Architect vs. Designer: Who Should You Choose for Your Office Build-Out?

When it comes to expanding your business and creating the perfect office space, assembling a knowledgeable team is crucial. But here's the big question: Should you hire an architect or an interior designer? Although they...

When it comes to expanding your business and creating the perfect office space, assembling a knowledgeable team is crucial. But here's the big question: Should you hire an architect or an interior designer? Although they possess similar skill sets, there are distinct differences between the two professions that can greatly impact your office build-out.

Deciding Between an Architect and an Interior Designer

If you're planning on making significant structural changes to your office space, such as adding or removing walls, hiring a licensed architect is a necessity. Unlike interior designers, architects have the qualifications to submit site plans for approval by the city or county. They have expertise in zoning laws, fire safety regulations, and accessibility requirements, ensuring your project complies with all necessary codes.

While many architectural firms also offer interior design services, it's important to recognize that this is not their specialty. Unless the firm has dedicated interior designers, opting for a hybrid architect may compromise the quality and functionality of your office design. An interior designer specializes in creating spaces that are both aesthetically pleasing and functional, ensuring your office is tailored to your unique business needs.

The Multitude of Skills and Tasks of an Architect

Architects are officially licensed professionals who possess a professional degree in architecture. They have the knowledge and experience to handle the big-picture planning of your office build-out. In addition to designing the exterior of the building, architects consider factors such as safety, code compliance, and energy efficiency.

When working with an architect, they will consult with you to understand your design and budget requirements. They can also assist with crucial predesign decisions such as site selection and feasibility studies. If you're aiming for LEED certification, it's worth considering a LEED accredited architect who can navigate the complexities of sustainable building practices.

After creating schematic drawings, architects develop detailed permit drawings that demonstrate code compliance. These drawings are submitted for review to obtain building permits. Architects also create construction drawings that provide precise instructions for the actual construction process. They oversee the construction, ensuring materials are used correctly, plans are followed, and deadlines are met.

The Expertise of an Interior Designer

While architects focus on the overall design, interior designers excel in the art of crafting functional and visually appealing spaces. They skillfully handle elements such as lighting, drapery, wall coverings, interior finishes, and furniture selection. Unlike architects, interior designers may not require certifications, but many states have specific licensing requirements.

Collaborating with an interior designer from the early stages of your project can yield exceptional results. They work closely with architects to ensure the office space allows for flexibility and accommodates all your needs. Interior designers also work with contractors to price out plans and oversee implementation.

Choosing the Right Expertise for Your Office Build-Out

In most cases, architects and interior designers work together synergistically to create a safe and functional office environment. If your project involves structural changes or extensive modifications to code-regulated areas, an architect is essential. On the other hand, if you're primarily focused on transforming the look and feel of your interior space, an interior designer is the perfect choice.

At WeWork, we have a world-class team of architects and interior designers ready to bring your office build-out to life. Whether you need expert guidance on structural planning or innovative interior design, our team is here to help you create a workspace that reflects your unique vision. Start a conversation with us today and let's transform your office into a space that inspires success.

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