Architecture is to construction what canvas is to a painter. Construction projects are highly complicated and involve countless activities performed by people from numerous trades, and require the preparation of a proper plan for them that serves as a blueprint or guidebook. Moreover, someone must ensure that the project goes according to that guidebook. Furthermore, compliance with government regulations every step of the way has to be ensured if you want your project to reach completion. All these steps require the expertise of architects. They are professionally trained and highly skilled, and they can transform your dreams into reality. They play a significant role in any project’s planning, design, and construction. These include new builds as well as modifications.
Creative and Imaginative Thinking
If you want to gain the most from your project, then creativity is what you need. Architects have gone through highly technical education. This, combined with their experience, gives them highly creative thinking. They can come up with innovative ideas for solving complicated design problems. Whether you are carrying out a house extension, restoration of period properties, or building a new property, you can find good architects who can help you build flawless structures.
Peace of Mind
Like all other professionals, such as lawyers and doctors, architects receive highly technical education and training. They have university degrees, diplomas, and considerable practical experience. They also have to pass a series of difficult exams set down by the (Royal Institute of British Architects) RIBA. Compared to others, there are no other building professionals trained in construction and design to gain such expertise. This entire process can take at least seven years and covers several areas such as building science, contract law, structural engineering, design, etc. You can only call yourself an architect legally if you have passed the first three parts of RIBA and registered with the Architects Registration Board (ARB). The right architect provides more than just drawings. They add value to your projects and give you peace of mind that your project is in the right hands.
Expertise Which Can Make Things Easier
Experienced architects can provide guidance for obtaining all the required legal consents, such as building regulations and planning permission. Throughout the construction process, you have an architect on your side who can help you with contractual arrangements, regulations, and legislation. An architect can find you a reliable builder and inspect the construction process, challenging the builder if any mistakes are made. They can represent you in contract negotiations and enable you to maintain a cooperative and friendly relationship with your contractor. Every building has to be carefully detailed and technologically sound to work properly. Architects can recommend the most appropriate construction methods for giving you a comfortable, draught-free, and well-insulated building while considering your budget.
Value for Money
The creative skills and knowledge of architects can deliver more value than the fee they charge. Whether major or minor, construction projects usually cost a lot, and you get only one chance to get them right. Investing in the right architect, therefore, makes sense. Architects can help you control your project costs, from developing a concept to completing it. They can provide tailored designs to meet your requirements and your budget. They can provide detailed construction information before a project’s commencement and help reduce on-site costs. Architects can carry out intricate detailing to ensure energy efficiency and low running and maintenance costs. You will be saving money for many years to come. Last but not least, a well-designed home which is highly functional and energy efficient will increase the estate value of your property.
Networking to Bring the Best Team Together
One of the greatest advantages of hiring a certified and experienced Architect is that he already has a network of people from different trades who you need for a commercial or residential construction project. There are many aspects of a construction project, and finding the right people can take time and effort. However, the right architect can solve this problem and provide you with the best team. He can put together a team of tested Consultants, contractors, builders, and engineers.
How to Validate if Someone is an Architect?
The Architects Act 1997 reserves the title ‘architect’ for those who are fully qualified and have received rigorous training. Be careful of companies and people calling themselves ‘architectural’ designers or other fancy terms like that. All architects must be registered with the Architects Registration Board (ARB). Most of them are also a member of RIBA. Any individual or firm without either credential is operating unregulated, and it is a bad idea to hire them because there will be no guarantee for their services. Online directories are now available, which you can easily navigate to check the status of an architect/company.
Why Choose a RIBA Chartered Practice?
RIBA has very stringent eligibility criteria for providing its membership to architects. All accredited Chartered Practices should:
- Have a certain number of RIBA Chartered Architects.
- Possess Professional Indemnity Insurance
- Have a highly effective Quality Management system
- Implement comprehensive Environmental, Health and Safety policies.
- Should conduct their business according to a Code of Practice which is commensurate with their status.
What Services Does an Architect Provide?
The following are some of the services which architects provide:
- Project Inception – This is the first step and includes project planning. Your architect will work with you to understand your goals, dreams, and project needs and exchange ideas.
- Schematic Design – The architect will prepare preliminary designs that reflect your requirements. Initial budgeting and problem solutions will be discussed. Your architect will review all the available options, point out merits/de-merits and respond to your input.
- Design Development – The architect will refine the schematic design for better identification of the project’s quality and scope. Cost projections will be used to determine how the design conforms to the estimated budget and make any adjustments if necessary.
- Construction Documents – The architect will prepare the necessary documents for bids, building permits, planning permission, and for the contractor. These usually include specifications and working drawings.
- Negotiation and Bidding – Architects can help you choose the best contractor. This is usually achieved through bidding. The architect will help you evaluate these bids and select the best contractor. He will also prepare the required contract between the contractor and you.
- Construction/Contract Administration – Architects will provide the necessary consultation during the construction project. They will conduct site visits to determine if the construction process is proceeding according to the contract. They will also analyze if the workmanship, materials, and design meet acceptable standards.
- Occupancy Certificate/Substantial Performance – Architects will provide periodic progress reports to keep you up to date with all the milestones till the project is completed.
Other Services Architects Provide
Architects can provide a number of other services including:
- Feasibility Studies
- Project Management
- Site Selection
- Building Condition Inspection
- Interior Designing
- Contract Preparation
Planning Permission and Building Regulations
Two of the most important construction project requirements are planning permission and building regulations. Many construction projects, such as loft conversions, house extensions, basement extensions, and new builds, will require compliance with building regulations and approval from planning permission. Planning permission may or may not apply to certain projects; however, building regulations apply to almost every project. They govern various aspects such as ventilation, plumbing, fire safety, electrical installations, and many more. After being submitted, there is no guarantee that they will be approved. The smallest error can get your application rejected. An architect, however, is well aware of these requirements and will submit planning applications and technical drawings to the concerned authorities for consideration.
Moreover, because of his experience, he would know exactly how these applications should be prepared to ensure approval and compliance. Furthermore, architects will constantly communicate with representatives from the concerned department to ensure the success of these applications. Architects can also arrange all the necessary paperwork for party wall agreements.
The Cost of Hiring an Architect
The cost of hiring an architect depends on numerous factors. These include the type of project (commercial or residential), project size, services required, length of the project, etc. Residential projects cost much less than commercial ones, as the former is usually more complicated. However, the project’s size affects the cost the most. The bigger the task, the more difficult it usually is. It will also take more time to build, so you will have to pay more to your architect. No matter the cost of hiring an architect, one thing is for sure: if you hire the right one, you will derive greater benefits than the money you spend.