How Do I Get The Best Out Of My Architect
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- budgeting, style preferences, decision making
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If you are planning a building project, you may be asking: how do I get the best out of my architect? We look at the ways to get value for money from the expertise of your architectural service.
Bob Trimble is a chartered architect registered with RIBA with 30 years experience in the industry. Trimble Architects work throughout Hounslow, Twickenham, Richmond, Kingston Upon Thames, Teddington and the surrounding areas of London.
Tips to get the most out of your Architect
When choosing an Architect for a new project, a few factors should be considered, namely the style preferences and budget.
This short article aims to prepare you on how to get the MOST out of your architect by being clear, confident, and having open communication. Follow our tips to achieve your dream space without unwarranted decision difficulties.
Share Style Preferences
Different Architects are known to envision varying distinctive styles, that may or may not coincide with your ideal design plans.
The client needs to research and select an Architect who is right for them and suits the project conditions, from the size of the task to the technological skillset required. Architects' styles can range from vintage to contemporary, with the weird and wonderful in between; they'll be an Architect for almost every unique style you could imagine.
When researching for the ideal candidate, look into various companies with differing price ranges, artists, styles, previous projects and customer reviews. Boundless Architect options exist, so narrowing it down to a singular final choice can take time.
Ensuring your chosen architect shares your style preference and end vision reduces the likelihood of stressful decision battles filled with uncomfortable negotiations. Instead, your chosen architect and you will work in synchronicity to complete a more unified and satisfactory project.
Looking at an Architects or Designer company website presents potential clients with the chance to view previous projects and determine if these are similar to the client's goals before choosing an Architect.
Furthermore, social media sites like Instagram or Pinterest offer catalogues of previous works, highlighting the craftsmanship of the potential Architects.
Be Upfront About Budget
The budget set for a project should always be viewed as a principal constraint, as for many clients, the budget usually encases the maximum or top-most funds available for the project.
During initial meetings with an Architect, make sure you're honest and clear about what you want and how much you are prepared to part with to make your dream a reality. Keeping your budget a secret will only limit the Architects' cost reduction abilities.
Without a clear outline of the budget at the start, it's increasingly difficult to reduce costs down the line after ordering in and purchasing tools or equipment or hiring additional staff. Prepare yourself as these decisions cost money that the designer may not be aware you don't have.
Professional Architects are more aware of how to economically produce the expected results when given the initial budget. They can plan accordingly for the project and advise you of the best ways to cut costs without reducing the quality of service.
Furthermore, they can advise you on the features that will increase value for future potential answers, producing higher returns on projects.
The architect can highlight where it's worth spending on necessary structural aspects and in which cases costs can be scaled back, for instance, with finishing touches or additional choices with varying cost options, such as painting or carpeting.
Budgeting is essential, and informing your potential Architect of your budget is even more so. You may find your available funds don't stretch as far as your expectations.
A professional Architect can guide you through decisions that support your given budget. A lack of clarification before the project construction begins is more than likely to cause problems during the project that can provoke timely and expensive delays.
Running out of money during a project or towards the end is a nightmare for the client and Architect, so make sure this is clearly outlined during initial development plans; DON'T LEAVE IT TOO LATE!
Let The Architect Make The Decisions
An experienced and professional Architect should be able to encourage ideas and creativity to challenge the thinking of the client and grasp their mindset towards the project.
Once you've selected a suitable Architect, resist looking for further options, this will only confuse your viewpoint and path to the end goal whilst undermining the current Architects' position and potentially harming the working relationship.
A damaged work relationship can make the project more difficult, increase waiting times and diminish respect between the two parties. Simply, an unpleasant work environment will make your job and their job much much harder, so avoid it at all costs
Avoid Changing Your Mind
During a project, the worst thing you can do is begin second-guessing yourself or changing your mind. Even small changes made during the construction process can be a recipe for disaster, damaging the end goal and short-term goals.
Changes are more than likely to cost you time and money that you may not have, putting a great strain on working relationships. For instance, change in planning, permission is a lengthy process.
Once you have developed a design, you must move on confidently, so ensure that you and the Architect are happy with the decisions made there and then.
Keep The Architect Informed
Keeping your Architect informed throughout the project is essential; any changes or updates should be communicated to avoid unnecessary mistakes.
Even the decisions that your Architect isn't directly responsible for should be brought up, allowing them to remain up-to-date.
