What are the advantages of modern architecture

Building an architect house: advantages, disadvantages and costs

The property is already there, but which house should be on it? When choosing between a model home and building with an architect, you are faced with one of the biggest decisions of your life. We can't take it from you, but we provide you with the most important information about the architect's house.

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What is an architect house?

When it comes to building your own home, the terms architect's house and turnkey house or model house have established themselves as the two main variants. While the model house is being built according to an existing construction plan and can also be viewed in advance, the architect's house is created as a one-off. The architect is given the task of realizing the client's ideas and ideas. From planning to preparation of the permit and construction supervision. The model house buyer has less freedom of design, but also gets his dream house much cheaper. An architect house has many advantages, but also some disadvantages.

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By the way: A model house was also planned by an architect. Only this is employed by the construction company and is not commissioned by a single client. In this respect, the term architect house is perhaps a bit misleading. Individual house or one-off house would be better in terms of content.

And: a prefabricated house is also a model house. It consists of prefabricated components which then only have to be put together on the construction site. A model house, on the other hand, can also be a solid house that is built using the stone-on-stone construction method. 90 percent of home builders today opt for the turnkey variant.

What are the advantages of an architect house?

So that you can be clear about whether building a house with your own architect is the right thing for you, here are the advantages of an architect's house.

1. Individual design

An architect house is primarily based on your individual wishes and the needs of your family. As the builder, you determine in detail what size and style the building should have, how the rooms are divided, what materials are used, how the bathroom and kitchen are equipped, what type of building technology is integrated and how the green areas are designed. You can also discuss somewhat idiosyncratic ideas with an architect. A pool in the living room? The kitchen on the first floor? The architect is also there to translate unusual wishes into reality or - if there are good reasons against it - to advise against it. The result is always a house that has never existed a second time - a real one-of-a-kind.

In the case of a model house, the basic framework is already determined. Most providers today also give you the opportunity to realize your own ideas here and there. Depending on how much they intervene in the existing planning, changes often cost extra.

2. Free planning of building services

Prefabricated houses usually have standardized electricity and water connections. The position of the radiators and the heating system used are also determined. An architect's house is much more flexible when it comes to building services. Even in the planning phase, you can think about underfloor heating, an integrated fireplace, a sauna or a photovoltaic system. The positioning of the individual sockets is just as possible as complete automation using smart home technology or an adjustment of the roof pitch to make solar power generation more effective. A good architect also keeps an eye on costs and plans in such a way that integrated energy and CO2 saving measures are eligible for funding.

3. Far-sighted view of future use

In the house planning phase, the demands on the building are usually clear. In addition to living and dining areas, a kitchen and a bathroom, you might need two or three children's rooms and a garage. So much for the current situation. But what if you think 20 years ahead? If you still want to use the house sensibly, an architect house offers a variety of future options.

If you are thinking together with an architect that your children will want their own bathroom or a separate entrance later or that it is foreseeable that a parent in need of care will move in with you one day, the planning looks completely different. According to Eva Reinhold-Postina from the Association of Private Builders e.V., the later move-in of a nurse can also be included in this phase of life. This does not necessarily mean that you are already building the house in this way, but it does mean that you plan, for example, water and electricity connections and the floor plan in such a way that the conditions for a later renovation or division of the house exist.

4. Consideration of the construction site

If you are not planning your house in a developed new development area, but on a single piece of land, an architect's house can book another advantage for itself. The architect can check for you on site whether your building project fits the existing property. If, for example, it is a hillside location, he takes this into account when planning. If you decide on a turnkey property, the provider would have to reschedule this accordingly. A service that means additional costs.

5. Expert construction supervision

Eva Reinhold-Postina draws attention to another advantage: the construction of an architect's house is accompanied individually. The architect is regularly present on the construction site and is the contact person for construction companies, craftsmen and for you as the builder. The building supervision is a service that is paid according to the fee schedule for architects (HOAI) and is already included in the package price for a turnkey house. In contrast to the turnkey house, where the construction management is of course also done, the freelance architect works exclusively on behalf of and for you as the builder.

