Patrick

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

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4 minutes ago, JSHarris said:

I suspect there may also be a perception that hourly rates, if known, may seem high.  Years ago I used to do a bit of consultancy work (an accidental job on the side).  When first asked to do this, I had no idea how much to charge, so spoke to a friend that worked for the CAA.  They charge out their technical staff on an hourly rate.  He told me that they charged £140, plus VAT, per hour (this was around 15 years ago).  I decided to charge a little bit less, as that seemed a heck of a lot, and found myself deluged with work.  I learned two things, one that was I was charging far less than others offering similar services and that £140/hour is nothing like how much you actually earn per hour, as there is always lots of non-chargeable time in any job.

 

The lad who did my landscaping had that issue - was cock a hoop at winning 10 out of 12 jobs he bid for but was stressing over fitting them all in, hiring extra labour etc.

 

I shared my opinion that he needed to put his prices up until the job win rate was manageable and he'd still make the same, if not more money.

 

Which he did... obv. not to me though :)

 

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Problem with wages/salaries are that in reality, it has nothing to do with what is "fair".

I personally would argue that a Nurse or a teacher has at least as much value to society than an Architect. And certanly much more value than anybody working in the financial sector.

Do they get paid accordingly? No.

This has to do with a lot of things, but partly with how we value ones work as a society.

When it come to the differences in earnings to fees. Like mentioned by @SteamyTea. most people I know don t work for a lot more than 18.000-24.000/year.

I have a few friends that are a lot more educated than I am , having spend a good couple of tens of thousands at Uni and came out with verious (good) degrees.

None of them making more than 35k/year.

One recently decided to dump his Teaching career in favour becoming an are Manager for the Nations favourite Food Discounter , in order to get a decent wage and a company car with it.

Not very challenging job, just high stress.

So it is understandable that a lot of people (including myself) are a but annoyed when hourly fees of 60,70,80 or more £ are chucked into a conversation as if it was nothing.

The dilemma is, that none of the professionals charging those amount are really getting anywhere near as much.

It is in NO relationship . Hardly anybody reaches a 50% cut out of the fees they charging, which means the side costs of running any (small) business are just too high in this country.

 

 

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5 minutes ago, Patrick said:

Not very challenging job, just high stress.

 

 

So you think being an architect is neither of these?

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10 minutes ago, the_r_sole said:

 

So you think being an architect is neither of these?

That was not the point. Was talking about being in Retail . Not much brainwork happening there. Just Robotic work under time pressure.

But if you re asking , i believe that stress is a matter of perception and difficult to measure. What might be easy for me , might be extremley stressfull for you. And the other way round.

All I know is that there is a massive difference between being in a stressfull job that gives you more than just income is a complete different story than a high pressure environment job that you just do to earn a living. 

But no one really argues that anyways. Sometimes people just dont have a good choice.

Since bills have to be paid and kids have to be fed.

 

 

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1 hour ago, JSHarris said:

The sort of cars people drive can often be an indicator as to their income.  None of the architects that popped in to our build were driving new cars, or expensive ones.  From chatting to the couple of local ones I've got to know reasonably well now, I'd say they probably weren't earning anything near as much as some might think (don't know for sure, but that's the impression I've gained).

People making these assumptions work in their favour.

I dealt with a guy importing goods for Poundshops from China and he had 4 cars. 3  for private use (a G class, a Porsche and Maserati) and one for business. (a 15 year old vauxhall vectra) .

He was convinced that he can negotiate higher prices if they see him coming with that old Vectra (in combination with a 99£ Suit that looked it) .

He was right.

 

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29 minutes ago, Patrick said:

He was convinced that he can negotiate higher prices if they see him coming with that old Vectra (in combination with a 99£ Suit that looked it) .

He was right.

That is more a reflection of his customers shallowness than any real, measurable, business methodology.

If someone turned up in a £100k car and was selling an identical product to a man in a cheap suit and a wobbly Vectra, I would pick the one that was offering the best service.

If you make business decisions based on emotion, it is time to retire.

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1 hour ago, Patrick said:

This has to do with a lot of things, but partly with how we value ones work as a society.

True, we overvalue diamonds and celebrities and undervalue clean water and social care.

