What to look for in a good architect?
I’d you are thinking about building or renovating, it is important that you always consider who you are going to engage to do the design work for you very carefully. Any construction work, be it for a new project, or simply a renovation, should be seen as an investment. And the architect is actually your investment broker. If you were to spend R500 000.00 or more on your home, ask yourself, “Will I get maximum return on this investment by having a quick set of plans and an unregistered contractor perform the building, or, Would it be better to leave the management to a qualified and registered professional?”
Each architect brings their own combination of skills, expertise and design values to a project but, above all else, an architect should be a great listener. Only with a great ability to hear what you, the client, want can they translate your idea into a viable construction project.
Why are Architectural Fees so Expensive?
Architects and Architectural Technologists in the profession study for a minimum of 3 to 5 years at a university, thereafter they have to perform a minimum of 2 year working with a registered professional, after which they have to write multiple professional practice exams to ensure that they can provide you with an internationally acceptable standard of work.
Selection is a Mutual Process
The most thoughtful architects are as careful in selecting their clients as owners are in selecting architects. They are as interested in a successful project as you are and they know that good architecture results from fruitful collaboration between architects and clients. The best strategy is to sit down with your architect and identify the services needed. Recognize that even when a number of services are designated at the outset, other services may be required once you are under way.
Be prepared to answer questions about your project’s purpose, budget, time frame, site and the team of players you anticipate being involved with the project. Once again, be frank, and inform the architect of any information you want to be kept in confidence.
The Importance of the Project Budget
Clients are often are weary to tell the architect what their budget is. It also happens many times that clients don’t know how much they can afford to spend at the onset of a project. It is also often the case that the project cost and the costs that the client expected are at odds and the client needs to revise the priority of the project and the availability of funds.
Essentially the architect needs to design your building within a budget that you can afford. The worst thing that can happen is for the architect to generate a design that you as client are happy with, but you can’t afford it. This happens a lot in the industry. It wastes the architects and clients time, as the architect needs to go back to the drawing board in order to re-design a cheaper version of the building. This can be avoided if the architect is aware of the available funds.
A good architect is therefore a great listener and an even better communicator. Communication is key to the success of any project, and is also key to a happy client.