If the builder of a model house lacks precisely this independent expertise, he can turn to the Association of private builders e.V., says the Berlin graduate engineer. Because it was founded precisely for this reason. To be on an hourly basis as experts with good advice to build clients, who are usually not specialists and who build without architects.

What are the disadvantages of an architect house?

The advantages of an architect's house are of course also offset by some disadvantages, which is why fewer builders opt for an individual house than for a model house.

1. The planning phase is more complex

An architect's house means a greater expenditure of time than the construction of a turnkey object. The planning starts all over again. After all, there can be no blueprint for a unique specimen. The time required is also higher for the builder. There are on-site viewing appointments, a number of appointments to make decisions about architectural style, building services and materials, and extensive email correspondence. Whether this is a disadvantage, however, is a question of type. The graduate engineer Eva Reinhold-Postina points out that this is usually about the biggest investment in life. It should be more of an advantage if you can have a say in everything and invest your time, and in the end you get a house that really meets your expectations.

2. Long construction phase

Construction also takes significantly longer. While prefabricated houses can be ready for occupancy in eight weeks today, you should expect half a year for an architect's house. The more unusual your property, the more difficult it will be for the architect to precisely calculate the move-in date. If special building materials have to be ordered or only a very specific craftsman can carry out a special order, the construction phase takes longer.

In the case of a model house, the developer can tell you very precisely when you can pack the moving boxes. After all, he has had your house built a few hundred times in this way or with minor deviations. According to the new building contract law, builders of an architect's house also have more planning security: How long it takes to build a house has been in the building specification since 2018.

3. More complicated approval

An architect's house must also adhere to the applicable development plans and other legal framework conditions. This leads to restrictions in the implementation of individual ideas and can also make the approval of the building application more complicated.

4. An architect's house causes higher costs

Building an architect's house is usually more expensive than building a turnkey property. Individual planning, exclusive materials, special technical requests and additional fees for approvals and approvals drive up the price. On the other hand, it is always up to you as a builder to decide against expensive extra equipment.

The advantage of an individually planned house is precisely to find the balance between desire and reality together with the architect and still be happy with your new home in the end. After all, an architect's house has to stay within your budget if possible. Anyone who wants to know how much the architect's fee is before the first meeting can be found in the fee schedule for architectural services (HOAI). Your planner is bound to this as far as payment is concerned. The fee depends on the construction costs: If you decide on an expensive variant, the architect's fee automatically increases. On average, it is 15 percent of the construction cost.

Additional costs may still be incurred due to the difficulty in calculating the timing of the construction phase. Because if you live to rent before, you will eventually have to terminate the contract at some point. Not nice if the new house is not ready to move into at the end of the rental period.

5. Finding an architect is often difficult

Do you already have your dream house in mind? It should be made of wood and have a solar system on the roof. Now you need an architect who can turn your idea into reality, but you can only find specialists for solid houses? Finding a suitable architect is not that easy these days, says Reinhold-Postina. After all, architects usually do not make a lot of profit by building their own homes.

To be sure that your dream architect has experience in this field and likes to build houses for families on a regular basis, a look at the architect's website helps. And in order to find a specialist for wooden houses at all, the first way is best to go to the website of the Chamber of Architects of the relevant federal state.

Those who plan for the long term and are still looking for suggestions, according to the client consultant, can also make smart ideas on Architecture Day. Public and private homeowners can take a look at their domicile there. There is also an app for the nationwide offer.

For whom an architect house is worthwhile

An architect's house costs time and, statistically speaking, more money than a turnkey house. If you have a building site for which there is no development plan, if the property is cut unfavorably or if the municipality demands that the architectural style must adapt to the existing environment, planning with an architect makes sense.

However, if you find your dream home with a model home provider and want to build it on an unproblematic plot of land, you will certainly be better off financially with the package solution. If, on the other hand, you cannot find a model house that meets your expectations, an architect's house may be cheaper. Special requests, if they can be fulfilled at all, are often expensive and quickly increase costs significantly.

*So-called affiliate links have been added to this post. This means that we receive a small portion of the commission when the purchase is made. This does not increase the purchase price.