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Custom Home Building: the Builder, Architect, Engineer Triangle

Different home projects have very different needs, especially when it comes to high-end, luxury homes. For that reason, it is important to know the difference between 3 specific types of home professionals: architects, engineers, and builders. Each one has a different expertise and is responsible for different steps in a new home build. Knowing the differences makes sure you contact the right one.

1. The Architect


Architects are the ones that plan and conceive the project for you. After you consult with them and provide them all of the foundational details (lot size, how many rooms, style, etc.), they draw out the design, working to combine your wants and needs with functional requirements.

2. The Engineer


Engineers, particularly structural engineers in this case, finalize designs into official plans. They take the idea behind what the project is meant to be and put on paper the reality of how to actually make the idea real. They draft official plans for use and ensure that project’s design meets requirements and code.

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3. The Builder


Builders are the implementers of a home project. They are responsible for executing the work and literally bringing the project to life. The equipment needed for the project, the actual acquisition of materials, the labor, and the delivery of the final product is all under their purview.

The Relationship Between the 3


Your wants and needs are the entire purpose of the home. There wouldn’t be a reason for a team, action plan or communication if you were not in the market for a home, and that means, in order for that home to stand the test of time, it needs to be 100% you. Unless you express what your needs are now and can put into words what you feel you might need down the road, the home, no matter how grand and luxurious, will fail the test of time. The more honest you are and the more you express your wants and needs, the more the finished product will feel like luxury and perfection to you.

There is a natural flow when it comes to building a home: architect to engineer to builder.

  • The architect takes location, budget, preferences, and basic requirements, and drafts a conceptual design for the home.
  • The engineer then takes the conceptual design, and applies law, regulation, and science to it, in order to specify how to make the home possible to build, and then drafts plans describing each part of the home.
  • The builder then takes those plans, and puts a plan of action together, acquiring all materials and personnel needed, and moves the project from “on paper” to actual build, until the project is completed.

For smaller projects, you might not need the architect and may instead work with an interior designer or draw up your own plans. You will still need an engineer though, to ensure everything in the design is to local building code and safe. At that point, you can contact a builder and bring the project to life.

It is also good to know that there are many organizations that provide full-service solutions and have in their employ or connections all 3 professionals. For luxury projects, this is an ideal

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