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Architects, Contractors and Inspectors


You’ve gotten an idea of what you want, you’ve figured out a general budget, and now you’re ready to take action on your home renovation. While the vision and decision to make improvements start with you, unless you have the skills and certifications needed, you will have to enlist the help of a few professionals. So, who are the professionals, and how can they help you put your plans into action?

Design Professionals: Architects and Engineers

Registered Architects (RAs) and Professional Engineers (PEs) plan and design buildings that are functional and safe. Both are professionally licensed through the State of New York and have general knowledge of things like window replacement, roofing, and building construction. Both professionals also offer services that include evaluation, planning, design, management, and administration. If you’re deciding between an architect and engineer, it’s best to look at the professional’s work experience and training to see whether they’re a good fit for your specific project.

Your professional will work with you to plan a home renovation that fits your needs functionally and aesthetically, while taking into account your lifestyle and the site of construction. They’ll also help you understand costs and any considerations for future maintenance. After creating plans and drawings detailing the work to be done, they will submit an application for approval by the NYC Department of Buildings (DOB). Your architect or engineer can also be involved in supervision and inspection of the work once the construction phase begins.

Skilled Tradesmen: Plumbers, Electricians, and Other Contractors

These professionals carry out the actual improvements outlined in your plan. NYC’s Home Improvement Business Law defines a contractor as anyone who does home improvement and agrees to work on a project. It’s easiest to hire a primary licensed contractor who will oversee your entire renovation, including hiring subcontractors who specialize in areas related to the project, like plumbing, security systems, or electrical work. Your contractor will secure permits, find the necessary professionals, and keep records of all transactions and keep all paperwork according to state and local building laws. It’s important, though, that as the homeowner you verify all permits and licenses (all home improvement work valued over $200 must be done by a licensed professional).

City Agencies: Inspectors

Once your renovation is complete, your updated home has to be inspected to ensure that it’s safe and complies with the Building Code. A licensed professional like your architect or plumber can often certify work and send a report to the DOB for approval. Otherwise, you can arrange for an NYC Department of Buildings inspector to come to your home. The inspector will examine the finished job and ensure that the work done matches the plans that were originally approved by the City. Once any objections have been addressed and you’ve passed inspection, you will receive a new or updated Certificate of Occupancy from the DOB.

If you’re looking to plan your home renovation and need more professional input, contact Strata Architecture + Design to learn more about how we can help.