Patrick

READERS BEWARE. RANT. Architects and other Building related Pen Pushers.

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Out of all the house build/renovation TV shows, I think George Clark is the only presenter that's actually an architect.  IIRC,  Charlie Luxton is an architectural technician, and probably the only other presenter with any form of architectural qualification.

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4 minutes ago, Patrick said:

Excellent point. Should have done this and would have done this if I was not under the illusion (fed by architects) that they would do Plans/planning/drawings/stuff quicker and better than I would ever be able to and therefore save me stress, headache, time and potentially even some money. As I had to realise now, quite the opposite is the case and yes, I should have just done it all myself and this I probably the main point I'm making for the fellow self builders starting off which fit in the category "hands on ambitious fast learner"

✌️

 

It's perfectly possible to do everything yourself, it's what I ended up doing.  I will say that it's pretty damned time consuming though.  I had about a year's delay, caused by the plot boundary problem, and used all of that year reading up on design, building regs, researching methods of construction, doing drawings, making scale models, tearing the models up and making new ones.  The only transferable skill I had when I started was a background in design (albeit of light aircraft and boats) and around 25 years or so experience of driving AutoCad (a significant benefit, as I didn't need to learn how to produce drawings).  I've no idea how many hours I put into the house design in total, but it must have been several hundred, spread over the best part of a year.  I wasn't working, either, so I had pretty much all day, every day, to dedicate to research, learning and designing the house.  If I'd had to pay myself a reasonable rate I wouldn't have been able to afford my services...

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14 minutes ago, JSHarris said:

Out of all the house build/renovation TV shows, I think George Clark is the only presenter that's actually an architect.  IIRC,  Charlie Luxton is an Architectural Technician, and probably the only other presenter with any form of architectural qualification.

 

There are others, especially some who are Team Experts rather than the presenter. The two on "Your House Made Perfect" were brilliant.

 

We did this to death before

(Ooops. It came up with the picture of Julia Kendall climbing the side of a building in heels demonstrating her "30 years of power-tool techniques" ... beats Kevin and a model made of 28 Ryvita and Processed Cheese, anyhoo.)

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3 minutes ago, JSHarris said:

.  I've no idea how many hours I put into the house design in total.  If I'd had to pay myself a reasonable rate I wouldn't have been able to afford my services...

I think I would already be a wealthy man, even with minimum wage, with the hours I put into this project so far and we just starting 😋

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4 minutes ago, Ferdinand said:

We did this to death before

(Ooops. It came up with the picture of Julia Kendall climbing the side of a building in heels ... beats Kevin and a model made of 28 Ryvita and Processed Cheese, anyhoo.)

 

My current favourite is the wild haired NI guy who was on the BBC show where they used VR to show the designs to clients (which I think is a great idea, would have helped me immensely).

 

Liked a lot of his refurb design ideas (some were a bit out there though).

 

Unlike many TV architects, he also doesn't seem to have too much of an ego (cough) https://www.robertjamisonarchitects.com/. Or maybe just a strong sense of irony.

 

 

 

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26 minutes ago, Sensus said:

Personally, I'd describe them as a 'decorative element intended to give the appearance of a column, whilst not being structural, but in view of the above, I may need to be more careful with that...

 

Unless it is a buttress as well 😀.

 

In which case I guess you say it is a decorative element around a structural element.

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38 minutes ago, Sensus said:

Personally, I'd describe them as a 'decorative element intended to give the appearance of a column, whilst not being structural, but in view of the above, I may need to be more careful with that...

 

10 minutes ago, Ferdinand said:

 

Unless it is a buttress as well 😀.

 

In which case I guess you say it is a decorative element around a structural element.

 

They're fake columns and that's the end of it. 

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I didn’t spend a lot of time designing ours, I found a design on a website somewhere that I thought worked well and with a few adjustments thought it was good for us, er indoors agreed and that was that. The footprint was within 10% of the building we were replacing (although another story higher). I spent more time learning about passive build techniques and incorporated that ethos into the build. As I said before, the architect just transferred it from pencil and paper onto CAD (wish I had found an architectural technician instead £££).

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3 hours ago, Patrick said:

 

 that you can not put a window next to a door in a timber frame house without a structural element (e. G. Stud) in between has really nothing to do with that.

We have one such window and door immediately adjacent.  All that is needed is a lintel to span the combined width of the window and the door.

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My only dealings with an architect was 16 years ago when doing our first house.  I contacted 5 architects, made appointments with 3. Two bothered to turn up to see us.  Then both of them gave quotes in the order of £25K.  ALL I wanted was someone to take our ideas and turn them into a buildable house and do all the drawings. Neither had a "pick and mix" attitude to services offered they both just wanted to take on a full package of turnkey project management when all I wanted was design and drawings.  And to make matters worse, they both based their fees on a percentage of build costs, but their estimated build costs were way over what we had, and if it really cost that much to build would have cost way over it's market value.  We ended up building for half their build cost estimate.  That is verging on sharp practice to me, over estimating the build cost in order to get a percentage based fee higher.

