Karl Schmidt is a Residential Architect in Seattle

This photo shows a Seattle Remodeling project by Karl Schmidt Architecture
Karl Schmidt Architecture is one of the leading Seattle Home Builders
​Do I really need an architect?

I would first start out by saying that all projects can benefit from having a Seattle residential architect involved. Even if it is just for a short consultation to ask questions and get advice. I do this all the time for DIY's (Do it Yourselfers) and often times I help broaden the conversation to include things they haven't thought of or even considered. This can lead to significant savings and prevent costly mistakes.

What are your fees?

This is a complex question. Where a plumber can change a toilet for about the same price every time, the architectural design process can vary widely based on a number of factors such as size, scope and complexity of the project, In addition, each project is different and each client is different. Therefore, design can be quick and straightforward or it can involve many studies, details and involvement from start to finish. For these reasons, most architects bill on an hourly basis and will provide only estimated “ranges” of cost for the various phases of a project.

I bill on an hourly basis to an estimated max.  Many architects charge based on a percentage of your overall project cost on full architectural services (see Process tab for description of all phases of the design process). Not every project, whether new or remodeling in Seattle, requires full services. In fact, many projects have an abbreviated process.

The way I work is that after understanding your project fully, I will provide a fee proposal that outlines a cost range for each phase of your project so you will be more comfortable about cost before proceeding. I am flexible in tailoring the design process to meet you project goals and budget, so don’t worry.

I know what I want, so I can just skip the architect part and just hire a contractor, right?

It's great that you know what you want, but can you do it based on Building and Land Use codes? Also, Seattle home builders usually want drawings so they can accurately bid a project. Owners usually want to know what things cost before proceeding, right? Lack of drawings or poorly developed plans usually result in wide ranges of cost and the owner finds this out the hard way once they are already down the road in construction. The architect can also act as your advocate during construction when conflicts arise with your builder. I’m on your side!

Building designer, kitchen designer, interior designer, registered architect. Which one do I hire and why would I use one over the other?

There are a variety of people in the construction business offering design related services, but many have limited or no significant formal training and therefore they cannot use the word architect. There are lots of talented people out there, but it is against state law to use the word "architect" "architecture" or "architectural" unless you are a registered architect that meets the following criteria:

Attained a degree from an NCARB accredited university (5-6 years of schooling)
Worked as an intern under a licensed architect for a minimum of 3 years and completed the Intern Development Program (IDP)
Passed a series of rigorous comprehensive examinations totally 40 hours and register for license with state.
Complete yearly requirements for continuing education

Therefore, when hiring a registered architect you will get someone who is a competent trained professional that can look at your project holistically and can bring to the table experience of the entire process of design and building.

If you have any other questions about your project or want advice on how to begin, please feel free to call or email me. I offer an initial free consultation.

What is the AIA and why is that important?

The American Institute of Architects is the national professional organization of registered architects. To be a member and use the title AIA you must be a registered architect and complete annual continuing education. Members must follow a set of bylaws and code of ethics to maintain membership. Therefore, you can be assured that if you hire an architect with the AIA designation that you will be getting an architect that is dedicated to the highest level of professionalism, integrity and competence.

FAQ about Residential Architects and Remodeling in Seattle

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