Guest Blogger #743, Entry #1743, October 21, 2012
By the very nature of their profession, architects understand how buildings work. Most people do not pay a great deal of thought to the ways in which buildings are designed or constructed. Fewer still wonder why rooms are arranged the way they are, while many fail to appreciate the layouts of homes. In short, people tend to take their homes for granted, but they can only do that because architects who understand buildings designed them that way.
On the other hand, badly-designed buildings can give rise to considerable inconvenience; for instance, having the only bathroom lead off one of the bedrooms. Poorly-designed rooms make living more difficult or uncomfortable.
In the current economic climate, with many people choosing to extend or remodel their existing homes rather than try to sell and buy something new, hiring an architect to help provide an insight into the bigger picture of a building’s potential will ensure the finishing project not only works but is in harmony with the existing building.
Not all building projects need the use of architect services. For small projects, such as those for which you don’t need planning permission, it’s not strictly necessary to hire an architect, although they can provide advice on matters such as whether or not there will be sufficient light, enough storage or whether more heating will be needed.
How to Choose an Architect
Ask around to try to get a recommendation. Many architects work by word of mouth, so it’s possible that one of your acquaintances will know of someone. Check they’re registered with the Architect’s Registration Board (ARB) and The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).
Make sure the architect of your choice has experience with the kind of build you’re planning and check his track record with local planners. Take up references and find out about important details, such as how he managed the budget and how well he responded to changes. Shop around, speaking to as many different architects as you can. The first consultation is usually free, so you’re able to gather ideas as you go while you find the right person to undertake your project.
Stay in Communication
Problems can sometimes arise between architects and clients, but these can be minimised when both parties know where they stand from the beginning. This includes having such things as the budget and the division of responsibility set out in legally binding terms from the outset.
Make sure your architect understands exactly what sort of finished job you’re expecting. It can be a good idea to put together a scrapbook or journal that documents the features and finishes you want included in the design. Having a clear vision helps you communicate your likes and dislikes, which in turn helps the architect design the building you’re hoping to create.
Hiring an architect can also ease communication between yourself and the builder, as he will often act as an intermediary. Your architect will also check the building work and sign it off before you pay the builder, so you have the peace of mind of knowing the work has been carried out to the correct specification.
This guest submission was contributed by Lloyd on behalf of McCormick Architecture.
Image sources: 1, 2
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