Why Your Architect Shouldn’t Also Be Your Contractor


Planning and executing a construction project requires the right amount of resources and expertise. You will likely need the input of experienced professionals such as architects and contractors.

People often look to save themselves a pretty penny by combining the input of an architect and a contractor in a construction project.

However, evidence indicates that this may not be the best course of action. Here is a breakdown of why your architect should not also be your contractor.

Can an architect be a contractor?


Architects are seasoned experts who design buildings and other structures. They achieve this by working closely with clients to grasp their needs and develop appropriate plans to address those needs.

Architects also work as consultants when they guide clients and other parties responsible for bringing design plans to life.

Note that architects can work as contractors. In such a role, they would be responsible for the design and supervising of the construction process to ensure completion within the expected time window and project budget.

The transition from one role to another can be a challenging one because it warrants a proficient understanding of both the design and construction aspects of a building project, as well as strong and effective project management skills.

It is common for licensed architects to develop themselves into licensed contractors, depending on their background in construction. For an architect to become a contractor, they must obtain a contractor’s license which involves completing specific education, and experience and passing a licensing exam.

They are also expected to have a good grasp of building codes and other regulations in addition to problem-solving skills and strong communication skills.

However, working as a contractor can be demanding and time-consuming, and this workload may not be ideal for all architects. Some individuals prefer to focus on the design element of projects, while other people may be more inclined towards the hands-on work of construction processes.

Why should your architect not also be your contractor?


While contractors and architects are both necessary roles in construction, they have different roles that are needed to achieve the desired form and function of a finished building.

Architects and contractors are expected to work jointly to complete projects, and thus it is better to engage both for your project. They liaise to solve problems and work out an effective way of executing the design plan.

It is important for an architect to clearly define their instructions carefully for a contractor, and to answer any lingering questions a contractor may have.

In return, a contractor formulates a practical approach to realizing the creative vision. A contractor may make subtle changes to a construction plan to ensure a more cohesive result that is up to code.

The link between a contractor and an architect is crucial for a successful construction project. It is like having two leads in a movie role, and the chemistry between the pair makes or breaks everything.

The more successful the duo, the more attractive and stable a building can turn out to be. This is the reason why some contractors and architects collaborate on several projects throughout their careers.

What is the difference between a contractor and an architect?

A contractor


A contractor is responsible for managing the actual construction process of a building. This means that they will engage subcontractors and construction workers to fit their team and the project plan.

A contractor works closely with an architect to solve challenges effectively and quickly. Contractors are expected to implement architects’ designs.

A contractor is responsible for construction methods, techniques, precautions and safety procedures when working on a project.

They are expected to obtain valid licenses and professional liability insurance coverage so that they can offer professional services.

However, if an architect is involved in your construction project, a contractor does not need to fret about building codes and permits.

Typically, contractors do not charge an hourly rate. Rather, they tend to charge a fixed fee for the entire project based on the scope. The cost will vary according to the services they provide.

An architect


On the other hand, an architect is the creative force behind a construction project and is involved from the beginning. They design the structure and formulate a plan which is the guideline for executing the rest of the project.

An architect is responsible for creating a home design or floor plan according to a client’s specifications and preferences. They are expected to ensure that the created living spaces adhere to local building codes.

Architects ensure that the building progresses according to the relevant codes, laws and safety regulations among other requirements.

After a design is finalized, an architect is expected to continue working with the contractor throughout the construction process. This aims to ensure that the planned design is executed accurately.

The services of an architect may typically cost between $60 and $125 per hour when they are planning and designing your home. However, if you intend to have an architect oversee the entire process, they may charge a percentage sum of the total construction cost.


Your architect should be distinct from your contractor for a few important reasons.

It is worth noting that even though you are paying twice for the architect and contractor, there is little overlap in their responsibilities, rather there is coordination and collaboration.

Remember that you will probably need both an architect and a contractor depending on the type of building. You will also need other professionals such as land surveyors, electrical engineers, and a specialist steelwork contractor among others.

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