• Employing an Architect

    Employing an Architect

    In the first few weeks of 2022 we have attended a number of interviews for a variety of potential projects, and we realise that it would be useful to describe the interview process since this explains the services that Shape Architecture offers.


    Working with Shape Architecture: First Contact

    We are contacted in various ways by potential clients.  This can be by phone/email or often by the RIBA Client advisory service, where the RIBA recommend architects to Clients.   Clients have variously seen our work on our website, or we have been recommended to them by previous Clients or Contractors.

    During this call, we will discuss the proposal and answer any questions the Client may have.  Importantly we will offer days and times when we can visit the Client at their property to better understand the issues and discuss the project in greater detail.  There is no charge for this meeting.


    Working with Shape Architecture: The Interview

    A Practice Director will attend the interview and will be the constant point of contact throughout the project, should we be appointed, whilst others will support.  We will walk through the property as the Client explains what it is they would like to achieve and as we walk around, we will give our opinion and discuss various options and similar past projects from our portfolio.  We will then take the Client through the whole process of working with an architect from the interview to the completion of the project and post completion services.


    Working with Shape Architecture: The Process: Survey, concept Design and Planning Submission

    The first step is clearly the interview, and this is swiftly followed by our services and fees proposal letter.  The letter will set out formally all that we have discussed and will include our understanding of the brief.  Confirmation that our fees are a fixed lump sum and not a percentage of the cost of the works and this gives the client cost certainty.  Our services are then broken down into each RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) stage and we clearly divide our fee into each of these work stages for further clarity.  We are flexible, and our letter allows the Client to instruct us for whatever services they require, or to instruct us progressively as the project progresses.  We will add notes in respect of the outline planning strategy and include a page describing the process from site survey though concept design, where we will design 4 or 5 options for the discussion with the client and use 3D computer images, perspectives and models to communicate clearly.


    Working with Shape Architecture: The Process, Technical Design, Tender and On-Site.

    Once planning permission has been achieved, we describe the detailed technical design process and during this period we will design all aspects of the project in great detail and this will include lighting and electrical layouts, bathroom and kitchen design and the design of bespoke furniture.  We then describe the tender process where we produce a schedule of works as the pricing document.  This will be sent out to usually five Contractors for a competitive tender, a process which we will co-ordinate.  This is followed by a tender report, and we will assist the Client in the selection of the Contractor.  We then put the contract in place between the Client and contractor.  Lastly, we describe our onsite support which involves regular site visits, dealing with the financial side of the project in respect of Contractor valuation and the final account.  We will also liaise with Building Control and any other parties.

    We hope that the above is of use and should you wish to discuss a project you have in mind, please do not hesitate to contact us.  We would be happy to discuss this with you.


    Frequently asked Questions when employing an Architect

    Below are some typical questions Clients often ask as they look for an Architect.


    What is the benefit of employing an Architect?

    We believe there are many benefits at all stages of the project in employing an architect. An Architect will provide the creativity, underpinned by technical knowledge, that is the foundation of all successful projects.  We bring the invaluable overview of creativity, technical problem solving, budget, combined with an understanding of the work of other consultants such as structural engineers and party wall surveyors and an in-depth knowledge of the planning and building regulation processes.  We will act as the Clients agent at all stages of the project.  An architect will oversee a competitive tender process amongst a number of trusted Contractors.


    How do I work select an Architect?

    Working with an Architect is all about the Client and Architect relationship.  Your architect has to listen and understand your brief and be responsive to your needs.  You should get on, as the project will be an important period for the Client.  The architect’s portfolio of work is a also a key factor.  This should highlight a broad range of project type and scale of project.  Architecture is visual discipline and clear communication is much aided by the way in which an Architect presents their design ideas.  Are they using 3D models, animations, physical models for example.  This is important as 2D drawings will not describe a design in a way that the client can fully understand and the dialogue between Client and Architect


    Rugby Road Extension and Refurbishment, 3D Model