Tag Archives: designer for timber homes

Do You Need an Architect for Your Project?

If you’re new to the process of building a custom home or structure, you may be asking yourself if you need to hire an architect for your project. While our commercial buildings will always require the involvement of a Design Professional of Record or licensed architect, the chances of needing a licensed architect for your residential project are usually slim. In any case, it always helps to know when an architect’s involvement is required and when it’s not necessarily needed. If you’re wondering whether to partner with an architect for your DCS project, read below to learn more about why someone may hire a licensed architect, why it’s not always required and what we can do if you need one for your custom build.

When You Will Need an Architect

For Commercial Projects

As mentioned above, all commercial buildings will require a Design Professional of Record or licensed architect to be involved in the design and development of the project. The main reason behind this is that a licensed architect has specialized knowledge of building codes and safety regulations associated with the well-being of the public. With guidance from a licensed architect, our architectural designers can verify the proper egress widths, exit distances, fire extinguisher cabinet locations, and other “Life Safety” related features of your structure to ensure code compliance, with “Life Safety” referring to the design and operational features in buildings that help protect occupants in an emergency or fire. We can also facilitate a smooth submittal process with state and local jurisdictions by involving a licensed architect or design professional early on.

In some instances, your jurisdiction will say that you do not need an architect involved in your commercial project. While that may be so, our designers will still comply at the state level to confirm your structure meets code minimums. Where MEP (mechanical, electrical, and plumbing) or civil construction drawings are not required, you will also need a liability waiver from your jurisdiction. In most cases, however, clients will need MEP, civil, architectural, and structural drawings to move forward with their projects, and sometimes even additional stamped plans like those for Title 24 from outside consultants and engineers.

For Residential Projects

Although most residential projects do not require the involvement of an architect, there are a few instances where you will need one. For example, if you live in a neighborhood with an HOA, the association may say that your custom home needs to be designed by a licensed architect to maintain a cohesive look with the other houses. Likewise, it may be the case that your jurisdiction requires that you work with a licensed architect for your new home or addition. However, this all depends on where you live and how strict your association or jurisdiction’s building requirements are.

Because building requirements can vary drastically by county, city, and HOA, we try to stress the importance of doing your research early on to verify whether a licensed architect or design professional needs to be involved. If an architect is required, they must be integrated at the very beginning of our process to avoid any unnecessary setbacks. It’s also beneficial for clients to involve an architect early in the process, considering this will save them money and ensure their architect does not have to re-design the structure or re-create construction documents for building department approval.

When You Won’t Need an Architect 

For all other residential projects not located in a strict HOA neighborhood or jurisdiction, a client typically does not need a licensed architect or design professional involved so much as they need an architectural designer for their home or addition. Like an architect, an architectural designer is responsible for collaborating with clients to establish their project goals, budgets, and visions before creating schematic design plans and construction documents based on these discussions. At DC Structures, we work with a team of experienced architectural designers to create custom structures for our clients, from horse barns and riding arenas to timber frame homes and cabins. We also regularly work with a contracted licensed architect on projects that require one and have a structural engineering partner that reviews and stamps our design plans and construction documents to ensure code compliance.

What We Offer 

Regardless of whether you do or don’t need an architect for your project, there are several ways our team can help you design and coordinate your dream structure. Below are a few services we provide as part of our dynamic offering:

A Full-Scope Design Service

DC Structures offers a nearly all-inclusive design service for clients with residential and commercial projects in the U.S. and Canada. Our in-house design team will create your architectural and structural sheets, which will then be reviewed and stamped by our structural engineering partner and our contracted architect in instances where his expertise is required. Though we do not offer geotechnical services and civil drawings as part of our design services, we can help you determine any additional documents or plans you may need as part of your building permit application to ensure a successful submittal.

We Work with a Licensed Architect 

If you need an architect for your project but don’t want to go through the hassle of finding an outside firm, we have a contracted licensed architect that we regularly work with and can utilize for your project. Our architect is a SIPA-registered Master Builder & Design Professional with over 21 years of experience in the design and construction industry who assists us with multiple projects every year. We also have several architectural designers on staff who are on the path to becoming licensed architects and will soon be available for projects requiring their expertise.

We Can Also Coordinate with Your Architect

Occasionally, clients will come to us with an architect in mind or one already contracted for their projects. In these instances, we have no problem working directly with your architect to create a design that fully embodies your vision. One thing to note is that clients need to involve your architect early in our process so we can easily coordinate with them. If they come in after we’ve created the design plans and construction documents, they will likely have to do an analysis and recreation to establish responsible design control before building department submittal.