During most construction or renovation projects, various elements overlap with collaborating aspects often managed by a different person. Keeping everyone informed ensures any collaborative efforts are efficient and that all individual aspects are striving to reach the same goal.
For instance, a product may become unavailable, leading to a replacement being required, potentially demanding a change in budget or schedule reallocation.
Get Along With Your Architect
More importantly for those longer-term projects, but just as relevant in shorter projects, is that you and your Architect get on. Having an efficient working relationship can not only determine the success of a project, but the enjoyment felt throughout the project for both client and Architect.
Full-scale home renovations and longer, larger projects can take anywhere from a few months to a few years. During this period, regular communication is expected to retain the working relationship, maintain construction/renovation goals and keep all staff up-to-date.
Working alongside an Architect, you get along with eases pressure and allows for more honest communication, as the client feels more compelled to discuss options as they value their Architects opinion. A poor working relationship can lead to unresponsive and reluctantly honest conversations.
Working with an architect
When you're working with an Architect, consider these points to avoid unwanted situations and a problematic project.
Before You Start
Before a project initiates, you should have a solid idea of your budget. Using online budget tools and cost guides can help accurately portray the available funds and the total projected costs.
These tools help navigate expenses and identify the aspects that cause major increases or decreases. Also, they can specify when a feature may not be worth the cost or definitely worth the cost, owing to projected future returns.
Furthermore, when preparing for a project, talk to family or friends who are or have recently undergone renovation works. Ask as many questions as you can think of, everything will be of use. Whether in a home or business, these recent experiences will prove useful, with learnt knowledge being passed on and the same mistakes being avoided.
Interviewing An Architect
To find out more about the Architects you're selecting, follow these simple tips.
Firstly, never take the architect's word in regards to remaining within budget; this subject is often touchy for both clients and Architects, as without proper planning and poor communication, the budget can often get blown.
Furthermore, to set a budget, all expectations should be openly discussed with the Architect to develop a realistic budget that can cater to your needs both practically and economically. If you aren't sure if something is feasible, ask your potential Architects for advice to see how they respond.
Finally, for further confidence, you can hire a professional Quantity Surveyor to develop cost reports throughout the design work. These reports can provide a reference point for further quotation, as well as provide a safety net to ensure money is being spent correctly and honestly.
When You Commission An Architect
Before commissioning your select Architect, ensure your budget is written into the agreement.
Once signed, the Architect agrees they're aware of the budget so that in the case they exceed the budget without your input or awareness, you have proof. Any negligence or improper completion of the project can be quoted during any potential legal discourse.
Although you have a set budget and this is aimed to maintain, often changes or variations in constriction stages can cause a rise in costs.
A contingency plan should allow for 10-15% (for new builds) or 15-20% (for renovations). In the case you have limited additional funds, make sure you inform the Architect so contingency can be managed within the given budget.
Working With An Architect
Listen to your Architect. They are qualified, professional and educated, with more expertise than yourself. If you instruct them to make decisions against their advice, it's likely to cost you time, money and strain the working relationship.
If the Architect advises against it, figure out if you really need or want the things you're asking for because, more often than not, they will be incredibly costly or unattainable.
You must understand that your decisions, without your knowledge, are pushing your budget further than anticipated. Never underestimate a small want; for instance, having a slightly higher roof can increase costs in lighting, scaffolding, window glazing, plasterboard lining etc.
There are so many avenues one decision could impact, so choose wisely. Furthermore, to avoid unwanted costs, ensure you get cost estimates along the way. Before receiving council or building approval, make sure you have quotes for the work. Each phase of the project entails quotations from various companies, so make sure you're aware of costs in the case plans need to be rejigged.
As repetitively stated above, open communication between client and Architect is essential for a successful project. The working relationship should be built on trust and collaboration, allowing honesty from the get-go.
Architects Near Me
If you are looking for architectural services throughout Hounslow, Twickenham and the greater London area, then get in contact with our team today. We can offer advice and begin guiding you towards making the right decision.
Bob Trimble is a chartered architect registered with RIBA. Bob Trimble has 30 years of experience working with residential and commercial property projects. For 4 years, Bob Trimble has worked from his housing association and private architectural practice for clients throughout Hounslow, Twickenham, Richmond, Kingston Upon Thames, Teddington and the surrounding areas of London.