Do I Need an Architect?
Updated: Nov 15, 2019
Many people who are looking to carry out works to their home may ask themselves ‘do I need an Architect’ ?
There is no single answer to this (although i’m inclined to say yes!) as every project & client is unique. A good Architect will be suited to assess every project individually & will be able to tell the client if their services are required, & if so why.
On a number of occasions i’ve been invited to look at work & soon realised that the client requires less involvement, or even a different profession, where my services as an Architect are not necessary. If you were buying a product & the cashier knew it would not suit your needs, they have a duty to tell you, & in this instance it's no different!
So how can an Architect help you? Below are some considerations to keep in mind when looking to appoint an Architect for your own work;
How do I know if I need an Architect?
You do not have to appoint an Architect to carry out works to your house, its your decision.
You need to ask what can an Architect bring in terms of expertise & value to the project.
If you already know what you want to build & who is going to build it for you, an Architect may not be required.
If you do not know what you want to build, an Architect can advise & give you ideas.
If you don’t trust builders or have had bad experiences, an Architect can oversee the construction process & keep an informed eye on their work.
If you are unsure if someone is a registered Architect, you can check using the public database provided by the Architects Registration Board.
If you need someone to oversee the project from start to finish & want continuity, an Architect can follow the entire process & ensure you have consistency.
If you want less involvement, & only require guidance at certain points, make this know & an Architect can tailor their services to your needs.
What are the advantages of having an Architect?
If you employ an Architect you will almost always end up with a more considered end product.
Architects go through an extensive period of training put in place to ensure once qualified they are fully competent & skilled in their profession.
Architects are held by codes of conducts & are required to have professional indemnity insurance to protect the client [See how else the ARB & RIBA help protect clients https://www.jrdkent.com/post/arb-and-riba
Architects can advise on ways to save money through recommending builders, products, or value engineering a design to be more efficient.
As with many things you get what you pay for. If you build a house where corners are cut you are likely to spend time & money putting it right. Investing in the right help at the beginning of a project can save you money & avoid needless errors.
Architects can often increase the value of a property or site through considered designs that are desirable & optimise the space available.
An Architect experiences projects from start to finish making them capable of seeing ‘the big picture’ considering how you use the building, the affect of natural light, & an overall cost.
A good Architect will consider every detail no matter how small contributing to how you experience a building, such as how people move through spaces, the flow of a building, & the affect of natural light throughout the day.
What are the disadvantages of having an Architect?
Architects bring with them fees that add to the overall cost of a project. If you are on a very tight budget you may have to weigh up the value they bring against the cost of their services.
An Architect is another person on the project & another relationship to deal with. If you do not get along with your Architect it could make for a difficult experience! Meeting them before hand is always recommended.
On smaller projects you may prefer to use a Builder who you trust instead of employing a third person who could get in the way.
Some Architects will push you to build what they want instead of what you want. These are not good Architects!
Hopefully the above helps you ask the right questions in determining if an Architect can assist you, & if ever in doubt, we are always happy to help.