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First, I am not an architect (but probably should have been!)
Background for question: My wife and I are planning to build a home this spring in the Hudson Valley in New York. Using info from the web, I have designed the layout of the house completely including the heating/cooling system. The home is small (1600 sq. ft) and very simple in design. The simplicity of design is accentuated by the use of ICFs, prefabricated insulated roof panels, electric radiant heating, 'at-the-faucet hot water dispensers' only, along with a few other simplicity features.
I now need bona-fide plans that I can submit to the Building Dept. and the GC based on my detailed drawings. Yesterday, I called a few local architects and was shocked to hear that the lowest possible fee was $15,000. This would be fine if I was building a traditional stick built house with old-technolocgy framing/hvac...but not for someone using icfs and prefab roof panels.
Then my wife reminded me that her brother is a licensed architect/engineer in Ireland who has already provided plans for his other siblings' homes in Ireland!
My question, finally, is: can the plans made by my brother-in-law be submitted to an architect licensed in New York State for approval. I am NOT looking for a rubber stamp - I fully expect the architect to carefully review the plans and ensure that the building dept. will not reject them.
Try Craig's list. You'll be sure to find someone qualified there. And why do you need a general contractor? They'll just take more money out of your pocket. You'll save a bundle contracting it yourself. Great choice on radiant electric heat. Very efficient.
Technically this could work. Few concerns:
I've done a project in Ireland. Terminology is completely different. Drawings from over there would have to be heavily translated on this side in order for building department to not freak the fuck out. Your wife's brother will have to spend a lot of time on this to get it right. Are you comfortable underpaying your family?
IFCs are cool, but are not a magical material. Complexity will still come in openings, transitions, waterproofing, etc... In fact you are not really simplifying much. Sticking to mostly one wall system (of any kind) would yield similar results.
I would be very reserved in working with you. "come on guys, this is really simple" is a huge client red flag. Minimal projects are often the most hard ones to get right. You didn't even ask about quality of architects you are looking to work with. Price is your only concern. You are not the only one who thinks this way. This is a primary reason why landscape is littered with shit architecture.
Take pride in your own home. This is a once in a lifetime event. First thing you need to do is realize that you don't know everything. $12K is a great price for a piece of mind.
First of all, what part of New York State are you in? You should speak directly to your local planning department and CONFIRM that you actually need an RA for this job. The vast majority of planning jurisdictions in the US do not require an RA to permit a single-family detached residence and typically a contractor provides basic drawings and pulls the permit himself.
That being said, in New York / New Jersey, you need a local partner to be able to provide exactly what is required to get the permit. I'm sure your brother-in-law would love to put in a week's worth of work for you for free and provide plans for permit but god only knows if he'd be able to provide plans the building department would actually approve. When you go permitting there are specific things planners look for and your bro could make the most bang-up awesome set in the world but forget to do the ResCheck, provide egress calcs, or other items that are usually jurisdiction-specific. No offense, but permitting in NY / NJ is completely different than permitting anywhere in the world and your bro's experience WILL NOT APPLY here. Find someone local and I can help with that if you'd like.
You may also want to rethink the ICFs. If you think an RA is expensive wait until the GC gives you a quote on how much the concrete is going to cost you. If you can't afford a $15,000 design fee you probably will have a hard time affording poured-in place rein. crete. for anything besides footings. A 2x4 stud wall built w/ offsets and old-fashioned fiberglass insul wrapping between the studs will give you more R-value for about a third the cost of your ICFs with a lower carbon footprint too. You can always treat the exterior walls to give them a cementitious look.
apurimac is spot on.
i don't know, maybe it's just me, but someone who can build a home like this, in NY, complaining about fees, voting for Jill Stein, and coming here looking for FREE advice, yeah i got some advice for you. fuck off.
people pay 6% to realtors to sell a home and never complain about the fee. All they have to do is put it on the mls and sit around. To design a home 15k is not alot of money! don't cheap out on the most important thing (the design) ...A granite countertop can cost 10k for gods sAKE! AND YEAH...IF YOU WANT TO SAVE MONEY BE YOUR OWN GC!
Bear in mind that any architect who stamps drawings is probably paying $10,00 per year in liability insurance, and depending on the state their liability on the project can go on until they die. So they have to charge a decent fee to cover 50 years of potential lawsuits on your house.
Apurimac is right about the permit process being so specific to each jurisdiction that you really need to start with your local building office. And personally, I would not approach this project without a GC. Go with someone who has impeccable references from clients of similar-scale projects. Doing it on your own, if you don't have any experience, will be a scheduling and responsibility clusterfuck that will cost you thousands of dollars and months of time, especially since it's *not* a traditional stick-build that everyone knows how to do already. It's well worth it to pay someone else to manage it all.
It appears that irony is lost among this crowd. I was trying really hard not to say what b3tadine did. Except for the Jill Stein part, of course.
Oops, sorry MIles. Yes, I did miss your irony, because it seemed everyone else was being so helpful. Or maybe I'm just really hungover*.
yeah. i'm not doing free advice anymore, abbie and anne are dead, and so is my patience with hipster/yuppie/yippies/doucheknuckles/and1%ersactinglike99%ers
LOL beta! I figured at least this is a little more stimulating than "what grad school should i go to?", but yeah the TL;DR for the OP is go with someone local or GTFO.
Maybe kristofferson can find him a beard in China.
No architect can or will stamp your drawings, it is illegal. Your project is small enough that you do not need an architect. Your builder can draw it and get the building permit. If you want a permit before you get a builder, then get someone to draw it for you (a "building designer" or your brother or even do it yourself.) if you want the skills that an architect can bring then yes you will have to pay for it. $15k is not much compared to the cost of your home. Best of luck to you.
…is probably paying $10,00 per year in liability insurance…
Did I really type that? Man, I *was* hungover! That's supposed to be ten grand.
I am amazed that someone would identify something designed with "new and innovative" technologies as cheaper and easier than the "old" way.
One threshold for an exemption from the requirement for an architect in NY state is: "not over 1,500 square feet" If the construction is unusual, the building inspector may require stamped plans as well. You might be better off giving your sketches to an engineer, rather than an architect; then you can have exactly what you designed, mistakes and all.. I have done lots of "new and innovative" over the years and its neither cheap or easy. Finding a contractor who is a free thinker can be almost impossible.