Why use an Architect ?

Protect your investment – why take the risk?

What is your greatest financial asset? In most instances it would be your home. Should you not protect your investment, your home?  When you appoint an architect, you can draw on depth of knowledge and experience of the issues that can enable or prevent a construction project from happening. We can help understand how things can go wrong, then prevent this from happening and creating unnecessary delay and expense.

An architect looks after your interests.  Safeguarding against those fleeting kneejerk opinions gleaned from glossy internet and makeover shows.   An architect will look for the best solution for your circumstances and requirements.  Avoiding “what if” situations once a project reaches construction, when changes become expensive.

An architect will spend at least 7 years training to attain RIBA and ARB certifications, learning and honing design and technical knowledge to pass onto your project.  We must then attend continuous training to keep up to date with current issues.  A draughtsman can learn basic CAD (computer aided design) from the internet!  However, it is also necessary to know what you are drawing and convey the correct information.

An architect does not just produce drawings.  This is only part of their expertise.  A drawing package has to read as an integrated whole – a set of detailed drawings and schedule of works can run to over a hundred pages in some cases.  An architect will have knowledge of different technical and legal issues, allowing him to help resolve issues that arise during the construction process – or foresee and design out the issues at the drawing board stage. Most clients find the design process to be informative as it leads them through the decisions that impact a design project, without being pressured to make the decisions “on the hoof” later on.

Save money by appointing an architect

The investment in an experienced professional will actually save you money over the span of a project.

An architect will coordinate and provide a comprehensive set of drawings and documentation to allow a number of builders/contractors to competitively tender for the project.  This will allow the client to obtain the best price from the marketplace.  The architect’s work at this stage can also save money, by taking as much guesswork as possible out of the contractor’s pricing system. 

Estimates from contractors are only as good as the information provided as the basis.  A scribble on a napkin simply is not good enough!  An architect will produce detailed drawings, schedules and information to obtain the best set of prices and the best value from the builders at any one time.  The information also allows a builder to demonstrate the ability to actually read and follow drawings and documentation.  I have seen estimates that list items that bear little resemblance to the drawings, thus accounting for the incredibly low price! I have seen considerable variations in some cases – up to £200K on one particular project!  The upper end comes either from builders genuinely offering a very high end service, but more often, it is a builder that has been recommended and thinks they have the job guaranteed, so assume they can name their price.  Conversely, some builders are artificially low and qualify some of their figures, to be confirmed later.  Some items may be unknown, and can indeed be quoted for later, but if this method is used indiscriminately, then there is no confirmed tender price to compare.

Save time by appointing an architect

An architect can save you time.  An architect is familiar with the stages of planning, can guide you through the process, to ensure the most efficient way through the options.  Sometimes the simplest projects are the most difficult to realise – awkward sites, neighbours, planning regulations etc. 

By way of example, on a recent project, which appeared simple and straightforward, actually involved a few levels of complexity that needed to be resolved prior to submitting a planning application. These were identified early on and agreed with client, consultants and the local authority planning and building control. This route actually made a considerable saving on time. In comparison, the client’s neighbour was also carrying out works and had elected to use a draughtsman, so did not have the benefit of experienced advice or a vision of the end product – they had started a year previous and as my project came to a finish, they only just managed to attain their planning permission… after 3 years and multiple attempts – elements of the design were still missed off the drawing, so these required further planning applications to amend!  This “learning on the job” method can add considerable time – so consider how important your time is, especially if it drags into years… this translates directly into cost – the builder will need to bring different trades back multiple times to make changes. This chaotic and inefficient stop-start working can also mean items are missed off the build, adding more delay and cost.

Why use an Architect?

I have heard a number of reasons why not to…

“Architects are expensive!”   “But I just want some drawings!”  “I can learn architecture by watching youtube” “we just want some (free) ideas to get us started)” “we are interviewing a lot of architects to see who can give us the best ideas, so my son can draw up the best one”… These are some of the actual responses I have had!

But as we can see, we protect your greatest investment – your home and save you money! This is the “return on design”, where the resulting project repays many times over, the initial investment in design.

Why use unqualified, unregistered companies…?

It is clear the reasons why to use an architect… Companies and individuals advertising “architectural services” and “architecture” are often not architects and will not be registered and regulated by the RIBA or ARB.  They will not be permitted to display the RIBA crest, though will go to lengths to blur the distinctions – sometimes perpetuated by the general public when recommending “architects” to friends and family.  They typically provide low-cost drawing services, with no design input, copying a design from one project to the next – they are generally offered as a cheap incentive by a builder to tie a client into their construction services.  This is a false economy as an architect can save the cost of their fee for the reasons shown above.

id8 Designs is an RIBA Chartered Architecture Practice and registered with the ARB (Architects Registration Board). Only individuals registered with the ARB can legally make use of the protected title “architect” and be listed on public directories and advertise their services as an architect. This ensures a high standard of design and professional service, as architects are required to undertake a long period of training, adhere to the ARB code of conduct as well as carry minimum levels of PI insurance. The RIBA has a useful guide to appointing and using an architect.