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6 minutes ago, SteamyTea said:

If you make business decisions based on emotion, it is time to retire.

 

Every business decision is made on emotion then post-rationalised with the evidence people need to convince themselves

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Just now, the_r_sole said:

 

Every business decision is made on emotion then post-rationalised with the evidence people need to convince themselves

I was starting a long text about studies being made with "beautiful" people vs. "ugly" people ..........

 

But you made that point with 1 sentence  , so I can safe my time there 👍😉

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When we had some (expensive) angled blinds supplied and fitted to our gable glazing, the chap that turned up to do the measurement survey, take the order, etc was driving a pretty high end Merc, and used a custom app on his big iPad to note everything down, handle the order, payment etc.  The impression I had was that they were probably adding a heck of a lot to the price of the blinds, just to support the way they chose to portray themselves.  We had little choice, as there are very few companies around that can supply and fit angled blinds, and all seem to be in the same, fairly expensive, sector of the market.

 

My wife wanted the same pattern of blinds fitted to the French windows in her room, but as these were just rectangular, I looked around and found a supplier in Germany that made absolutely identical blinds to the ones we have on the gable, but with much more substantial aluminium (rather than plastic) operating handles (for the manual ones).  They made blinds to measure for about 30% of the cost of the same type of blind we have on the gable (the gable has two sets of triangular blinds and three sets of rectangular ones).

 

This confirmed my view that the people that supplied and fitted the gable blinds were on a massive mark up, some of which went to pay for the high-end appearance of their staff, systems etc.

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11 minutes ago, JSHarris said:

This confirmed my view that the people that supplied and fitted the gable blinds were on a massive mark up, some of which went to pay for the high-end appearance of their staff, systems etc.

The marginal difference between the cost of lease cars is pretty low though.

Not as if these people go out and buy them with earnings they have generated on the last few sales.

 

They may have been getting the blinds from the same company.

Reminds of this:

 

Edited by SteamyTea

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This is probably not the correct term but with regards to value and perception is this forum not a bit of a self selecting group? On here people are generally willing to get there hands dirty and DIY most things, even professional services and design so the perception of value is possibly slightly skewed.

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6 minutes ago, SteamyTea said:

They may have been getting the blinds from the same company.

 

 

 

They definitely were.  The blinds are made by Luxaflex, and I'd recommend them, as they are  well made.

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2 minutes ago, Ralph said:

This is probably not the correct term but with regards to value and perception is this forum not a bit of a self selecting group? On here people are generally willing to get there hands dirty and DIY most things, even professional services and design so the perception of value is possibly slightly skewed.

 

Very good point, although we do have one or two that have pretty much gone down the turnkey route, really commissioning a new house rather than self build, perhaps.

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59 minutes ago, Ralph said:

This is probably not the correct term but with regards to value and perception is this forum not a bit of a self selecting group? On here people are generally willing to get there hands dirty and DIY most things, even professional services and design so the perception of value is possibly slightly skewed.

 

One thing everyone on here has in common is the ability/willingness to do some research for themselves. 

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28 minutes ago, Construction Channel said:

 

One thing everyone on here has in common is the ability/willingness to do some research for themselves. 

 

That's true.  I started seriously researching self build around 2008, about the time I joined this forum's predecessor, although we'd talked about it for a few years before that.  My first post there was more than a bit naive, and answered patiently by @Temp, who pointed out the importance of finding a plot before thinking about house design.  Interesting that we're both still around on here.  Off the top of my head I think there can't more than a small handful from that long ago still here.

 

All told I spent two years or so doing part time research, before I retired, then another two years of full time research and plot hunting, then another year sorting out the design of the house after that, before submitting the planning application.

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5 minutes ago, JSHarris said:

Off the top of my head I think there can't more than a small handful from that long ago still here.

Guilty

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28 minutes ago, Construction Channel said:

One thing everyone on here has in common is the ability/willingness to do some research for themselves. 

There has been a couple of occasions in architect meetings when I've looked like I know what I'm taking about only because I'm armed with advice from here. 

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2 minutes ago, SteamyTea said:

Guilty

 

I can think of four of us from that era, you, me, @Temp and @caliwag

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7 hours ago, SteamyTea said:

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

 

Sure, I know what "a" house looks like. Indeed, I know what several look like. I also know what elements I've liked and disliked in the 20+ houses I've lived in over the years.

