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Architect concerns


Deejay_2
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I posted sometime ago to say we had found an RIBA qualified retired architect to undertake our plans.  We are restricted in design by Conservation Area status and facing a Grade 11 listed building. We intend to demolish our bungalow and replace with house and triple garage with granny flat over. I seem unable to write a short post, on any subject, so apologise for length of this in advance.

 

The architect was within our price range and I hoped his qualification would "impress" the Planners.  Although the plans he has produced look good what worries me is that each time he does a minor revision at my request I literally have to check every detail on his plan as every time there are things missed off or changed.  This has taken up hours of my time.  I am also constantly reminding him of the requirements listed in the Planning Officer's response to our pre-planning application. He also had no particular knowledge of CIL.  I am quite capable of researching this area myself, with the help of this site, but feel, perhaps unreasonably so, that he should be more knowledgeable.

 

The latest example is as follows:

We decided as a result of the Planning Officer's comments to split the proposal  so that the house will be built where the bungalow currently sits, with the detached triple garage moved to the bottom of the site facing south.  At the time of the decision to undertake the change I specifically asked him to check that everything fitted on the site before doing any more plans and I cut and pasted the original plans to fit the site accordingly but am not conversant with turning distances for cars. 

 

He seemed to concentrate on the house aspect and the 25 degree rule and I assumed as he was going ahead with the plans for this, the garage was Ok in its new position. 

 

Turned out I was wrong and I don't think he had even considered this.  He subsequently informed me there is not enough space to turn 90 degrees into the garages.  Ok so I said the garage could be sited across the bottom of the garden facing the house, eastwards, and could he check that this fitted - I measured the garden myself to be sure of the size.  I cut and pasted again to show how the garage/flat should be laid out to suit the new position.  He came back with a plan with the garage in a totally different position which I know the planners would have objected to.  So I contacted him again to ask whether there was a planning reason for not doing as I had suggested, and it appeared not as he came back saying the garage would fit across the bottom of the garden. 

 

He produced the latest plan with the garage sited facing east, which I received this week and I could see immediately that he had reduced the depth of the roof by one metre, together with missing off windows, doors etc.  I phoned him to ask if the reduction in the roof depth was a planning issue (I never receive any explanation for any change) and he said he hadn't realised he had done this so it was a mistake. 

 

It is very frustrating having to go over everything with a fine toothcomb every time there is a change (mostly correcting his omissions).  The plans are done on software and he provides me with a 3D image of how it will look on site if I ask for it - which is very useful and helps me to visualise how the proposal will look.   

 

Due to CIL issues, it now looks as though we shall submit a separate planning application for the triple garage/flat, but he will supply us with plans for the house as well which we will be able to use for a second application in the future.  

 

  • Should I soldier on with the garage plans with him, as we are almost there, and get through Planning. I would not trust him with the house with a second application in the future.
  • Because I have concerns about his "accuracy" would I be able to use someone else for the Building Control plans, and will it be easy to find someone to do this, and what qualification should I be looking for.   
  • Or would I be better moving on altogether to someone else and taking the financial consequences on the chin.  If so, would an architectural technologist be better as we have the design/plans we like but need someone to ensure they are suitable for the site and might offer some advice re insulation etc when doing the Building Control plans.  

 

Any advice would be appreciated.

 

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Just because he is/was registered or qualified doesn’t mean he is or ever was any good.

there are a lot of highly qualified unemployable people out there.

what is your time worth? Do you really want to spend your time and money educating this guy?

cut your losses, learn from the lesson (cheap is cheap for a reason) and find someone who you can work with 

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Thank you.  What would I need to ask him re using his plans for Building Regs and Construction drawings.  He uses software but for some reason my PC won't accept them so we do everything by post (otherwise he'd be having to drive over here constantly with the number of revisions that have had to be made).  Would it involve him having to forward some software plans or something.  The plans will be on the planning portal if we decide to use him but would they be sufficien for someone to do contruction drawings from (with his permission).    

Still undecided what to do.

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Unfortunately, your project isn't as as important to anyone else as it is to you, and in my experience, you need to stay close to it at every step to manage this sort tiresome ball-ache.

 

If you've lost confidence, I'd probably persevere with whatever you are currently committed to, then part company.   Getting someone else to do Building Regs submissions shouldn't be a problem.

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Thank you.  At the moment I'm considering carrying on, mainly because it's looking as though we shall initially submit an application for the triple garage and granny flat.  I would definitely not be carrying on if we were applying for permission for the whole development.  I shall need to ask the architect's permission for someone to use his plans but don't know what this involves as his plans are done on software - would the hardcopy plans he sends me be sufficient for someone to do construction plans from.  Also what qualification am I looking for in someone to do the construction plans (are Building Regulation plans and construction plans the same thing?).

 Many thanks again.

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