What is it that an architect actually does? Can they bring value to my building project? Or are they just going to cost me money? Quick Move Now answers all of these questions and more…
The role of an architect has gained almost mythical-like status; a creative genius who can conjure up a minimalist’s dream home in the blink of an eye. But the truth is that an architect’s help is accessible and affordable to anyone about to embark on a renovation or rebuild.
The role of an architect will vary hugely, depending on the size of your project, your location and your budget and you can always choose the level of involvement you would like your architect to have.
Dan Lewandowski, a director at Eton-based architects Lewandowski Willcox, says:
An architect is well placed to provide advice on the best ways you can achieve your plans within the constraints set out by building regulations, planning permission and budgets.
Your architect will bring together all the elements needed to create your perfect home, from personal whim to technical complexities. The architect will also help you select your professional team and ensure that the information produced is fully coordinated.
An architect is fundamental to a successful building project that is well managed and takes both your current and future needs into consideration, creating an inspiring and sustainable building for you and your family.
The role of an architect is, according to Dan, typically split into three separate stages. But, he added,
Every single project is different and so the stages are just a guide of what to expect when you embark on a building venture.
During this first stage an architect will discuss your project in great detail with you, getting a real feel for what you want to achieve. They will offer advice and guidance on how you can best achieve this, while sticking within the strict guidelines set out by planning and building regulations.
Your architect will produce the plans to be submitted to the local council’s planning department and will then deal with all correspondence with the regulatory bodies, as well as preparing drawings to show how the building will meet UK building regulations.
When considering this first stage, there can often a number of extra costs to take into account, says Dan, including items such as tree surveys (£1,000), site surveys (£1,000) and sustainability consultancy (£500-£1,500). The exact requirements and costs are very project specific.
Once you have been granted planning permission, your architect will develop the drawings, specification and design, in conjunction with a group of other professionals that varies depending on your project, but could include structural engineers, services engineers and a quantity surveyor (or your building accountant!).
Your architect will always be aware of your budget constraints and will keep you fully informed of additional costs, such as statutory fees to the council for planning (£500) and building control (£3,000).
It is also good to note that VAT is not payable on new building work, but is applicable to refurbishment projects.
The enhanced drawings your architect will create allow for your project to be tendered and submitted to Building Control to achieve Building Regulations approval. Your architect’s role will then involve them presenting a summary of the tenders received to enable you to enter into a building contract with a chosen contractor.
Once the contract is awarded, the building works can get started.
Your architect will take control of the administration of the building contract up to, and including, practical completion.
An architect can help with any building project, at any stage, for any amount of time – offering advice and guidance on both the practicalities and legalities of renovating or rebuilding a home. The role of an architect will vary depending on the size and location of your project, but whatever you chose to do they can help guide you all the way to your new front door.