Should You Hire Your General Contractor or Architect First When Building New in SoFla

Building a new luxury home requires close coordination between all players in the project. That includes you as the homeowner, your general contractor, your architect, any necessary engineers, and all other subcontractors and vendors who will be essential to your project’s success.

But the question many homeowners have, especially first-timer builders, is who should you hire first?

In our more than 20 years of experience building residential homes and commercial properties, we’ve found that the most successful projects – those that are completed on time, on budget and to the owner’s specifications – are those that engage a builder first and hire an architect immediately after. Here are a few reasons why:

  • General contractors are experts in construction – In a place like South Florida where things like climate, flood zones, soil quality and more can impact a project’s buildability, it’s important to talk to a builder early on in your project because they can advise you if your vision for a specific property will even be feasible.

Architects, though experts in design, often aren’t aware of some of the restrictions the project might face when it comes time to construction. It’s always frustrating to homeowners when they go down the road of finalizing an amazing design with an architect only to discover the project can’t be built as designed. One of the most frustrating ones we’ve dealt with in the past was a design that called for multiple places where 12 foot-long pvc pipes were required…but the standard size is 10 feet long. Custom-ordering pvc – rather than being able to run to Home Depot or Lowe’s – is an extra expense that slows the timeline for a component that doesn’t need to be if you hire your builder to consult on buildability as you go through the design process. The solution is to have your GC and architect working together right from the start to avoid these unfortunate situations.

  • General contractors have established partnerships across all trades – If your project requires specialty skills, your GC will likely be able to recommend an experienced professional in whatever area you’re looking for. Through making suggestions on what is more feasible from a buildability standpoint you can get the design you want without unnecessary delays waiting for a specific tradesperson.

  • You generally save money by engaging a GC as early as possible – Anytime you have to rework plans that have already been developed, you are delaying the project and often losing money. Moreover, when you hire a GC early on in pre-construction, the collaboration between architect and GC often results in a more efficient process with better design plans.

At Seacoast Construction, we partner with homeowners, developers and building partners like architects every day. Collaboration and communication are the key to these projects’ success, and the sooner you get your team assembled and working together, the more quickly your project will be finished. For questions about new construction in SoFla, give us a call at 786-433-8740 for guidance and advice.

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