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Checklist: Briefing And Appointing An Architect


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#1 recoveringacademic

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Posted 02 January 2016 - 09:12 AM

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Here is set of things you might want to consider before appointing an architect. The context for this list is here.
There is a printable list at the end of this post.
If I have missed your point from the list please PM me, it'll be a coq-up on my part, not a conspiracy.

Briefing an Architect
  • Background reading (caliwag'sblog)
  • Is an architect appropriate at this stage of the project? Will a Planning Consultant do? (sketch3d#9)
  • Do you have to brief an architect? Will an Architectural Technician do? (joiner#5, sketch3d#2, joiner#2)
  • Consider doing some of the designing yourself or perhaps a CAD technician (Stones # 1)
  • Is an architect working for a house manufacturer appropriate for your build?
  • Research suitable architects: websites, relevant journals
  • Make a long-list of possible companies
  • Check each architects credentials here (orangeboom#4)
  • Is the architect bankrupt? (graeme#1) and importantly (jsharris#19)
  • Check the architects Indemnity Insurance (Declan52 #7 this thread)
  • Make initial contact; listen (sarahsouthwest #13)
  • Ask for examples of existing work; visit / drive by
  • Company brochure
  • Work up a brief. (jsHarris#2)
  • Consider budget and don't forget VAT (bitpipe#3)
  • Will the architect of choice actually do the work? (Triassic#6, bitpipe#12)
  • Does ecology come into the mix somewhere? Time scales. (joiner#9, joe90#10, sarahsouthwest#13)
  • Refine your brief, and write up. One side of A5.
  • Send it to the architect in advance of your meeting
  • List the questions you want to ask, and refer to the list during the meeting
  • Meeting: has the architect read the brief?
  • Does the architect listen?
  • Is the architect merely an "Educated Artist"? (jsHarris #7)
  • What does the architect think of as the scope of his / her work?
  • Clarity about Extras and Incidentals (raven57 #8 this thread)
  • Does the chemistry work? (many threads)
  • Ask for references.
  • Visit / ring/ talk to them
  • Decide
List last updated 28/01/2016

Attached File  Briefing an Architect.pdf   121.15K   11 downloads Last updated 28/01/2016

Check List: Summary and Index

Edited by recoveringacademic, 28 January 2016 - 07:44 AM.
ferdinand pointed out an error


#2 RandAbuild

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Posted 02 January 2016 - 10:06 AM

I think defining the scope of the architect's/designer's appointment is important.

They may draw your attention to the RIBA's Work Stages or guidance from the Architects Registration Board (see "Meeting with your architect" guide for consumers) to describe what work you want them to do. For example, RIBA Stage 1 covering Preparation & Brief deals with feasibility studies. But the client may already have looked at this when they purchased the site, so this would be excluded from the scope of services. Do you want them just to achieve planning consent or to have a role throughout the construction? If so, what will this be? This will be important in agreeing the fee.

I think having someone you can work with is critical too. They have to demonstrate they understand it's your brief, not their's.

#3 Triassic

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Posted 27 January 2016 - 07:52 AM

Is the build in a national park, an area of outstanding natural beauty or conservation area.
Does the site site within a site of special scientific interest or special biological interest.
Are there tree protection orders in place covering any of the trees on the proposed building plot.

#4 jayroc2k

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Posted 27 January 2016 - 10:44 AM

I'll add a few points.

Once you have decided if you want the architect involved in the build, try and get a fee proposal from the start, the prospect of more work during the construction phase will mean a full or partial offset of fees charged during the planning stage.

Regarding above, some architects have little interest in actually building as they "loose money" if it over runs and get complicated, while others have little interest in just being the "planning guys". Dangling a carrot may seem wise but won't help your negotiation on fees for phase 2. Showing firm commitment to usuing them in the construction can mean a favourable fee proposal. If the architect is confident he will be hired for the construction, he will think through the complex elements while still in the design stage.

A classic example here is the Zaha Hadid building for Tokyo olympics, they normally subcontract the detailing to local firms and hence they deisgned what was later declared unbuildable.

