Structural Design – Is your Architect up to the task?
Good Structural Planning from the onset
Nearly 20 years ago I designed a home for client who, at the time, thought that he had planned for everything he could ever want in a home. And at the time I would have agreed with him. But as life would have it, he contacted me recently and inquired as to whether or not he could put a universal weight machine in the bedroom over his garage. A quick examination of the plans that I keep on file gave him an unexpected answer: YES! The client was shocked that not only did I give the approval, but that I had an answer as quickly as I did. My response was simple, “It was good structural planning from the onset.”
Many of the homes that I have designed in the past have undergone some type of renovation. Some were updated, some wanted completely redesigned kitchens, new cabinet layout. There were a few additions completed, and even a few “in-laws” suites or related living areas were created. What made all of the projects easy was the initial preparation in the structural design of the space.
Equal Parts Artist and Engineer
An important decision when selecting the architect for your project should be “Are they equal parts artist and engineer”?
Relying strictly on code-based minimums for your project does not create a great performing structure. An important part of designing a home that will grow with you in the future is understanding the structure of that home. Many architects contract out the structural plans for the dwelling. And while that is acceptable, field changes may present a challenge.
As a homeowner, are you willing to gamble with the very structure that literally keeps the roof over the heads of your family?
Are sagging steel beams and floors that bounce acceptable to you?
Many codes deem this acceptable. In my opinion, this constitutes a subpar structural system and provides no benefit to the homeowner.
These are just some of the many things I take into consideration when designing a structure. I welcome the conversation with contractors who question why I size things the way I do. It gives me the opportunity to educate them on the bigger picture. I look at the big picture. It is important that I create a home that not only provides shelter but gives your family the security they deserve.
When deciding on your architect, ask if they design their own structure or do they contract that work out. Find out if they have the knowledge to be the engineer and the ability to work the structure around the artistry of the floor plan to give you the home you desire.
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