Take a look around the website, and it becomes clear that most of the buildings haven’t been put together by novices. On the contrary, these are some of the best designed buildings in the country – and such designs come at a premium.
Sure, all architects are put through years of training – comparable to that of doctors in some countries. However, if you’re looking for a premium project, it goes without saying that some are more suited than others.
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This isn’t a ‘how to suck eggs’ guide – it will cover points that most building owners fail to address when they start their design work. Let’s take a look at some of the factors in detail.
The specialist factor
Have you taken on a historic building? Perhaps it’s even listed. Well, suffice to say, your choice of architect is going to be of paramount importance here.
This isn’t just from a design point of view either; it can be from a legal standpoint. There’s a reason architects have such high levels of professional indemnity insurance; any mistake they do make can have disastrous consequences. In the case of a historic building, which might have countless existing faults and be frail to say the least, these risks are multiplied.
As such, finding an architect who has relevant experience is crucial. From both a design and structural standpoint it can make the world of difference, and even if you are taking on a modern design you still have to realize that experience in relevant work is invaluable.
The local factor
This next point is usually overlooked, which is surprising when one considers all of the local issues that can arise during the building process. Unfortunately, localities aren’t equal. That means to say that different regions will have different outlooks on buildings; whereas one design might be completely acceptable in one location, in another it might contravene all sorts of codes that means it’s never passed.
You might have found your dream architect, someone who has been behind some of your favorite buildings. If he or she does not have experience in your local area, it can add more time to the project as design after design gets knocked back. Suffice to say, the old “time is money”analogy enters the picture here as well.
The financial factor
This is one of the more obvious issues, but let’s talk about finances in more detail.
Architects have a habit of having varied pricing structures. This means to say that while one might charge by the hour, another might look to cost your project based on the final cost. In relation to the latter, this might mean that you are paying him ‘x’ percent of the final cost – which can be good or bad depending on the project. As well as these two options there is the fixed cost option, which at least adds a degree of certainty to the project.
Regardless, depending on the type of project you are starting, your architect’s pricing structure can make a huge difference to your total costs – more so than most other contractors.