It is the designer’s responsibility to put enough information on paper in the form of drawings, notes, and written specifications so that the builder will know precisely how to proceed. The individual who does this could be an architect licensed by your state, a graduate of an architectural technical school, or a self-taught draftsman. Many builders do their own design work, and we know of homeowners who are quite adept at producing drawings themselves.
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Whoever designs the house should be familiar with local building codes, zoning requirements, as well as healthy features, and should have an understanding of what specific homeowner needs must be addressed. If you locate a designer who has never designed a healthy house, don’t automatically rule him or her out. Just because a designer has never done so, doesn’t mean that he/she can’t. Give a prospective designer a copy of the complimentary HHI book, Healthy House Building for the New Millennium: A Design & Construction Guide, as a starting point, and see how receptive he or she is to the concept of healthy construction. That book, though published more than a decade ago, is written with enough depth to give a designer the initial guidance necessary to make your dream house a healthy one.
In general, a designer should be someone who you can get along with on a personal level, one you aren’t intimidated by. He or she should be flexible and open to new ideas. Once you locate someone with these attributes, it is always a good idea to ask for references to determine the kind of relationship that person has had with past clients.
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