9 January 2020

How To Brief Your Architect

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If you followed our advice from our previous blog ‘Why You Can’t Afford Not to Hire an Architect’ and have decided to work with an architect on an upcoming project, here are some tips when discussing your concept:

Before your initial meeting with your selected architect, we recommend that you take the time to gather your thoughts and create a clear brief which will help both you and your architect work together.

Here are 5 things to think about that we think make a good starting point:

Overall achievement: Is the project residential or commercial? Will you be requiring a new-build or is it an extension on the current property? Is this for educational, leisure or office purposes?

Budget: It’s really important to go into the process with a clear idea of what your budget is. Your budget provides a boundary for your architect to work within and sets a frame to fit both creative and realistic goals.

Timescale: It’s best to come to a mutual understanding with your architect during the initial stages of the project as to what time-frames you might be bound to yourself as well as the time-frame of the design and build process.

Are there any important dates in the foreseeable future that building work would interfere with? Do you want an extension to be ready, complete and liveable by a certain month? Are you expecting a child or is somebody leaving or moving into the property? Do you have a hoard of new employees who will begin employment on a certain date? Is it an extra-care facility with a pre-agreed date of opening?

For the architect, certain aspects of the build process may be more complex and take a longer time than you may anticipate. The design development may also require approval from third parties and therefore require a longer waiting time. So, it is key to put any expectations for time-scales out on the table at the beginning.

Current Building: What about your current building works well? What doesn’t? What views do you enjoy that you don’t want to lose out on? Where can you see a better structural layout opportunity? What would you miss if you were to lose it? What size furniture do you have that needs to be catered for?

How the Project Will be Used: There are two themes best to break this into…

Current Lifestyle: The way that you currently use the space should be something that you are considering when thinking about the new project.

Are you quite the host meaning that an open-plan kitchen area is more ideal? Do you require a spare bedroom for guests quite often? Are there certain views that you currently have that you want to maintain? Do you require an office away from the rest of the house for maximum silence? Do you play musical instruments and require a specific layout for your room to cater to instruments? Do you have a pet that requires its own room, area of the house or a separate door to enter the property? Is a large outdoor space important to you?

All of these smaller questions are really important as they impact how you make use of your space without realising it.

Future UseIf it’s a residential project – how will you be using the new space? Who in the home will be making the most use of it? Do you want it to look traditional, modern, urban? Do you have a preference for certain materials? Do you want it to be a smooth flow walking through the rooms or does it suit you better to have the rooms set apart? Do you require additional access requirements i.e. wheelchair friendly? Who will be visiting you or living in the property?

If it’s a commercial project – will you need separate staff rooms for different teams? Will you require quiet spaces? Does it need to be wheelchair friendly? Do you need to have different access routes to access different locations? How many members of staff do you have? Who will be visiting the building? Is it for children? Does it require certain equipment? Does any equipment that will be used in the building have specific safety regulations for space around that object?

It’s important to keep in mind how the project will be used in the next 10-20 years also.

Contact us on: admin@ra-architects.co.uk or 01633 744144