The Big Issues – What Can Really Go Wrong and the Biggest Lesson Learned – Adventures in Renovating (Part 2)

“Because things go so wrong when you don’t have one” was the answer.

The question? “In your opinion, why should someone planning to renovate their home hire an architect?”

After tackling the “small” issues in our last post, we now move on to the big issues… the HVAC and waterproofing.

The HVAC unit was the biggest issue according to Heather. “We really needed a new unit after the renovation for the entire basement and first floor. The kitchen vents don’t blow air (hot or cold) at all and, several years later, we are just getting this fixed.”

The other big issue was the new basement foundation walls, which weren’t sealed properly. “Our neighbors have experienced flooding, but we never did since we are at the top of a hill,” stated Heather. “All of a sudden, we had rainwater in the basement.” As it turns out, the waterproofing was done, but it was not done right. “After spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on renovations, now we had water for the first time ever in our basement.”

Heather and her husband did Interview contractors and they checked references. Unfortunately, it didn’t help in this situation. After the fact, “We learned that several people had used our contractor and many of them had issues.”

According to Heather, the biggest takeaway from her experience was her newfound understanding of what an architect can do to facilitate the entire building process. “An architect would have caught a lot more than we did. An architect would have caught the ‘big stuff’. An architect would have had common sense that just comes from experience and would have insight that we don’t have. An architect knows because they do this all the time. We didn’t have the experience and knowledge that comes from doing this over and over again.”

An architect could have made all the difference.