As to "do you need an architect", that comes down to if you think you have the design eye/capabilities (you have to be very honest with your self ). Just look at layouts for the period home that have been converted by builders, terible layouts and poor ideas (bathroom after going through the kitchen, no bathroom/toilet upstairs in a 2 storey house, and my personal favourite, walking through one room to access a second! etc).

And the most important point. Some architects have a flair with planners. I know one who worked for a large firm and was the goto guy when everyone else failed to get planning. It was jokingly said that his slight northern accent had a way of making planners feel relaxed and less hostile towards a proposal.

On the otherhand, I know another rather posh architect who is known to command attention and argue beautifully therefore winning just about every appeal.

Edited by jayroc2k, 27 January 2016 - 10:52 AM.


#5 recoveringacademic

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Posted 27 January 2016 - 11:10 AM

Thanks very much. I'll work on this tomorrow morning. Ian

#6 recoveringacademic

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Posted 27 January 2016 - 11:59 AM

View PostTriassic, on 27 January 2016 - 07:52 AM, said:

Is the build in a national park, an area of outstanding natural beauty or conservation area.
Does the site site within a site of special scientific interest or special biological interest.
Are there tree protection orders in place covering any of the trees on the proposed building plot.

Simply put, thanks I'll get this done early tomorrow. Thanks. Ian

#7 declan52

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Posted 27 January 2016 - 12:14 PM

My architect had to come out and certify that I had my build at each of its stages and that everything was designed properly and built correctly in order for the bank to release the stage payments of my mortgage. So if you are going this route you need to make sure all his indemnity insurance is fully up to date or you won't get your mortgage approved or if something goes wrong with the build then you can't claim against him. I found it way cheaper for a 10 year warranty than the likes of nhbc.

#8 raven57

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Posted 27 January 2016 - 03:28 PM

Couple of ideas:

Extras & incidentals - clarity so there are no surprises - what is included in / excluded from charges: e.g. - How many site visits, consultations? how many copies of plans, how much are extra copies, will they release PDF versions (useful to get extra copies made by online service), or even .dwg if they are using Autocad - latter can be useful if you want to get Quantity Surveyor to cost a build.

When doing a renovation consider a Design & Construction service as an alternative to Architect as that may mean you can get options feasibility validated and costed earlier during design phase.

Also as an aside there was a scam being perpetrated a while ago, I forget any detailed particulars, but involved an Architect rigging a Tendering Process so they effectively got a kick back from the successful builder.

#9 PeterStarck

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Posted 27 January 2016 - 04:12 PM

Initially we used the 'Architect in the House' scheme which is run jointly by RIBA and Shelter. Architects give their time freely for a donation to Shelter. We found it a good way to kick off the process.

#10 recoveringacademic

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Posted 27 January 2016 - 04:23 PM

View Postdeclan52, on 27 January 2016 - 12:14 PM, said:

My architect had to come out and certify that I had my build at each of its stages and that everything was designed properly and built correctly in order for the bank to release the stage payments of my mortgage. So if you are going this route you need to make sure all his indemnity insurance is fully up to date or you won't get your mortgage approved or if something goes wrong with the build then you can't claim against him. I found it way cheaper for a 10 year warranty than the likes of nhbc.

I had a nagging thought about this Declan. Tomorrow morning.....

#11 recoveringacademic

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Posted 27 January 2016 - 04:25 PM

View PostPeterStarck, on 27 January 2016 - 04:12 PM, said:

Initially we used the 'Architect in the House' scheme which is run jointly by RIBA and Shelter. Architects give their time freely for a donation to Shelter. We found it a good way to kick off the process.

Peter.... more detail, please; looks as if it could be a useful initial step for us to consider.
Ian

#12 recoveringacademic

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Posted 27 January 2016 - 04:27 PM

View Postraven57, on 27 January 2016 - 03:28 PM, said:

Couple of ideas:

Extras & incidentals - clarity so there are no surprises - what is included in / excluded from charges: e.g. - How many site visits, consultations? how many copies of plans, how much are extra copies, will they release PDF versions (useful to get extra copies made by online service), or even .dwg if they are using Autocad - latter can be useful if you want to get Quantity Surveyor to cost a build.