 

I did not repeat that soul destroying exercise this time. I found an architectural technician willing to do just the work we wanted.

 

Interestingly I have a cousin who is training to be an architect and I saw her a couple of weeks ago when we were down for a wedding.  I think I gleaned 3 things from her.  1: she is beginning to doubt if the length of training is really worth it.  2: she has no desire to do residential, she finds houses not challenging and boring.  3: She did not seem to know (i.e I assume not being taught) very much at all about low energy buildings and modern ideas like heat pumps mvhr etc.

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27 minutes ago, ProDave said:

We have one such window and door immediately adjacent.  All that is needed is a lintel to span the combined width of the window and the door.

Yep. This one I can understand, no problem.

I wasn't trying to express that there was never a way to do this, and in a common TF it would probably be easy enough. As mine is Portal Frame, it needs the Portal Frame Structural Element every 1000MM. Sure, there are ways around it and yes, it can be done differently. But in my case was just (expletive deleted)ed up by a useless architect(who designed the Portal Frame) , hence my rant.

I sorted it, blown off some steam with this post and fired the architects(not just because of this) and redone their bodged job myself.

Happy days

 

✌️👍

 

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2 hours ago, Construction Channel said:

They're fake columns and that's the end of it. 

What we called the ones at the old Excelsior Hotel at Heathrow.

Wish I had known the 'real' name, would have changed it to Pillocks (which I think is an olde word for cock).

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well solicitors are my 'pain' at the moment.  Just at the vinegar stroke of getting the mortgage to start the build (we have bought the plot, have planning & BC and groundworks done) and it got stopped this morning as we dont have vehicle access to the plot.  Charged me a load of money for an extensive highways search that is a screenshot of the cornwall online highways map... And the lack of vehicle access is because the last 20 metres of road is in fact a footpath.  Well it looks like a road, and 7 properties use it to access their houses, and we have to connect a drive and car port to the 'path' for planning. And the council re-surfaced it 2 years ago and has gas, electric and water under it.... Oh and we have it in the deeds that we can drive over any designated paths, roads, etc to access the site. Which of course means nothing if its a path, but its definitely a road. Oh and just past our access is access to the next property's drive which has been there well over 50 years and then after that there is a bollard so the path actually becomes a path.  madness

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^^ When we sold a previous house, it came to light that our driveway, from a side road, was in fact leading onto an unadopted private road that we did not have any right to use.  There was nothing to say it was private, and the highways had resurfaced it last time the other roads in the village were done. But no, it was an unadopted road and we had no right to use it.  Solved iirc with an indemnity policy.  Oh and I was never told any of that when I bought the house.

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6 minutes ago, redtop said:

the cornwall online highways map... and just past our access is access to the next property's drive which has been there well over 50 years and then after that there is a bollard so the path actually becomes a path.  madness

Things are done different down here.  Some think they actually own the sea.

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You lot are making me feel lucky! I used an architect for planning because it's essentially a closed shop here. If you weren't born here you're at a significant disadvantage because your parents don't know their parents etc... Not corrupt, but certainly difficult. They negotiated the minefield very skillfully keeping my house design free of planning interference apart from one consession over real wooden cladding (and 12 planning conditions). They also discussed at length how we would live in the house, what my reasons were for that design and how they thought it could be improved. (They were right in the main so their ideas were incorporated, although the 308m2 floor area is causing me a little grief at the moment!). all for a couple of thousand pounds. I admit that the basis for their work was to "copy out neatly" my CAD drawn plans, but it was money well spent to have the review and get some feedback on things that might end up not working sensibly, and to have access to the contacts within planning. It amused me that I was set "homework" throughout - things like condition discharges and areas to research so building control was easier.

 

I used them again for building control. I wasn't going to initially because it's not particularly difficult, although it is time consuming. But I got involved in a big contract at work and simply had no time. This time the cost was a bit more, but they did a good job. I would have taken much more time to achieve the same or a lesser result, and I would have had nobody to review ideas and keeping me from going too far astray. Hopefully it was a learning experience for both of us - there aren't too many low energy houses here yet - the discussions were never one-sided and he had always found answers for last meeting's questions/concerns. Again, given my work circumstances it does not feel an inefficient a use of money.

 

Now it's build time, and I'm PMing on my own!  How hard can it be? ;)

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13 hours ago, Sensus said:

I find that a sharp slap when I think they're not paying attention usually works.

 

Yes, that's how I gained my students' attention : especially with Post Graduates - the more experienced the student,  the sharper  the intake of breath. And among those whose false teeth I had knocked out in the process, none of them even asked for first aid or Aspirin. Remarkable - never, even once!

