What is an Architect… And How Do I Work With One?
Get expert advice on why you might need an architect to design your new home
The core tasks for an architect is to design, plan, and develop the ideas and final outcome for a house, apartment or building.
Most often, people think of using an architect when they are building a new house entirely from scratch. This is usually termed a ‘new build’.
However, an architect can also be retained to do a redesign or major rebuild on an existing house or building.
Architects are also trained and qualified by government bodies to do other necessary works like environmental impact or feasibility studies, cost analysis and land-use studies.
Using an architect for your new or renovated home, particularly if you want to do major works, can help ensure that your project is done right according to building regulations, on time, on budget and creatively.
You probably need an architect if you are doing any sort of structural work, whether on a new-build or a renovation.
Yes, you can work with an interior designer, however, you will also need to contract a structural engineer, a builder etc. particularly if you are making major changes to a space.
“Engaging an architect for the full scope of services – design, documentation, contract administration and authority submissions – is the best value for money,” says Loke.
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As with employing any building professional, you need to be very clear about what it is that you want to achieve, how much money you have to spend, and any other specifics regarding timelines, or physical requirements.
And you also need to have some sort of idea of the overall design style.
“Architects are trained both in design conceptualisation and design implementation. Basically this means, architects are responsible for both making the design, and managing the process to ensure the design is built to expectations.”
Ng suggests that you carefully consider whether or not you actually need to use an architect for your job, and if you do, ensure “he or she a qualified architect registered with the respective Board of Architects”.
As with working with any professional, you need to find someone who ‘suits’ your needs and personality.
“Choosing an architect is not unlike choosing your family doctor,” says Loke.
“The architect will be working closely with you for the duration of the project and should be someone who is ‘in sync’ with you.
“You can review the architect’s portfolio, but it is important to meet to see how you feel about the architect.
“The architect can also help you work out your design brief and offer solutions that you never imagined.”
“Choosing an architect who you can get along with and understands you is important in ensuring good communication. This will allow for a smooth working relationship.”
Next is the all important communication chemistry. Finally, Ng adds that you should “request testimonials or the equivalent so that you can gauge if the architect is capable of providing the services you are looking for.”
How did you select your architect? — share your tips in the comments