When doing a renovation consider a Design & Construction service as an alternative to Architect as that may mean you can get options feasibility validated and costed earlier during design phase.
[...]

Maybe I could summarise this in the checklist as Clarity in Terms and Conditions? (And then link to your post) What do you think?

#13 PeterStarck

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Posted 27 January 2016 - 04:45 PM

I found an architect, through RIBA, who was part of the scheme. He came round to our house to discuss our new build. It was supposed to be for an hour, but it ended up being closer to two hours. He suggested a donation of £40 but we gave him £50. It was about ten years ago but I'm pretty sure the scheme was running last year. Contact RIBA, they're helpful.

#14 recoveringacademic

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Posted 28 January 2016 - 06:22 AM

Hi Peter. Just checked, the scheme's website is no longer operating. It might just be my connection, so if you have time, could you check please and get back to me.
Sounds like a really good idea though: just exactly what would take the wind out of the sails of a few people who feel quite negative about architects.
Anyway thanks for your help. I appreciate it.
Ian

#15 recoveringacademic

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Posted 28 January 2016 - 06:27 AM

View Postdeclan52, on 27 January 2016 - 12:14 PM, said:

My architect had to come out and certify that I had my build at each of its stages and that everything was designed properly and built correctly in order for the bank to release the stage payments of my mortgage. So if you are going this route you need to make sure all his indemnity insurance is fully up to date or you won't get your mortgage approved or if something goes wrong with the build then you can't claim against him. I found it way cheaper for a 10 year warranty than the likes of nhbc.

Done, thanks very much Declan. Off to check my own architects Indeminity Insurance now . <_< (cheque is in the Post to you OK?) Ian

#16 ferdinand

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Posted 28 January 2016 - 07:40 AM

Quote

Is an architect appropriate at this stage of the project? Will a Planner do? (sketch3d#9)

I think "Planner" should be a term reserved for people in the Council Planning Team, as it means that in general use.

Do you actually mean "Architectural Technician" (person with subset of skills of an architect), "Draughtsman" (plan drawing person) or "Planning Consultant" - ie hired gun with knowledge of the planning process.

The top of the professional tree for Planning Consultants are members of the Royal Town Planning Institute.

Perhaps that needs to be on a "how to wrestle the planning octopus" checklist?

The planning free advice service from the RTPI, Planning Aid, deserves a mention.
http://www.rtpi.org.uk/planning-aid/

I have written about these, somewhere :-) .

Ferdinand

Edited by ferdinand, 28 January 2016 - 07:41 AM.


#17 recoveringacademic

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Posted 28 January 2016 - 07:43 AM

View Postferdinand, on 28 January 2016 - 07:40 AM, said:

I think "Planner" should be a term reserved for people in the Council Planning Team, as it means that in general use.

Do you actually mean "Architectural Technician" (person with subset of skills of an architect), "Draughtsman" (plan drawing person) or "Planning Consultant" - ie hired gun with knowledge of the planning process.

Ferdinand

You are right. Planning Consultant is the term I should have used and will edit it now. Thanks very much indeed . Ian

#18 PeterStarck

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Posted 28 January 2016 - 08:16 AM

Hi Ian, I've done some searching and this scheme is running in Scotland, I know unfortunately it doesn't help you but may help others.

http://www.rias.org....tectinthehoose/

I have contacted RIBA and if I get a reply I will pass it on to you.

#19 declan52

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Posted 28 January 2016 - 09:18 AM

View Postrecoveringacademic, on 28 January 2016 - 06:27 AM, said:



Done, thanks very much Declan. Off to check my own architects Indeminity Insurance now . <_< (cheque is in the Post to you OK?) Ian
Not a problem. It was the second question I asked with the first being how much to do my plans. The 2nd being how much to certify my build and show us your indemnity certificate.
On a plus as its his insurance on the line he will take a more active approach instead of the likes of the nhbc that are useless.

#20 PeterStarck

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Posted 28 January 2016 - 12:44 PM

Hi Ian, I've heard from RIBA and unfortunately the 'Architect in the House' scheme is no longer running.