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Old 09-04-2014, 10:16 AM   #1
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Hiring an architect


DIYers, please do not be offended by this non-DIY post. I could not find a more appropriate forum in which to post this question.

I would like to read any thoughts that people might have regarding the necessity or benefit of hiring an architect to design a project. The project is this:

1. A 12' x 24' "detached garage" (more for tool and bike storage).
2. A covered patio 15' x 20' with outdoor kitchen (grill, sink, bar).

I would like to make sure that it it structurally sound, especially regarding the slab/footings for both, and I am interested in having the garage built essentially as a small house... plumbing, electrical, and insulated no less than a house given that there will not be AC to keep it from reaching >100 degrees in the summer months of northern California.

Can anyone give me pros and cons of involving an architect in this process? I would appreciate the input.
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Old 09-04-2014, 01:06 PM   #2
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Right up my alley...I live in California and I built a 2-story detached garage. Check out the garage build link in my signature.

In the case of the garage, I did my own drawings....but I still had to have engineering due to the 2nd floor and other issues (seismic).

If you know AutoCad, have plenty of time on your hands and have a building and safety office that will work with you, you might be able to get by...but be prepared to get an engineering review. ($$)

But based on what you are wanting, I'm thinking if you follow local building standards, you might get by with just a sketch on a napkin.

At a min, you're going to need a plot plan. This can be a hand drawn sketch on an 8x11 sheet of paper. Or, they may want more.

On your building you will need the correct number of hold downs and anchor bolts. Walls will be 1/2 Struct 1 OSB with proper nailing. The foundation footing will need to be about 24" and 16" wide...or what ever your local code is. 2 #4 bars at the bottom....2 #4 at the top...I would suggest a stem wall to keep out water.

Lots of little details. If your not used to doing framing, the advantage of an architect is he will cover all those details. You just follow the plans.

So....your first task is to go to building and safety. They will tell you the steps. Most likely plot plan...get that approved...the building plans....get that approved...then permits.

If you go with an architect, in most cases, he will do all of that except pull the permits....and he might pull them for you...with you there to write the check.
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Old 09-04-2014, 03:01 PM   #3
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I appologize, I should have been more clear. I am actually going to have a contractor do most of the project. I will probably just insulate and finish the interior. So, knowing that a contractor will already be involved, is there any additional benefit of having an architect involved in the planning?

Based on the soil conditions in my subdivision, there was an engineering evaluation done 25 years ago when the subdivision was planned and they have made specific recommendations regarding the minimum acceptable footings for slab-on-grade construction. So, the specifications for footings is already determined.
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Old 09-04-2014, 03:06 PM   #4
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In that case, it sounds like a plot plan and then sketch is all you need.

But your first trip is to the building and safety.
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Old 09-04-2014, 05:00 PM   #5
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If you are not sure of the size and shape of the building you want than I would say hire an architect. If you know these things and just want to make sure it is sturdy I would say hire an engineer. If you are not sure of either I would say hire a architect with engineering back round or visa versa.
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