At what point do you need an architect to make changes?

mrspeteOctober 25, 2012

I've been looking at other floorplans, and I've found one that -- if I change to it -- will need only minimal, minimal changes. Specifically:

At the garage entry, a small closet and a small pantry sit side-by-side. No odd-ball walls would be involved; the two small rooms share a back wall. I'd rather combine them into one larger pantry.

The plan contains an unnecessary 1/2 bath (there's a perfectly good full bath on the hallway, easily available to guests). I'd turn the 1/2 bath into a closet simply as a money saver.

I'd like one more window in the master bedroom. This would be in what is now a plain wall.

In the back bedroom, I'd turn one window into an exterior door. Same spot, just a door instead of a window.

These things "feel" to me like super-small things. If I go with this plan, would I need to have the company draw up changes . . . or could I just say to the builder, do these things? I'm sure that if I ask the company, they'll insist upon doing it themselves. I mean, they're in the business of making money.

I fully accept that if you're making significant changes -- enlarging the family room, switching a bathroom and a closet's position, and especially if you're altering the roofline -- you need the pros to draw it for you. But just where does one draw the line?

Thanks for any experiences or advice.

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These changes could be marked up on the drawings by your builder. What you need to find out is if the building department will accept notes and corrections on the drawings.

How much are you going to save if the changes are so minor?

Do not go forward with the builder based on a discussion. Any changes must be drawn or noted on the contract documents and the contract price adjusted in writing.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 11:06PM
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With the exception of the unnecessary half-bath, these aren't about money. Rather, they're about having the space allocated to suit my own desires.

Would the building department even care to note that we omitted plumbing in a 5x5 room? Or that we made two side-by-side closets into one larger closet?

    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 11:10PM
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There might be an issue with the regulation of a septic or sewer system but I'm sure it isn't a problem.

The permit fee might be less as well.

In my experience it is always best to show on the drawings what you really intend to build. Start with a clean slate; there are enough things to complicate matters during construction that you don't need any more.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2012 at 7:53AM
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Your best place to start is with your local building department: ask them the question you've asked here.

That said, Reno8's advice is sound: have a clear record of what is intended with construction and pricing. That way there's no ground for misunderstanding or arguments later.

Construction is confusing and changing enough without adding to the situation from the beginning.

Good luck with your project.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2012 at 9:20AM
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