For some projects, architects wear many hats. They may create the design, do the computer aide cad drafting, choose the finish materials, and supervise the entire construction process. Ideally, your architect will visit your building site and observe the direction of the sun, note the prevailing breezes, sketch the existing vegetation (by hand), and anticipate the best vantage points or views. For renovation projects, an architect not only knows what will structurally work but will also be responsible for making sure the remodel flows well and will make financial sense.
If you are building in a complicated area for zoning, or your property or design criteria is above your pay grade, or has particular neighborhood rules and restrictions, then an architect is going to be s must have for navigating that process. Architects have had many years of schooling an experience in knowing what materials will do well with your budget and the building surroundings. Local and national building codes are also areas of experience for most architects since continuing education is required in order to keep their license current. Hire an architect.
If you are planning on “Going Green” with your project, then you will need a LEED Certified Architect. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. According to the US Green Building Council (USGBC), the parent organization of LEED, it is the most widely recognized and widely used green-building rating system in the world. It examines big things such as the way a building site is positioned, as well as minute details like what the carpet fibers in the lobby are made of.
If you are planning a simple home renovation or remodel, you probably don’t need an architect. It is completely up to you at this point. Some people want to make sure that all the color choices and floor plan changes flow well and if this is the case, then you should consider hiring an architect.