Until recently, most code enforcement offices in Maine have not been very useful to small residential projects. They have been granting permits to builders who present very little planning, sometimes none at all. As a result, clients have assumed that they don’t need an architectural plan for any work, and they call builders and expect them to handle plans free of charge. Builders are not planners. They are builders. They shouldn’t be expected to handle plans. You call a builder to get a price on a plan.
There are very few architects in Maine and they are heavily booked and very expensive and prefer larger jobs. This leaves almost no one left to handle small job architectural planning on a tight budget and a tight schedule.
Over the past few years, code enforcement offices have become more strict and better organized and now, they demand a proper set of construction plans for granting permits for all residential construction. You, as a client, need to understand that you need a proper set of plans to build something. The old days of getting permits on a whim are over. Furthermore, it is a risky folly to build without a plan. Your costs would be unpredictable and so will your design.
PencilJazz has been teaming up with builders, drawing professional plans for their clients. But this is an awkward situation lately, during this transitional period. Clients still do not understand the value of planning and think they can get that for free. Architects are too expensive and slow. Builders are not equipped to provide proper plans. So when a builder calls me, they need to sell my service to the client before they can offer a price on a job. Some do this well, others stumble because clients can sometimes be stubborn.
When I was younger, no one would dream of building something without a plan. Professional planning was valued. Poor code enforcement, bad architects, the rising cost of construction, the needs of builders to land work, and the carelessness of clients has made my field awkward to sell. But trust me, you need a plan. Those days are over. You should not expect the builder to provide the plan. That is your job and mine.
Furthermore, I can help you find a good builder.