You're embarking on a new project and are about to meet your architect to discuss your ideas. But before you do, we advise taking time before your initial meeting to gather your thoughts about the project and help set a clear brief from which your architect can work.
"The ultimate success of your project depends on the quality of your brief, your ability to clearly describe for your architect the requirements and functions of your building, and proposed methods of operation and management." RIBA, (Royal Institute of British Architects)
There are a few questions listed below which you may wish to think about. The answers should be able to help form a good starting point for your architect to design from.
What do you wish to achieve with your project?
Are you looking for a commercial new build or an extension to an existing home, maybe you are embarking on a leisure or educational scheme? Whatever the project it is useful to sum up simply what it is you are setting out to do.
(If applicable) Think about your current building.
Take a moment to list what works, what you like about it and similarly what doesn’t work and what you wish to change.
Who will be using the building and why?
For a residential home you will need to take into consideration the residents (plus any pets). For a public building it is useful to have a think about who would be visiting the space and why. For example, a library may be used by both staff working at the building and different members of the general public for study or community activities.
How will the rooms in the buildings be used?
Keeping with the library as an example, we may find the building may require staff rooms, community areas, spaces for children to learn and play, plus study areas in both individual and communal settings. A home environment may have different needs, would your family prefer open plan living? Think about your storage needs, what will you need to store in each space?
What do you need to prioritise?
For example will your property need to be wheelchair friendly? Do you work from home and need a quiet space to concentrate? Communicate to your architect what your property must have. It is also helpful to note anything that your property needs to fit, for example, if you wish for your super king bed to sit comfortably in your newly built bedroom, you need to let your architect know at the start. Likewise if you are passionate about creating an ultra-sustainable build, now is the time to discuss ways to achieve it.
Do you have a timescale in which to complete the work?
Your architect can discuss this with your contractor when your project goes to tender.
What is your budget?
It’s always best to be transparent about how much you wish to spend, so that your architect can maximise the design accordingly.
TOP TIP – Get registered on Pinterest! Share and gather images with your architect to help refine your design style and easily communicate likes and dislikes!
We offer a free one hour consultation where we meet with you at your property to discuss your ideas. Now that we are heading into winter it is the perfect time to start designing and planning. Just think, by spring next year your build will be under way and by summer the end result could be better than you could have ever imagined!
If you saw our infographic ‘How to become an architect,’ then you will know it takes several years of intense study and practical experience to become a fully qualified architect who is registered with the Architects Registration Board. (ARB).
What many don’t realise is that architects become not only experts in the architectural field, but also need to train extensively and gain a vast body of knowledge in other disciplines also.
Effectively architects have to know about several other professions namely Structural Engineer, Quantity Surveyor and a Builder/Contractor. We also have to adhere to legal processes and be equipped with project running skills. Then comes buildability of the design versus creativity. Always a challenge but one we enjoy!"
Richard Andrews – Director, RA Architects
In a typical working week an architect will wear the hat of many professions, so as such we thought it would be interesting to highlight a few common examples;
Structural and Civil Engineer - As the design lead for a project, an architect needs to ensure that the structure of the building they have designed can withstand the stresses exerted on it through human and environmental factors. It is crucial that an architect be able to anticipate and solve potential structural problems during the design process.
Building Contractor – It is an architect’s responsibility to create a set of documents that can be relayed accurately to (and understood completely) by a building contractor. These documents not only convey the aesthetics of a build but also the detailed technical instructions on how to physically make it. Architects will continue to monitor the build process through site visits to ensure that the design brief is being met in full.
Quantity Surveyor – Cost consultancy plays a role as an architect needs to be able to accurately assess building costs and work collaboratively with a quantity surveyor to ensure the budget for the build stays on track.
Construction Design Manager (CDM)- Architects need to ensure that the correct health and safety regulation requirements within the design are being adhered to. With rules updated frequently this is an area to which an architect needs to keep on top of the newest best practice.
Ecologist- Surveys for trees, plants and protected species are a common occurrence and one which an architect needs to be well equipped to understand and advise upon.
Contract and Construction Law – Architects need a thorough and up to date understanding of both contract and construction law as it is utilised daily. Construction law incorporates topics such as building and planning regulations and an architect may use contract law when dealing with sub-contractors as it covers topics such as dispute resolution and avoidance, liability and insurance to name a few areas.
Researcher – You may have noticed in our own list of services we offer options to carry out research for our clients, with flood risk assessments being one example.
And finally, as the design lead on a project, an architect needs to act as both project manager and communicator bringing together all the different contractors; ensuring the correct products have been selected and installed properly all whilst making sure our client’s brief has been fulfilled. A lot of work, but as Richard said, always a challenge but one we enjoy!
We hope you have enjoyed this post, keep following us to be kept updated on future posts as we have lots of behind the scenes tips and inspiration lined up to show you! As always if you'd like some help or advice on a project feel free to get in touch on 01633 744144.