Freelance Architect: What Is It? Why Should I Hire One?

Hiring an architecture firm isn’t affordable for most. Hiring a freelance architect is.

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Most people undertaking home renovations, additions, or ground-up construction understand what an architect does, but many likely aren’t sure if they should hire one. Difficulty in determining the need for an architect, and a common perception that hiring one is an unaffordable luxury, contribute to this confusion. While hiring an entire architecture firm isn’t affordable for most individuals, purchasing a custom set of services from a freelance architect likely is, and doing so has recently become widely available due to the proliferation of online freelance marketplaces.

What Can an Architect Do?

Before deciding whether or not to hire an architect, anyone completing a building project should understand exactly what an architect can do for them. In general, an architect designs the layout of a space, the materials it’s made of, and how those materials are constructed in their finished state. A contractor can build a design from an architect’s plans, though they don’t necessarily need an architect’s plans to do so. Whether or not a project would benefit enough from an architect’s plans to justify the investment depends on the project.

A project rendering by Studio NA; image courtesy Studio NA

For an interior renovation that’s replacing existing fixtures, furnishings, or finishes with new ones in a similar configuration, an architect likely isn’t needed. In those cases, a competent contractor should suffice, though anyone taking this approach should clarify their expectations in advance with the contractor. For renovations that will change the location of walls, fixtures, or furnishings, an architect may not be necessary but the project would definitely benefit from their expertise, especially if the design is highly customized or complex.

If a project involves new, ground-up construction, including home additions, an architect is certainly worth the expense, and may even be required by local laws. Even if it isn’t, the complexity of new construction creates significant opportunity for an architect’s plans to maximize the quality of design and construction detailing on any budget. In all of these cases, utilizing an architect’s technical and design expertise will almost certainly save time, money, and effort in the long run.

Why Hire a Freelance Architect?

Until recently, hiring an architect was done by personal recommendations to local firms, an approach that lands outside most people’s budgets. However, since the advent of online freelance marketplaces such as Fiverr, the option to hire a single, freelance architect for a custom set of services has become widely available. Operating with little to no overhead, freelance architects are able to provide the exact level of design work a project needs on a task-by-task basis, making their services far more affordable than traditional professional arrangements.

The experience of working with a freelance architect varies significantly depending on what’s needed for a project. Traditionally, architects create a set of construction drawings that can be given to a contractor to build their design. For ground-up construction, a construction drawing set is definitely needed, and there are many freelance architects who can both design a new building and create the accompanying construction drawing set with enough detail for a contractor to build from. Someone undertaking interior renovations may only need some of the drawings found in a traditional set, so they could engage a freelance architect to prepare only those drawings they need.

In some cases, an illustrative rendering depicting the desired look and feel of a space may be enough to communicate to a contractor the information they need to build the design. Even just determining which types of drawings might be needed for a project can be worth a one-time consultation with a freelance architect, which is a service many provide. In all cases, if an architect must sign any drawing to meet a legal requirement, then a freelance architect should be sought who is properly licensed in the jurisdiction that is imposing that requirement.

How to Hire a Freelance Architect

The easiest way to hire a freelance architect is by using an online platform. With its dedicated Architecture & Interior Design store, Fiverr leads the way in sourcing freelance design services. Anyone searching for a freelance architect can filter their search on Fiverr by the type of deliverable or service they’re looking for, budget range, or seller characteristics, leading to a match far quicker than relying on personal recommendations or local industry groups.

Most talents on Fiverr break their work packages into three graduated levels of service, with price and other items like turnaround time, number of revisions, and final deliverables clearly identified. Specific details are agreed upon through direct communication before an assignment begins, though many freelance architects are likely open to discussing more complex, custom work, beyond their boilerplate services.

Ready to find the perfect design for your project? Head over to Fiverr’s Architecture & Interior Design store and check out the vast range of budget-friendly professional design services at your disposal.

Top image: A project rendering by Crystal Bright; image courtesy Crystal Bright

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