Your Home Team

A guide for Understanding Your Design and Construction Team

Some people find the home building process stressful and overwhelming. Our advice, look at what the pros are doing. Developers rely on a team to get their projects moving forward and off the ground. Nothing is more important than surrounding yourself with a great team. Let’s discuss your team members, their roles, and their value.


The Design Side

Your Architect – typically heads the design team and coordinates all components that make up your home. Much like the general contractor, on the design side, your architect is a generalist. Their extremely broad knowledge makes them experts in bringing all the components and considerations together. From the site and zoning to the materials and constructability, they act as your custom home advisor. Architects connect you to the field of design and construction and they understand the implications of pre-design decisions and their effect on other components not thought of by specialists.


Your Structural Engineer – Whether sub-contracted under your architect or self contracted, the structural engineer is responsible for sizing and specifying the structural components of the project. Although lumber companies and truss companies offer basic calculations they are not a replacement. From foundation to roof your engineer tracks the loads down and can provide a strong yet efficient design. The layout, shape, and aesthetics of the building, are all connected to the structure. Not accounting for the correct sizing of the structural members could lead to not only stability problems, but changing those sizes could create misalignments and other layout related issues.

Your Civil Engineer and Landscape Architect – From the building to the street, these team members design the outside space. More pragmatic considerations such as stormwater drainage, need a civil engineer. For more experiential qualities such as plantings, hardscape, and outdoor space, the design needs a landscape architect.

Your Interior Designer – Your architect begins with context and overall design. Once the general design is established your interior designer digs into the detail. From cabinet selection to bathroom fixtures and lighting, your interior designer is an expert in detail, color, finish selection, and more. They begin with layout coordination and move into specifying all things interiors.

The Construction Side

Your General Contractor – is responsible for the construction team but has tremendous value early on too. Bringing a general contractor on board early is always a good idea. We always encourage our clients to team up with a general contractor early in the design phases. A general contractor knows the numbers and can offer cost consultation to help make design decisions and value engineer the project on the drawing board rather than in the field. The more unique the design the more important this advice becomes. Even though bidding your home is important, nothing is more helpful than knowing where you are with your budget.

Your Design Team – As we discussed your architect is your advisor. They are looking out for your interests and help you build your house. During construction, your design team will help your contractor interpret the design and provide quality control. Construction drawings are complicated, no one interprets them 100% correctly. Keeping the design professionals involved is one of the most important things you can do.

Your Subcontractors – Mostly contracted through your general contractor, the subcontractors execute the majority of the work. Subcontractors are specialists and experts in their specific fields. It’s important to have experienced subs that are passionate about their craft. Many general contractors team up with subs that have performed well for them in the past. Good general contractors usually come with good subs.

Getting Started

Surveyors and Realtors

So who comes first in this process? Well, it all depends on where you are. If you looking to buy an empty lot or an existing home, start with a realtor. If you already have a place, the best place to start is with a surveyor. The surveyor will document the existing conditions. The survey will act as the foundation to the design. Once you have your survey, contact your architect to get the process moving forward.

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