“Do I need an architect?”
Within the state of Florida, only the most minor of projects can be done without a licensed professional's review and sign off on the scope of work. Here is a quick guide to help you determine whether your project's scope requires an architect.
|Storage Shed||Architect or Structural Engineer|
|Gazebo||Architect or Structural Engineer|
|Architect or Structural Engineer|
|Residential Remodel||Architect - Unless it involves drywall replacement under $500 only|
|New Residence||Architect and/or Structural Engineer|
|Commercial Renovation /
|New Commercial Building||Architect|
Why these restrictions?
The simple answer is to protect the health, safety and welfare of the public. Even if you plan to own a building forever and never intend to sell it to someone else, the state wants to ensure that what you are building isn't going to endanger anyone else.
My favorite example is a person that wants to put a look out platform on their roof and builds a wood deck on top of their house. Great — this could only affect that home owner ... and his friends that want to come over to visit and spend time up there ... and a large number of people that want to have a party and enjoy themselves on the roof ... and the neighbor that becomes a target of the debris during a hurricane as the platform flies apart, becoming a thousand missiles aimed at their home.
"(Robert's) familiarity with the city and codes had each set of revisions come through with “no comments”, thus sparing us added expense and time delays."
- Nancy and Robert Levy
I'm from somewhere else and everyone in Florida over designs everything...
Yes, and no.
Yes, after a series of devastating storms the building codes have become more and more stringent, requiring that the professionals provide documentation to support their work. While some construction details are accepted in other parts of the country, they have been found to fail here and the code has been adjusted proportionally.
No, Engineering isn't the art of making things strong — it is the art of making things just strong enough.
While we design for upgraded wind loads that aren't typical in the rest of the country, we still design for average storms and have been upgrading our codes and details as new information is studied and made available.
No, due to the adoption of energy codes we are also required to conserve as much as possible and in the case of mechanical systems we are required to provide calculations showing that systems are designed efficiently.