Structural Engineering Comes Standard 

Prospective clients often ask us if we include structural engineering as part of their design and materials package or custom designs, and the answer is yes! We partner with a structural engineering team — licensed in all 50 states — to review and stamp our design plans and documents and ensure our structures are code-compliant.

Available for Local Site Visits

Certain jurisdictions may require site visits from architects, engineers, or representatives. While some job sites may not be feasible for us to visit, our architectural designers have traveled to and conducted site visits for various projects in Oregon. If you have a locally based project that requires a site visit from an in-house designer or architect, we will coordinate with you to send the right person out to your site.

We hope this blog post answers any questions you may have about hiring an architect for your project! If you feel like you need more information or are ready to get started on your design, give us a call today at (888) 975-2057 or request a quote!

Timber Framing: An Ancient Craft Shaping the Future of Construction

Timber framing is an ancient construction technique with roots dating back to 200 BC. One of the oldest building methods still practiced today, timber framing combines meticulous craftsmanship with premium wood materials to create extraordinary structures that are as durable as they are beautiful. While similar to post and beam construction, this building method utilizes traditional and decorative joinery to join its heavy timber components instead of metal fasteners and connectors. This approach gives way to dramatically open interiors that feature exposed wood members throughout and seamless connections defined by their precision and beauty. 

Keep reading below as we delve deeper into the world of timber framing, exploring what it is, its history, and why it remains a popular choice for construction today! 

What is Timber Framing?

At its core, timber framing is a remarkable building method that utilizes large, heavy wooden posts and beams to create the framework of a building. These wood members are carefully crafted and joined together using traditional woodworking techniques such as mortise and tenon joints, wooden pegs, and scarf joints. Picture the building frame as a giant set of intricately designed Legos, where each piece interlocks perfectly with the next. This method results in buildings with a robust frame capable of supporting heavy loads and providing exceptional structural integrity.


A Brief History of Timber Framing

Timber framing’s rich history stretches back to ancient civilizations, including the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans. It flourished in medieval Europe and was brought to North America by European settlers in the early 1600s. Today, historic timber frame buildings still grace rural landscapes in the United States and Canada, including parts of the original colonies.

Why Timber Framing Endures

Since its inception, timber framing has stood out for its intricacy, craftsmanship, and strength. Though timber framing has evolved to keep up with modern demands, this construction style still boasts an elaborate framework reminiscent of centuries past. Of the many benefits timber framing offers, a few come to the forefront as wholly unique and rewarding advantages for building owners and occupants alike. 

For those interested in building a timber frame home, here are some notable aspects of timber frame structures that have allowed this construction style to endure for thousands of years: 

Strength and Durability

Timber framing is renowned for its exceptional strength and longevity. The massive wooden beams used in timber framing can support heavy loads and withstand the test of time, often lasting for centuries.


Timber framing is an eco-friendly construction method known for its superior strength and energy efficiency. The density of the timbers, combined with their naturally insulating qualities, allow these buildings to retain their strength over time and keep their occupants comfortable in any season. 

Architectural Beauty

Timber frame buildings are well known for their timeless beauty. Their exposed wooden beams and intricate joinery create a warm and inviting interior with high ceilings and open spaces that are visually stunning.


Timber framing is a highly versatile building method used in various types of buildings, from traditional homes and barns to modern commercial structures. Its joinery system allows for flexible interior layouts and architectural creativity that you won’t find in most homes or structures built today. 

Energy Efficiency

Timber frame buildings can be highly energy-efficient structures. The thermal mass of timber helps regulate indoor temperatures, reducing the need for excessive heating or cooling. 

Is Timber Framing Right for You?

Whether you’re considering a new home, a barn, or a commercial structure, timber framing offers a durable and aesthetically pleasing solution that you can count on for a lifetime. Its enduring craftsmanship, exceptional materials, and sustainable characteristics make it a worthwhile investment for the future and one you can proudly pass down to your children and grandchildren. 

At DC Structures, we offer several pre-engineered timber frame home designs that you can modify and customize for your property. We can also turn any ideas you have for your timber frame home or structure into a completely custom design centered around your vision. 

Ready to take the next step in your project journey? Call us at (888) 975-2057 or request a digital catalog here!