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Architectural Myths Dispelled
By Guy Whitehead (MCIAT), Managing Director GW Architectural
Chartered Architectural Technologist
I have found that there are always a number of misconceptions from people when it comes to architecture. Whether that because of a misunderstanding of what the role involves or whether it is simply a matter of understanding what we can bring to a project.
We here at GW Architectural have taken a look at some of the most common ones we come across as part of our work and have taken to dispel those myths.
- Domestic Extensions are not work an Architectural practice will carry out.
It’s often thought that you only need architectural services on large complicated projects. However nothing could be further from the truth. The majority of architectural practices are more than happy to work on domestic extensions and often specialise specifically in this area. When spending large amount of money on your home would you not want the new addition to be the best it could possibly be? Thanks to a boom in home improvement TV shows, homeowners these days have a very strong appreciation of good design. Ensuring that it is put into practice on even small extensions is our job, it will not only add value but character to any property.
- Architectural Practices are too Expensive.
Although employing an architectural practice may appear initially expensive, having the experience and skills of an architectural firm will likely save time and money over the course of any scheme and ultimately add value to your project and property. This could come out of clever design, detailing or value engineering of the building elements or construction. Allowing a designer to carry out the contract administration can also ensure you are safe guarded from rogue builders and that any additions or extras are not being over charged.
- But My Builder can Design my Extension.
It is surprising how many domestic clients will approach a builder directly when considering extending their home and yet never consider the services of an architectural practice. The truth of the matter is that even your builder must employ someone to carry out the design on their behalf. Recent changes in the Construction Design Management regulations (CDM 2015) also mean that as a client you need to appoint a Principal Designer and Principal Contractor to ensure you are complying with statutory legislation, further details on this can be found in our article; http://gwarchitectural.com/domestic/cdm-2015-the-main-changes-explained/
- Contracts are Unnecessary for Small Works.
Contracts are a safe guard that should be applied to all projects, regardless of scale. They not only protect you and the builder but ensure that all of the contractual obligations for a project are met. They set out important information about the project, payments, retentions and defects liability periods. They also identify project programme and completion dates to ensure your project does not run on for several weeks more than is needed and is completed without delay.
- But Architectural Practices Just Draw Plans
As an architectural practice we offer far more than just drawing plans. We are able to take a project from initial concepts right through to managing the project and builder on site. We also offer a number of additional services including; Condition Surveys, Principal Designer Duties, 3D Rendering, BIM modelling (Building Information Modelling), Construction Drawings, Tender Packages for Builders to price and full site Contract Administration. Putting it plainly we are there to hold your hand (if needed) from your initial conception to completion of your project.
- I have Obtained Planning Permission so I can Start Work Now.
We find that some clients often believe that once you have obtained planning permission it is then simply a case of instructing the builder to start the building works on site. Unfortunately planning permission is only the first statutory approval that is required and is focused on building aesthetics and planning law rather than construction. Prior to any works starting you must obtain building control approval for the works which is based around how the building will be constructed in accordance with the approved documents.
- There is no benefit in employing an Architectural Practice to Manage the Project on Site.
In fact there is a great deal of benefit to having us manage your project. We manage a lot of our projects on site and the general feedback from clients is that it makes the process almost stress free from them. It also has the benefit that we will certify the builder’s payments meaning you never pay for any work that has not been completed and you will never be asked to pay for anything up front. We also ensure final payments for works are held back for several months after the project is completed so that any defect rectification works or snags can be completed before the clients have to make the final payment. thus offering you peace of mind that the job is complete to yours and our very high standards.
If you are interested in finding out more or you have any questions or myths we haven’t answered here please visit our website at www.gwarchitectural.com where you can download our guide to domestic architectural services and find hints and tips in our blogs. Or if you prefer give us a call on 0191 269 6963 to see how we can help with your project.