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Can Architects Build Their Own Houses?

Everyone dreams of owning their own house one day; some may aspire to design and build it independently.

Architects may be more apt to take on the design portion of the project, as their expertise and experience are perfect for the job.

However, they may not be able to build their own house as this requires specific knowledge and skills.

This guide will detail architects designing and building their own homes.

Can Architects Build Their Own Houses?

Architects may be able to build their own houses, depending on their particular experience in the field.

They have the knowledge and skills to design an excellent place, considering codes and laws, materials, structures, budgets, necessary team members, and schedules.

However, architects do not learn the practicalities of building a house.

They will need to learn aspects of structural engineering, construction, and building science.

They will also need hands-on experience from construction sites to understand how houses come together.

They may acquire this knowledge from supplemental classes or on-site construction experience.

In this case, they may be able to build their own house.

If they do not, it is better to hire a general contractor and a construction team.

Related: Can An Architect Design Furniture?

Do Architects Get To Design Their Own Houses?

Architects can certainly design their own houses, as they have the knowledge and skills necessary to create their projects.

As an architect on their own home, they would simply provide the drawings and details to a general contractor and their team.

The contractor would then ensure they could accommodate the designs and carry out the build.

However, this may be unideal for some architects who do not wish to spend time, energy, or resources on their own house’s design.

In this case, architects can hand the entire project over to the architecture and build team.

In this way, architects can act as consultants or clients on the project.

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What Are The Obstacles?

Architects who choose to design their own houses may experience certain obstacles, although they may not be outright disadvantages.

Architects work on many structures, although reports show that only 2% of architects work on houses.

Accordingly, individuals may have experience building high-rises, commercial buildings, or structures but may not have experience in residences.

Since this is the case, it may be difficult for architects to imagine a home design or think about specific elements that belong solely to houses.

Secondly, some architects focus on the aesthetic aspect of buildings while structural engineers take care of elements such as weight, weather conditions, and longevity.

If they work on a house without a structural engineer, they may need to consider these factors on their own.

Finally, architects typically design buildings and structures to the specifications of their clients.

If they are the architect and the client, they may have trouble making decisions and sticking to their choices.

However, while these factors can be challenging, they are not impossible issues.

If architects genuinely wish to work upon their own homes, they may want to hire an architectural designer, junior architect, or structural engineer to help them with the difficult aspects.

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The Pros And Cons:

As an architect, it can be exciting to design your own house.

A few advantages you may reap from your project include:

  • Professionals can pick and choose their favorite elements of architecture and design to apply to their own houses. 
  • Architects know precisely how to bring specific ideas to life in ideal and cost-effective ways.
  • Individuals have the option to customize their dream houses fully.
  • Architects with small budgets know how to set up their homes so that expansions or renovations can add to their overall vision.
  • Experts can oversee the construction and team members with a confident eye.
  • Architects can prioritize quality materials rather than using resources that may break down or wear easily.
  • Architects can avoid costly or dangerous mistakes in home design.

Depending on the individual, they may encounter any of the following disadvantages:

  • Individuals may feel overwhelmed with decisions, understanding the pros and cons of every choice.
  • Architects may have trouble choosing a particular design.
  • They may be unable to rest while working on designs and redesigns.
  • If architects have families, their partners and children may feel they are living in their partner’s home rather than a family home.
  • Architects may have trouble sacrificing elements of design to obtain others. For instance, they may have trouble balancing the budget with ideal aesthetics.

How To Build Your Own House? (General Guide)

Understanding the general steps to build your own home can help you decide if you would like to take on the endeavor yourself or hire a professional team:

  1. Choose and purchase land: Purchasing a plot of land involves scoping your area for available opportunities within your budget, researching laws in the region for residential construction regulations, and understanding what you can build on the specific land.
  2. Design your home: As an architect, you may decide to draw up the plans or hand the job off to another professional. Drawings may need final approval from an engineer depending on the laws in your area.
  3. Obtain development and building permits
  4. Schedule services appropriately: It is challenging to align all the professionals at the right time in your project. Fortunately, if you are an architect, you may pull off this process flawlessly. You may need an excavator, contractor and construction team, landscaper, inspectors, and gas, water, electricity, sewage, and drainage providers.
  5. Excavate: Excavators will dig the hole for your foundation. During this stage, you will also need to lay any underground utilities and pipes.
  6. Lay the foundation: A construction team will crib the foundation walls. After this is complete, they will pour the concrete for the foundation, or you can call the concrete company to pour it yourself.
  7. Order the lumber
  8. Set up the house frames
  9. Prepare the roof and siding: Roofs and sidings protect your house. You can hire a roofing company to do both jobs in most cases.
  10. Install electrical and HVAC system
  11. Insulate the home and install drywall
  12. Design, decorate, and furnish the interior
  13. Finish the landscaping
  14. Receive a final housing inspection: A final housing inspection will confirm people can live in the house.

What Do Architects Use To Draw House Plans?

Architects use CAD software to design most buildings and structures, which remains a valuable tool for architects’ residences.

However, they may also use floor planning software, or 2D CAD software, to consider floor plans and sections of the home.

Floor planning software can speed up the design process since it contains pre-designed objects such as windows and doors.

Useful Online Resources:

Many helpful online resources facilitate the design and building process:

  • Room Sketcher: Home Design Software
  • AutoCAD
  • Home by Me
  • Building Your Own Home: a Step-by-Step Guide
  • How To Build Your Own Home
  • Building Codes by State
  • Local Home Construction Rules and Regulations
  • National Association of Home Builders Building Codes
  • How To Find The Best General Contractors Near You

Final Thoughts

When you are an architect, you design and oversee builds every day.

For your own home, you may enjoy creatively accommodating your own ideas, or you may wish to hand the process off to another professional architect, engineer, or contractor.

Likewise, you may feel confident in your ability to build your own house or feel secure in hiring an official team.