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Gary D Brackins & Associates

Residential Designers for Custom Homes, Additions & Renovations Throughout Southeastern Massachusetts

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A:The term Architect is only meant for someone that is registered by the State Board of Professional Regulations to practice architecture. They have received a college degree in architecture, completed an extensive apprenticeship program under the direction of a registered architect and successfully met the requirements of the Board of Professional Regulations. A Residential Designer is someone provides guidance and design drawings on residential projects. For one reason or another they have not met the requirements of the Board of Professional Regulations. They may lack the degree in architecture, the apprenticeship, or the Board's examination.

A: It depends on your project type. According to Massachusetts General Law Chapter 112 Section 60L nothing in Section 60A to 60M inclusive, shall be construed to prevent:
The preparation of plans and specifications for and the supervision of the construction, enlargement or alteration of:
a. Any building containing less than 35,000 cubic feet of enclosed space, the computation to be made according to rules to be established by the Board;
b. Any single or two-family house or any accessory building thereto;
c. Any building used for farm purposes;

So if your project is a single or two-family house, accessory building (garage, etc.) or a farm building you are not required to retain the services of a registered architect and may instead hire a residential designer.
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A:As stated on the heading of our web site we are residential designers. We provide design services for residential projects such as custom homes, additions and renovations. We design decks and garages as well. We concentrate on the form, function and flow, as well as the construction of your project. We work with your builder to ensure the success of your project. We provide design guidance, as well as educate our clients in building materials and products so they may make informed decisions.

A:Even though Gary has over 30 years in the design profession he does not have a college degree in architecture, therefore he can not comply with the formal education requirement of the Board of Professional Regulations. Gary is a qualified professional member of the American Institute of Building Design.

A:Just because we are not registered architects does not mean we lack knowledge. Here is a list of our qualifications:
1. Over 30-years designing residential projects.
2. Over 20-years in the civil engineering profession, most recently with Fitzgerald Engineering, Inc. in Mattapoisett, MA.
3. Hands-on experience in residential construction.
4. Trained in High Wind Wood Frame Construction meeting the requirements of theĀ  Massachusetts State Building Code.
5. Trained in Flood Zone Hazard construction.
7. Experienced in zoning regulations, board of health issues, conservation and wetland regulations, board of appeals and other local issues affecting building construction.
8. Constantly updating our knowledge by attending seminars, workshops and training courses in innovative materials, construction techniques, building materials and structural design.
9. Attention to detail. If it is not obvious how to construct an assembly we provide a detail for the builder.
10. Extremely passionate about providing reasonably priced personable service to my client's dream.

A:Basically with the same approach you would use to hire an employee, or someone to watch over your children. It starts with an interview and doing your homework. A designer should have the "heart of a teacher" and be willing to explain your project in simple terms so that you can understand it. Other guidelines are:
1. Get references of past projects and contact those individuals to see what their experience was with the designer. Would they use them again? What problems were there? Did they provide timely response to questions?
2. Ask if you can stop by to see their project first hand.
3. Did the designer provide you a detailed written proposal explaining the scope of their work, the service they will provide and the fee for such service?
4. Did you sit at their kitchen table or do they have an office? Is this a sideline to them or their full time profession?
5. Have they been designing residential projects for at least 5-years?
6. How do you feel talking with the designer? Did they grasp your ideas and expound on them? Where they able to answer your questions? Did they review previous projects similar to yours with you?

Do not allow price to become your deciding factor. That is the biggest single mistake people make. Remember you get what you pay for. The design of your project will determine how much you pay to build it. It costs a lot more money to build than to design. An error in design will cost considerably more than one done properly from the start.