Where To Find an architect
An architect can have a wide range of functions. We can break them up into two main groups; those who do the Design and Planning of Buildings and those who do the Delivery of buildings. Architects can choose to do both.
Design and Planning
The skill of producing a building to a client’s brief that also conforms with local planning policy.
This covers the more practical aspects. Making sure the building conforms to UK Building Regulations, knowledge of materials, engineering, project management and how buildings are actually built.
Do I need an architect for an extension?
No, anyone can design your extension if they have the knowledge and expertise but an architect (who will meet specific standards as set out by the Architects Registration Board (ARB)) can bring a number of benefits to your project:
- A local architect should have a good understanding of the local authorities guidance and planning policies and ensure that the work is professionally done
- Architects are highly trained and may be able to see possibilities or take factors into consideration that you haven’t thought of – the direction of the sun, the direction of the best views, ensuring you’re making the best of the space you have, the light is right, the flow of the rooms works etc
- Architects are generally also good at the smaller details that you may not have taken into consideration – which way should the door open? Are the electrical points in the the right places?
- Architects can also help to maintain the quality of the materials, instruct other workers, control expenses or supervise the entire work process
What type of architect do I need?
An architect can work on any kind of building – blocks of flats, offices, new build houses, sports stadiums etc so it’s important to make sure that your prospective architect specialises in Residential and Homeowner work. There can be a lot of challenging aspects involved when building an extension – dealing with the local authority, planning policies, builders, building inspectors so your architect needs to have a thorough understanding of these.
Are they registered with the Architects Registration Board?
All architects must be registered with the Architects Registration Board (ARB). Anyone can do the work of an architect – surveyors, engineers, anyone that has the skills to prepare and submit planning applications and create documentation to build your extension can carry out the work of an architect but they cannot call themselves an architect.
If you see variations of the word ‘architect’ being used, such as ‘architectural’ or other slightly adapted job titles, then these people are probably not registered architects. Employing someone who is not a registered architect does not necessarily mean that their standard of work won’t be high. However, it is worth bearing in mind that they won’t be obligated to follow the ARB code of conduct and you will have limited rights if something were to go wrong at any stage.
Are they familiar with the local planning policy and what will be generally accepted by the council?
Every borough/council is generally the same, but there are minor variations and sometimes it’s just half a meter here and there and slightly different policies. Because of these slight variations (which can mean the difference between whether the work comes under permitted development or requires planning permission) it’s best to get a local architect or an architect who works in that borough. At Yoop Architects, we work in about six to seven boroughs. So for example, we don’t work in south London, we just look after Barnet, Bedford, Brent, Dacorum, Harrow, Hertsmere, St Albans, Three Rivers, North London and North Home Counties because we understand those local authorities – we deal with them all the time, we know all the guidance and the policies and also generally what will be acceptable by that council.
Where to find an architect?
You can search the Architects Registration Board (ARB) via region/borough to find a local architect and then you can use their contact details/website to find out more information about the type of work they do.
Ask the architect questions –
How long have they been in business?
What kind of work have they done previously?
Do they have references?
Do they have the necessary Professional Indemnity Insurance?
How will they communicate with you and how often?
Think about –
Do you like their style?
Do they understand what you’re trying to achieve and why you’re trying to achieve it?
A good designer will seek to create a design that works with the house and make as few modifications and extensions as possible that still achieve the clients requirements.
Are they trying to push ideas/suggestions that you don’t like?
Do they respect your budget?
Do they have good formal communication and documentation?
A good architect should have a formal quote document with terms and conditions, what their job role does/does not include, who will be responsible for what, who pays what fees and when etc.
To find out if Yoop Architects can provide the right architect for you and help you create your dream extension, go ahead and book a free call below.
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