Working with an Architect

What Services does an Architect Provide?

The benefits of using an Architect for your project are many and can range from a few hours to a full service.

Guidance & Vision
The Architect is the one professional who has the education, training, ethics, experience and vision to co-ordinate the entire design and construction process, from helping you to define what you want to build to helping you get the best value for your money and freedom from worry.

Removing the mystery
There is a misplaced sense of mystique about what architects do, a fear even that they will impose their own tastes at the expense of your own. Nothing could be further from the truth. Step by step, by consultation and agreement, your architect will lead you through the entire process from the first germ of an idea to the finished building.

Architects have the imagination to see the overall, not just designing four walls and a roof but creating total environments, interiors and exteriors that will satisfy functional needs and that are exciting and dynamic spaces in which to work or live.

Value for money
Not only will architects provide better value for money, by finding that extra light and space you did not know you had, suggesting materials you had not thought of, making sure you find the right contractor at the right price, but in many instances they will save their clients at least the equivalent of their fees.

There are format safeguards. The contract your architect recommends for the builder may contain such things as a clause that allows you to claim damages for every week/day the project unreasonably runs over and disrupts your home or professional life. This is doubly important because a project which runs overtime will often run over budget too. As work proceeds, your architect will save you time by dealing with problems and disagreements as they arise, leaving you free to concentrate on your own life and work. After the building is complete a percentage of the contractor’s account will be held back for three to six months depending on the project as security against any problems that may arise. This is known as the defects liability period.

Saving you money
A well conceived project can be built more efficiently and economically. Professional attention to detail will save money both immediately through the most efficient use of space and the careful selection of material and finishes and in the long term through environmental sensitivity, energy efficiency, low running and maintenance costs. In the long run good design sells well – a well-designed house will have a higher resale value – a well designed store will draw more customers – a well – designed work environment attracts employees and increases productivity.

Problem solving
Architects are not only designers, they are also job managers. They will guide you through the complex procedures of planning permission and building regulations. They will help you find and brief any other consultants you may need - structural engineer or quantity surveyor for example. They will attend to detail, organize site meetings, contract documents and will monitor the builder’s programme of works through the competition.

How much will it cost?
The Architect’s Act provides for a minimum fee scale which varies for a full service of between six and nine percent of the total building cost depending on the complexity of the building. You can select all or part of an architect’s service. If you only want an hour of general advice or if you need just a detailed drawing then that’s all you will pay for.