and you like their work.

After pursuing some of the above strategies, most people eventually ask themselves "Who do I contact first, the Builder or the Architect?" If it's the Builder you trust, the builder may introduce you to the Architect that designed the building or home. If the Architect is contacted first, he can introduce you to several qualified or proven Builders the practice has worked with.

An architect is a professional who is specifically trained and licensed to work on the planning, design and alteration of buildings. The facets of an architect's role are as varied and fascinating as their work. Architects are licensed design professionals who lead the process of creating functional spaces, from the earliest concept through to a full realization of this work by translating design intentions into construction documentation and quality assurance that a builder can implement.

A builder is an expert at managing the risks of construction including scheduling, construction costs and safety for all involved. A builder is also responsible for quality control throughout a project and managing a team of sub-trades required to complete the project. Often a builder is required to warranty workmanship.

Only an Architect can best leverage your development plans and design vision from inception to implementation.

If contacted first, the Architect can help you assess a number of early decisions such as helping to select the best property and location for your new home by analyzing lot options to see which one will best suit your building program (the function, type and size of all spaces) and type of residence or commercial venture you want to build. If you are looking at city lots, one of the early ways an Architect can provide professional advice is to determine which local ordinances or covenants (bylaws and area structure plans or architectural controls) apply to your lot that would restrict the intended design vision in ways that may not let you reach your design goals. In rural areas or properties outside of the city, the Architect can help determine possible restrictions and issues that may put unwanted restrictions on your project or limit feasibility.

If the Architect is contacted first, he will be able to expand any design ideas you have and offer new ideas and direction that will help you realize every detail of your vision prior to seeing a builder.

The Builder will be able to help keep the project within your budget and will be a great help in scheduling and implementing most, if not all, of your ideas into reality. The Architect and the Builder each have their own roles - strengths and weaknesses - so a collaborative approach will reap the best value from both and create the most successful outcome in cooperation together.

Ultimately, whoever is contacted first, the best outcomes come about through a team effort of respect for each role in order to give you the best design within your budget and schedule to fulfill your design vision.

Learn more about the Important Benefits to Working With Architects and other insights on our website about important design considerations and how architects and builders typically work together to achieve your building goals.


Nothing is more exciting than designing a new residence, commercial property or tenant improvement for yourself or business. Nothing will affect the success of your project more than the right architect with the best skillset and knowledge. Our practice utilizes an engaging Discovery Consultation to help clients make real progress and reach their building goals without wasting precious time and money or repeating steps.

If you feel ready to discuss your early project ideas, please contact Principal Architect Spencer Court to find out more about our blueprint for success or to begin your tailored proposal to get you on track making real progress.

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