 

What I didn't know was how to design a house that would fit my family now and in the future, would work with the significant plot restraints that we had, and would feel amazing to live in. I get it, lots of people know what they want and can't see the point of architects. Personally, I'm really sensitive to my surroundings, and wanted to live in something that was a joy to arrive home to. We've accomplished a lot of that, I think, in a way we wouldn't have managed had we come up with something ourselves.

 

The first architect we engaged I really didn't gel with, ideas-wise. She was a Passivhaus specialist, but I eventually got the impression that she wasn't great at residential houses (long story as to how we ended up with her out of the four or five architects we initially interviewed).

 

The second architect couldn't have been more different. He nailed the design brief almost perfectly with his first shot, presenting a layout that hadn't occurred to me in the hundreds of attempts I'd made myself. We ended up building a tweaked version of that design.

 

Incidentally, the external appearance was something the architect had surprisingly little to do with. He had various ideas for pitched roofs and materials, but in the end I came up with my own external treatment that we preferred to anything he'd done. He was cool with that (and why wouldn't he be).

 

In the scheme of things, he wasn't that expensive, added a lot to the project, and reduced our stress levels. I know others have had different experiences, but that's ours.

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4 minutes ago, jack said:

 

Sure, I know what "a" house looks like. Indeed, I know what several look like. I also know what elements I've liked and disliked in the 20+ houses I've lived in over the years.

 

What I didn't know was how to design a house that would fit my family now and in the future, would work with the significant plot restraints that we had, and would feel amazing to live in. I get it, lots of people know what they want and can't see the point of architects. Personally, I'm really sensitive to my surroundings, and wanted to live in something that was a joy to arrive home to. We've accomplished a lot of that, I think, in a way we wouldn't have managed had we come up with something ourselves.

 

The first architect we engaged I really didn't gel with, ideas-wise. She was a Passivhaus specialist, but I eventually got the impression that she wasn't great at residential houses (long story as to how we ended up with her out of the four or five architects we initially interviewed).

 

The second architect couldn't have been more different. He nailed the design brief almost perfectly with his first shot, presenting a layout that hadn't occurred to me in the hundreds of attempts I'd made myself. We ended up building a tweaked version of that design.

 

Incidentally, the external appearance was something the architect had surprisingly little to do with. He had various ideas for pitched roofs and materials, but in the end I came up with my own external treatment that we preferred to anything he'd done. He was cool with that (and why wouldn't he be).

 

In the scheme of things, he wasn't that expensive, added a lot to the project, and reduced our stress levels. I know others have had different experiences, but that's ours.

 

Very similar to us Jack, ours designed a great building for us but was a bit traditional in how to build it so there we pleasantly parted ways but I considered it money well spent.

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13 minutes ago, Bitpipe said:

 

Very similar to us Jack, ours designed a great building for us but was a bit traditional in how to build it so there we pleasantly parted ways but I considered it money well spent.

 

Did they not ask you how you wanted to build it? That's usually something ironed out in the early stages or at least options looked at, there's so many different technologies now that if you know (roughly) what system you are going to use then you can work with the materials to use them to their most effective - I find it a bit bizarre that people are designing houses without considering the construction 

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8 minutes ago, the_r_sole said:

I find it a bit bizarre that people are designing houses without considering the construction 

Than you are obviously one of the good ones.

And in regards to other feedback on here, apparently there are more of you out there.

Maybe they all hiding in Scotland 😋

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52 minutes ago, the_r_sole said:

Did they not ask you how you wanted to build it? That's usually something ironed out in the early stages or at least options looked at, there's so many different technologies now that if you know (roughly) what system you are going to use then you can work with the materials to use them to their most effective - I find it a bit bizarre that people are designing houses without considering the construction 

 

The architect we went with was actually our first choice, but he baulked at being responsible for a passivhaus build. When we went back to him a year later, we'd found MBC. He looked into their construction method and airtightness guarantee, and that was enough to reassure him that he'd be able to give us what wanted, performance-wise. From the very first draft, his designs all took the construction method into account.

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