Misconceptions about architects and how they work can be off-putting for those weighing up whether to use their services. In reality, as architect Craig South observes, there is nothing to fear and much to be gained from engaging a registered professional.
It can be easy to forget that people outside your own profession may not have a great understanding of what it is you actually do. Buildings are integral to our lives, yet the role of the architect is not necessarily clear to everyone. In our practice, it is refreshing to meet people who know we can add value to their project.
Architects are registered professionals who must meet stringent academic and professional standards to achieve that status. Achieving that registration takes many years of training and experience. It means architects can be relied upon to deliver a robust design process informed by an in-depth understanding of client needs and the site.
Unfortunately, there is a prevailing myth that architects will simply cost too much and are unaffordable. Of course, working with an architect does involve a cost – often quoted initially as a percentage – but with that will come peace of mind that the design process is in the best possible hands.
It is worth remembering that the architect’s fee is just one small component of the total cost, yet is crucial to the project’s ultimate success. Working with an architect is the best way to protect your investment and to secure a result of which everyone will be proud.
In the end, architecture is so much more than just shelter or a roof over your head. It should also excite you, inspire you and add pleasure to your life. As architects, this is what we strive to achieve: to design outstanding buildings that function well and that are also uniquely suited to site, context and, above all, individual client needs.
We understand that not everyone has the luxury of a lavish budget. Architects can tailor design to budget and brief to achieve optimal results. The same skills and abilities are brought to bear on smaller scale projects as for larger ones and the same design process used. The point is that scale does not determine the quality of the result, but engaging an architect will enable your project’s potential to be maximised.
Architects add the most value when they have a clear understanding of your lifestyle priorities, the spaces that are most important to you and how you like to live. A relatively open brief allows the architect to interpret and express clients’ dreams and aspirations to create balanced and authentic outcomes. Site and environment also inform final concepts, with documentation used to guide construction on site.
In our profession, good communication is pivotal. It informs and underpins the entire design process and involves not just the client and the architect but also the builder/construction team, engineers, suppliers and others involved with the project.
If you’re ready to move beyond the myths, think about starting a conversation with an architect and be prepared to see where your dreams could take you.