When we think about typical projects requiring an architect’s expertise, many think exclusively of multi-unit residential, institutional and commercial buildings. There is some mystery surrounding what the services include, whether architects are accessible, and whether their fees are too costly for custom residential projects. But the truth is, architects are ideally suited to design custom residential homes.

Carolynn Wilson is principal with carolynn wilson architect ltd. She is also a member of Architecture Foundation of BC (AFBC)—a non-profit organization that advocates for architecture and design in BC.

Wilson says there is significant value for owners in hiring an architect to design their home, and this value is apparent every step of the way.

“Architects provide options and remain value-driven in their decision making from the very start of the process, while overseeing all aspects of the project through to the end of construction,” she says. “This can save owners from costly errors in site planning, bylaw analysis, low quality design, poor quality construction and unhealthy materials.”


With the extensive design training, experience and construction knowledge, architects provide higher quality design and buildings, resulting in a better quality of life for the occupants. Not only that, but higher quality homes are easily recognizable in the resale market and tend to see higher resale values.

“We find many clients today engage architects with specialized skills and who are leading the way with long-term, sustainable solutions in the custom home industry,” Wilson says. “Climate and lifestyle driven decisions are leading to new directions in single-family homes.”

Environmentally focused systems are becoming more mainstream and professional design is reflecting this with integrated design for solar power, heating/cooling systems to significantly reduce energy consumption, better performing exterior wall/roofs/windows, healthier buildings, accessible design, aging-in-place, multi-generational living and much more.

“When a home is well designed, the customized goals of each client fold seamlessly into a harmonious experience of the home,” Wilson says.


Architects are licensed through the Architectural Institute of BC (AIBC) to protect the interests of the public in all aspects of the design and construction process. As coordinating registered professionals, they work with all required consultants to co-ordinate their work through to building permit and during construction.

Architects research materials options for the client, noting the required maintenance, longevity and quality of materials so homeowners can make informed choices. Once all aspects of the design, construction and materials are documented in drawings and specifications, these documents form a contractual agreement between the owner and contractor/trades, overseen by the architect.

“The architect also provides change orders, site instructions and field reviews, resolves unforeseen conditions, and provides all design work if changes are wanted,” Wilson says. “A good investment in custom residential design begins with engaging the right architect.”

Learn more about engaging an architect’s services in your custom residential project at | architecturefoundationbc.ca

Connect | Facebook |Instagram | LinkedIn