I have a dream in my head of the perfect home for me and my family. It involves a big switch that puts everything away, neat and tidy at the end of every day. It will never be done. If you have a realistic dream in your head and you would like to see it actually take form, you need to start looking for a building designer to help you get started.
What a Building Designer Does:
- Listens carefully to the dream or partial plans that you envision.
- Points out alternatives to plans that might not be safe, legal or affordable.
- Draws up the completed plans.
- Works with the contractor to ensure that the plans are understood.
What a Building Designer Cannot Do:
- Read your mind or change every minute detail a million times a day.
- Anticipate your needs.
- Circumvent the laws of gravity, physics and the zoning of Florida.
- Create something viable from unrealistic plans.
- Tell you what you can or cannot do with your money, although he may offer better solutions for what you have in mind. If you want to spend more for something, that is up to you.
How to Find a Building Designer in Florida
- Professional references through the local builder’s guild, union or industry organization.
- Referrals from friends and family who have had homes or other structures designed and built in the last three years or less.
- Referrals from real estate agents or the listing party that sold you your building lot. Internet research (make sure you search by keyword AND location).
How to Know You Have Found the Right One:
References are all valid and positive.
- The phone is answered promptly and professionally. If the designer is not available, messages are taken as well as other options (like voice mail) are given.
- Phone calls are returned when promised.
- Meeting times and schedules are kept unless a phone call to cancel is made.
- Estimates are given in writing.
- All proper documentation (licenses, certificates) is in order and up to date.
It is important that you find a building designer whom you can work with, because it can be a lengthy procedure. You do not want to have a personality conflict that could limit your ability to freely speak your mind, leading to a home that you are less than thrilled with. Choose carefully; you will be living with this person’s work for many years to come.