I just finished a basement conversion for my house. I used an excellent architect (Jason Grant with Emotive Architecture) to draw up the plans and a structural engineer (Atlas Foundation) to do test digs to determine if underpinning would be necessary. Atlas worked with my architect to come up with a creative way to avoid underpinning and developed the structural drawings. The process was so easy and seamless that I was able to get my building permit with only 2 trips to DCRA. I also used a great contractor to do the basement renovation (and kitchen remodel and master bath addition – Glen Sperling with Harmony Remodeling) and my architect has remained engaged throughout the entire process. Another plus for hiring an architect.