When Do I Need An Architect?

By Grayson Silver

This is a question asked by just about every consumer that is not regularly involved in construction practices.  While each municipality has different requirements, for the purposes of this blog, we will be focusing on the regulations that govern construction in the Pinellas County, Florida area.

The answer is pretty simple, whether you are preparing to embark on a residential or commercial project, the Building Department will require that a licensed architect or structural engineer sign and seal construction documents on any new structure, addition to an existing structure, or interior renovation that involves any alterations to load bearing walls.  In short, if your project requires the evaluation of or modification to any structural elements of a building or dwelling you will be required to hire an architect or structural engineer.

While residential interior “redecorating” does not require an architect’s seal so long as structural modifications are not required, commercial interiors do require an architect’s involvement and seal unless the interior renovation does not (a) require structural modifications and (b) the value of the interior renovation is less than $25K.  The commercial projects have a greater responsibility because these buildings serve the general public and thus must meet additional requirements such as ADA Compliance, a stricter Life Safety Compliance, and depending on the value or amount of the interior renovations that are taking place additional site requirements may be applicable.


A How To Guide For Architectural Consumers In The Tampa Bay Area

By Grayson Silver

The purpose of this blog is to provide strategies to the architectural and construction consumers of the Tampa Bay area with an emphasis on architectural practice in              St. Petersburg, Florida.  Within the following posts and links, we will discuss how to find an architect, the role of an architect, when to hire a contractor, what contractor is right for you, various building code requirements and how each of these concepts affect your next construction project.

First, some introductions are in order.  My name is Grayson Silver and I am a designer and project manager for a local architectural firm, Architect Larry LaDelfa.  I have been in this position for the past 10 years and over that time I have provided design concepts, construction documents, and construction oversight on over 100 projects in Pinellas County.  In addition to my time as a designer, I have spent 5 years in the construction industry working in the fields of construction scheduling, carpentry, electrician, and landscaping.  To say the least, I have seen both sides of the isle between architecture and construction.  I grew up in a family of contractors with my father, step-father, and uncle each owning their own construction company (summer jobs were not in short order and these years are independent of my professional construction history).  I attended Clemson University where I attained a Bachelor’s of Architecture degree and I am currently enrolled at the University of Florida’s Advanced Masters of Architecture Program – CityLab Orlando.  You can feel free to further explore my background by visiting my offices website at  www.architectlarryladelfa.com.

Over time we will explore concepts you, the consumer, need to be aware of prior to starting, during, and after your design efforts have been completed.  I will make efforts to answer your questions, with the help of my office’s design professionals, engineering consultants, and local contractors.  This blog is meant to be interactive.  Post a question and check back to see how our firm has dealt with similar issues.

– Grayson T. Silver, Project Manager/Designer – Architect Larry LaDelfa