Log cabin manufacturers will provide you with a number of standard designs in different sizes and styles. If you like a general design but want to make some changes, the manufacturer typically has a designer or design staff that can make modify one of their plans to accommodate you. Or, if you want a custom designed log cabin, then you will probably consider hiring an architect.
An architect provides several advantages over a manufacturer designer. You will normally be able to meet with the architect and express your ideas face to face and be more assured he understands what you want. He will be able to show you various options for your consideration. You are also likely to get more attention. Talking to a designer over the phone is just not as conducive to ending up with exactly what you want.
If you decide to go the architect route, make sure you find one with log cabin experience. Log cabins are different. They have a much greater variety of design options such as stairs, railings, log intersections, great rooms, etc. Also, be sure you are prepared to lay out your new home goals. The architect will help you convert those goals onto a blueprint.
Meet with several architects and determine if you have a good chemistry. Keep in mind that you will work closely with the architect throughout your cabin building process. Get references and talk to his log cabin design customers. You can also ask for his contractor recommendations. Get estimates. The estimate should include the design, guiding the project through the approval process and making sure that the construction follows the plans.
What do architects charge? Just like your log cabin design, there are options. Hourly rates will vary from $50 to $150. The hourly rate may vary based on the type of work. Their fee can be a percentage of the construction cost generally ranging from 5 to 15 percent. The fee may be based on the square footage of the log home. Out of pocket expenses may also be charged on top of the fee.
Upon selecting an architect, you will need a written contract that specifies the fee, a payment schedule for the fee, what work is to be done, the work schedule and a construction budget.