[Ask Michelle] Do I Need a Licensed Architect for My Remodeling Project?

In the State of California, not all building projects need to be designed by a licensed architect. According to the chart posted on California Architects Board‘s website, unlicensed persons may design the following:
  • Single-family dwelling of woodframe construction not more than two stories and basement in height.
  • Multiple dwellings containing not more than four dwelling units of woodframe construction not more than two stories and basement in height. No more than four dwelling units per lot.
  • Garages or other structures appurtenant to single-family dwelling, or woodframe construction not more than two stories and basement in height.
  • Agricultural and ranch buildings of woodframe construction, unless the building official having jurisdiction deems that an undue risk to the public health, safety, or welfare is involved.
  • Nonstructural or nonseismic storefronts, interior alterations or additions, fixtures, cabinetwork, furniture, or other appliances or equipment, including nonstructural or nonseismic work necessary to provide for their installation.
If structural design is necessary, the designer (licensed architect or not) will work with an engineer. 
Additional reading:
Consumer’s Guide to Hiring an Architect – California Architects Board
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