Why hire an architects – Part 3

In my last blog, I shared the story of a client who walked in to my office, reluctant to spend any money (Late September). Long story short,  after 6 months of working with designers, design-builders, he finally came to me and we submitted a Building permit package to the City two weeks after going into contract.

Now that the project is under construction, I can gladly share my experiences as lessons for others! Per my last blog you all know that he hired a designer to create drawings, which were conceptual at best. And his General Contractor (design-builder) further had provided some very generic construction details and other design elements that the City was refusing constantly, the client was losing money and wasn’t being able to open his business. This went on for six months, he suffered because of poor advisers.

When he came to me, it took some convincing, but I am proud to share that within 30 days of walking in to my office, he had a permit. We provided and coordinated structural and construction details amongst other things.

When the construction started, his general contractor (same design-builder) not very familiar with building codes suggested eliminating structural & seismic bracing elements because of cost implications.  I informed my client sternly of the consequences.

We don’t just draw, so folks can’t take a CADD or graphics’ course some where and work at an architect’s office for a little while to produce a permit or Construction Document package. We have to follow Title 24 here in California, which has the following main parts:

  • California Building Code which regulates structure, size and design of construction or alteration of any building within the state.
  • California Energy Code (CEC) which inspects and controls usage, distribution and conservation of energy in buildings within California
  • California Plumbing Code (CPC) controlling usage, and efficient conservation of water in buildings
  • California Fire Code (CFC)enhancing safety measures against fire accidents in the buildings

As Architects we got through a very long training and as licensed professionals, analyzing codes and following ethics of our profession is just second nature. When we design and prepare contract documents for a job, we know how to get approvals, follow local and state regulations and still deliver a well thought of, aesthetically superior product.


HB +A Architects is an interdisciplinary San Francisco Architectural practice involved in design and research that aims to yield innovative, iconic buildings and urban environments. With founder Hafsa Burt serving as design director, the firm today consists of design professionals, who remain committed to the practice of architecture as a collaborative and innovative enterprise. Seeking to build projects worldwide, the firm specializes in Green building beyond LEED certification and Indoor Air Quality, targeting “healthy Buildings”. HB +A Architects is a dynamic and evolving practice that responds to the current social and technological conditions, as a commentary in their work. As a small-sized firm, the firm has the ability to provide hands-on, principal involvement from start to finish.

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