CharlieKLP

What do you want from an architect?

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@CharlieKLP Good thread this and you are holding your own! I'm sure you will do well and enjoy your journey.

 

On small jobs, say extensions and the like I don't provide the CAD files to a Client unless it's been agreed at the outset. I do though share my files with Architects and others that I know and trust not to do anything daft with them. They are shared as uncontrolled files and this arrangement works both ways.

 

I often say when you let folk see the cad file it let's them see into your sole, it's you own personal work space. When making formal issue of a cad file I strip out any IP that is not associated with the job as yes you don't know where it will end up. But doing this when collaborating with folk you trust and have worked with is just sending out a message that you don't trust them! Yes you clean things up a bit so they can comprehend what they are seeing but often I splatter notes and my thoughts on the cad file so folk (and myself later ) can see what I'm thinking and where we need to go with the design.

 

Once you get to a certain stage the design is frozen and so is the cad file. If issue is required.

 

Food for thought. lets say you have a new build with lots of steel / industrial building. You have a set of pdf drawings but on larger jobs to give your Client a wide range of options you also provide a numerical control file called an NC file that the fabricator loads up straight to the machines. This is a text file, hopefully @Onoff and the like can fill in on the detail. Now the text file is just like a cad file in some ways... the lines start to get blurred here?

 

 

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5 hours ago, CharlieKLP said:

 

When you say that, that 40k doesn’t go far, what does that mean exactly? 
 

I don’t have any other overheads no, 40k is much more than I earn at present. My biggest cost is PI which has gone up a lot recently because of National incidents. 


If I was to quit my job and work from home and I earned 40k, what am I missing because that sounds like a lot of theoretical money.

 

Yes I was expecting a huge hike in my PI as a sole practitioner. Couple of drivers were.. a lot of folk are not making a good job of basement and swimming pool design and the big thing is the cladding / fire. As a guide an SE sole practitioner can get £2.0 million cover for under 2.0k a year with 5 years no claims provided you stay clear of swimming pools, tricky basements (deep ones) and fill in the forms correctly regarding the maximum height of building you are tackling and where you lay off the liability in terms of cladding design. Now you probably don't need that level of cover if you avoid the SE side. I would hope that you could get PI for 1 -1.5 K maybe a bit less? for say 500 K cover given that your are a Chartered Architect.

 

Now in reality to work on your own and starting out you generally need the bread and butter work. The garage conversions, extensions and the like. Commercially you spread the risk of getting hit with a dodgy Client that refuses to pay.. all your eggs are not in the one basket and you can afford to take a hit / fight it out while still making a wage. Do a good job and you'll find these bad clients are few and far between.. but get the odd bag egg who owes you a lot and it scunners you.

 

You could go for the high value jobs and only need one or two a year.. but the cash flow.. getting used to working for your self, worrying about getting bumped.. Also if you only do a few jobs a year you don't get your name about that much. Remember that if you do a job for a young go ahead couple they will then often get the bug, move to a larger house and phone you while recommending you to their friends..

 

On the upside these small jobs can be very technically challenging.You can be highly creative as to how you design so it's not boring. These small jobs can be a real test of a designers skill.

 

Once you get up and running, or now, try and seek out some young keen, intelligent, dilligent small local builders that have a future.. make yourself the go to Architect and as their business grows so will yours.

 

 

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13 hours ago, Gus Potter said:

Yes I was expecting a huge hike in my PI as a sole practitioner. Couple of drivers were.. a lot of folk are not making a good job of basement and swimming pool design and the big thing is the cladding / fire. As a guide an SE sole practitioner can get £2.0 million cover for under 2.0k a year with 5 years no claims provided you stay clear of swimming pools, tricky basements (deep ones) and fill in the forms correctly regarding the maximum height of building you are tackling and where you lay off the liability in terms of cladding design. Now you probably don't need that level of cover if you avoid the SE side. I would hope that you could get PI for 1 -1.5 K maybe a bit less? for say 500 K cover given that your are a Chartered Architect.

 

Now in reality to work on your own and starting out you generally need the bread and butter work. The garage conversions, extensions and the like. Commercially you spread the risk of getting hit with a dodgy Client that refuses to pay.. all your eggs are not in the one basket and you can afford to take a hit / fight it out while still making a wage. Do a good job and you'll find these bad clients are few and far between.. but get the odd bag egg who owes you a lot and it scunners you.

 

You could go for the high value jobs and only need one or two a year.. but the cash flow.. getting used to working for your self, worrying about getting bumped.. Also if you only do a few jobs a year you don't get your name about that much. Remember that if you do a job for a young go ahead couple they will then often get the bug, move to a larger house and phone you while recommending you to their friends..

 

On the upside these small jobs can be very technically challenging.You can be highly creative as to how you design so it's not boring. These small jobs can be a real test of a designers skill.

 

Once you get up and running, or now, try and seek out some young keen, intelligent, dilligent small local builders that have a future.. make yourself the go to Architect and as their business grows so will yours.

 

 

Thanks for the help and encouragement! Lots of good stuff in these comments will be very useful for me I’m sure.

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1 hour ago, CharlieKLP said:

I was expecting a huge hike in my PI as a sole practitioner.

The bottom line is that the insurers rarely pay out. Their risk is of occasional very large sums, but they spend a lot of effort in rejecting claims.

That is why, I think, some surprising businesses get cover.....there is minimal chance that there won't be  a get-out for the insurer at any claim.

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On 13/01/2022 at 19:01, ProDave said:

Some of us have low opinions of Architects.  Nothing personal but here is my reason.

 

When stating on our first self build I had a pretty good idea of what we wanted sketched out so I approached some architects.  What I got back was quotes based on astromomical figures.  they both wanted to charge a fixed percentage of the estimated build costs and both managed to estimate the build cost at roughly double what it actually turned out to be and neither would negotiate.

 

All I wanted was someone to do some design work and produce drawings and I was looking for a fair fee based on an acceptable hourly rate and hours actually worked.

 

That sorry experience means I have never spoken to an architect since.  It would be good to hear that things have moved on since then (nearly 20 years ago)

 

Exactly what ProDave said, from personal experience I always do my own to save the crazy costs quoted and add that saving into my contingency.

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I’m currently talking with an architect and trying to find the right model to control cost for both of us. They want to be paid for their expertise, but not be exposed to endless change and I want to get the best design without paying unreasonable time for them staring into the distance pondering which shade of white or black is best.

 

any thoughts on a practical set of steps, fixed costs, hourly rates which have been used with an architect would be appreciated.

 

In response to the original question(s) what’s required and is £5k about right?

 

A simple fixed cost to produce a design and build regs drawings.

An understanding of what has previously been delivered for that fixed cost

A clear hourly or day rate for other services

Access to the trusted advisors which you work with e.g. structural eng, garden designers …..

A clear agreement on hourly/daily rates for changes at each stage. It’s possible easier to change a concept than a production detail

A clear commitment to use details from other experts and reference that source and therefore ditch the need to redraw everything.

 

 

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