Do I need an architect like you?
Perhaps not. However, if you want a beautifully designed piece of architecture that gives you a joyful experience you probably do. If you know exactly what you want and you just want someone to draw up plans, you could try a competent building surveyor. Just know, it is not the same service that I offer.
How can I check you are a registered architect?
The title ‘architect’ is protected by law in England and Wales and anybody using the title must be registered with the Architects Registration Board (ARB). To check if somebody is entitled to call themselves an architect, you can check the Register. My registration number is 084807G.
Do you have insurance?
Yes. I have professional indemnity insurance and public liability insurance. I can provide evidence to current and prospective clients.
How much do you charge for plans?
When you commission me, you’re not buying a set of plans. You’re investing in your future by benefitting from my skills and experience. The fee is for my time and the value I can add, not just the deliverables. I can draw a floorpan of a finished design in a relatively short period of time, but the process that leads up to that point is where the real value is added and where the majority of my time is invested.
When you charge percentage fees, what incentive do you have to keep the construction costs down?
As a registered architect I am bound by the profession's code of conduct. This includes the requirements to act with honesty and integrity, and to put clients’ best interests first. Deliberately inflating the construction cost to increase my own fee would be unethical and unprofessional.
Can you guarantee planning permission / listed building consent / conservation area consent will be granted?
Sorry, I can’t. The final decision rests with the local authority, so I cannot guarantee the outcome. However, I won’t take on a project that I think has no chance of getting permission and I will use my reasonable skill and care to advise you of any potential difficulties.
Do your prices include VAT?
Since I run a small practice, my annual VAT taxable turnover falls under the legal threshold. Therefore no VAT is payable on any of my fees.
Do you project manage?
No. Or at least not as I would define project management. Project management in the context of construction means the process of being on site most of the time and coordinating different trades and delivery of materials to site. It is a full-time job and it’s what you normally appoint a main contractor, or third-party project manager for. What I do, and what is often confused with project management, is I continue to act as your architect through the construction process. This entails managing the process of obtaining builder’s prices, builder selection, periodic inspections during construction, helping you to make decisions on finishes and fittings, and more often than not, carrying out the contract administration.
What is contract administration?
It isn’t project management (see above). The role of the contract administrator is defined in the building contract you will enter into with your chosen builder. However, in general terms, it usually entails certifying payments, issuing instructions to the builder, dealing with builder’s claims for extensions of time and additional costs, certifying completion, and subject to defects being made-good during the defects period (normally twelve months after the building work is finished) certifying the final cost of the work.
If I hire you to do the contract administration, will you issue an architect’s certificate?
No. An architect’s certificate is a different thing altogether. It is pre-approved by the Council of Mortgage Lenders, and is sometimes required by mortgage companies and banks to decide whether to lend. You won’t get an architect’s certificate from me unless we have pre-agreed it. There are better options now, so most people don’t need one.
Would you be interested in my project / what size projects do you do?
I don’t make my judgement based on size, but on whether there is an opportunity for me to add value. If you have a very small project, but you need an innovative and creative solution, I might still be able to help. There are some practical limits at the other end of the spectrum, but even for very large projects, there may be an opportunity for me to add value by adopting a slightly different role, such as a client-advisor, or by collaborating with a larger practice, so it’s still worth getting in touch. #sizedoesntmatter
Do you have a minimum fee?
No. If your project can genuinely benefit from just 1 hour of my time, and you share my core values in relation to sustainability and ethics, I still want to work with you. Realistically, most projects will need a bigger investment of my time, but I don’t see the point in setting an arbitrary lower limit.