 

Your comment highlights the importance of communication - it (or rather the lack of it) goes to the heart of the question (rant) of the OP.

It's normal for people to talk and listen past one another: everyone does it, on occasion, needs to even.

 

But in our context - a high stakes, highly charged, high stress environment, the soft skills involved become very important indeed. 

CDM 2015 points out that we are Domestic Clients. People who are assumed  not to have any significant levels of expertise. And so that imposes an additional level of responsibility on the architect; embodied in part in the profession's Code of Professional Behaviour and Ethics. There is an explicit  therapeutic  relationship  between client and expert here.

 

It is a great pity that the Code says nothing at all about the importance of effective communication - the profession  does by implication in the matter of requesting Third Party Review.  (requesting the details by which a decision was made ).

 

From your experience, what lies at the heart of good communication between client and architect?

 

 

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I have slept on this, but I am wondering why self builders use an architect.

We all know what a house looks like, and what we like.

So what is the 'big hole' in self builders knowledge that makes them use an architect?

Is it lack of drawing, planning, structural, artistic, materials, plumbing, decorating, electrical skills etc etc?

If the most common areas can be identified, then it is easier to give help.

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14 minutes ago, SteamyTea said:

I have slept on this, but I am wondering why self builders use an architect.

We all know what a house looks like, and what we like.

So what is the 'big hole' in self builders knowledge that makes them use an architect?

Is it lack of drawing, planning, structural, artistic, materials, plumbing, decorating, electrical skills etc etc?

If the most common areas can be identified, then it is easier to give help.

 

 

I remember reading somewhere that the majority of houses in the UK weren't actually designed by architects.   Using an architect to design an ordinary domestic dwelling is something that seems to be a relatively recent phenomenon.  I've lived in around fifteen houses over the years, and suspect that only a couple of them may have had input from an architect.  Looking around our village (population about 500) there are a handful of buildings that an architect had a hand in, the manor house and the old school, perhaps a couple of the grander houses and  one recent conversion, but that's about it.  The two "new" (now ~20 years old) houses fairly close to me were designed by an architectural technician, as I have copies of their plans (they were a part of our boundary problem).  Most village planning applications that I've seen in the hast few years have been drawn up by architectural technicians; the only one that an architect designed was the conversion of the old school to a small development of houses, a tricky one, given the sensitivity of the surroundings.  I've not seen any plans that have been drawn up by the applicant.

 

 

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12 minutes ago, SteamyTea said:

[...]

So what is the 'big hole' in self builders knowledge

[...]

 

The lack of precisely that: lack of  knowledge, causing very significant levels of stress.  

 

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11 minutes ago, SteamyTea said:

I have slept on this, but I am wondering why self builders use an architect.

We all know what a house looks like, and what we like.

So what is the 'big hole' in self builders knowledge that makes them use an architect?

Is it lack of drawing, planning, structural, artistic, materials, plumbing, decorating, electrical skills etc etc?

If the most common areas can be identified, then it is easier to give help.

We will shortly have to apply for detailed planning on our remaining plot which currently has outline planning but this will lapse next April. We won’t ever build the house ourselves so it won’t be a personal choice and we need to find the cheapest way of making the application, we were thinking maybe we could do it ourselves but quite frankly haven’t a clue how to do it. I could draw a floor plan no trouble but I couldn’t transfer this to elevations etc and it terrifies me thinking about the things the local council will ask for that I have no knowledge of so , much as I don’t want to pay an architect I don’t think I have any other option!

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Just now, AnonymousBosch said:

The lack of precisely that: lack of  knowledge, causing very significant levels of stress.

Isn't that like saying that accidents are caused by bad driving.

It never address the real problems.

So maybe I should have asked a different question.

What area of self building do people not understand?

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15 minutes ago, SteamyTea said:

I have slept on this, but I am wondering why self builders use an architect.

We all know what a house looks like, and what we like.

So what is the 'big hole' in self builders knowledge that makes them use an architect?

Is it lack of drawing, planning, structural, artistic, materials, plumbing, decorating, electrical skills etc etc?

If the most common areas can be identified, then it is easier to give help.

We were probably a bit clueless about the options so an architect seemed a good idea. They did come up with ideas which were good and added to the design with relatively little cost - things that would probably fit in the 'artistic' category. I think it's one area where research might not help - I'll happily admit my creative side is lacking!

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1 minute ago, Christine Walker said:

I could draw a floor plan no trouble but I couldn’t transfer this to elevations etc

Take a picture of a house and trace around  it.  Not being facetious as that sounds.

2 minutes ago, Christine Walker said:

it terrifies me thinking about the things the local council will ask for

I think this is a major problem.  I do not understand why 'our' councils are so difficult.  

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