Youngredders

Meeting architect for first time

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Hi guys

 

I’m meeting a proposed architect today for the first time. Really simple request; what should I ask him?

 

i am looking to build a 200m2 four bed house on my 780 m2 plot. The plot will be supplied with OPP and all services. 

 

The things I’ve got in mind for my meeting are:

 

- Present my first design draft. 

- Discuss cost for the build to ensure I’m planning the correct size build. 

- Discuss how best to utilise the view, sun etc. 

 

Thanks in advance

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Do you know what you want the house to look like?  One of the skills that architects can really earn their salt on is making the house look lovely as well as fulfill all the functional requirements that you have.  If you can have both, why not?  Whilst you have OPP, there's plenty of scope for tweaking things.

 

Be clear on what your budget is, ask him if it's realistic and if not, why not. 

 

Have you considered setting up a board on Pinterest where you can put lots of pictures of things you like so that the architect can get a feel for your tastes?

 

The clearer you are with what you want, the more the house will reflect your actual tastes and requirements rather than what the architect may think you want.  It's a combination of being open-minded but not afraid to say 'no' to stuff that you don't feel would work for you.

 

Above all, make sure that you can get along with them.

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28 minutes ago, Youngredders said:

 

i am looking to build a 200m2 four bed house on my 780 m2 plot. The plot will be supplied with OPP and all services. 

 

 

Is the OPP for a 200 m2 house? The plan you posted the other day implied a 400 m2 house. 

 

You need an architect who you feel you can work with and who you feel will be working for you rather than dictating to you (although bear in mind he will be the expert here). 

 

Ask what he considers the house will be worth once built vs the build costs which will be important if you need a mortgage on it. 

 

 

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From our experience your architect needs to know your budget as they have a habit of really overspecing the build. For example on our build the architect had a porte cochere joining the garage to the house, it was a really fancy feature but would have cost the earth. As many will tell you, put your money in the fabric of the building with loads of insulation, good quality windows and MVHR and you will have a good base to start with. These things you want to last for a long time yet other items like bathrooms and kitchens can be upgraded at anytime in the future if you cannot afford what you want now. Be realistic about what YOU can do in the way of labour and finishes as if your paying for everything to be done by tradesmen then costs will be a lot higher. We tweaked our design after the architect had presented us with the initial design so do not be afraid to question why he/she has designed it that way.

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I'd take a step back here and think about fundamentals first. If you haven't worked with them previously:

  1. Can you see his three most similar projects to the one you're proposing.
  2. Can he provide three names and contact details for references should you need them.
  3. Are they RIBA / ACA registered
  4. Will they provide Building regulations issue drawings, or just planning (the difference is enormous). WHich RIBA stage will they be working up to.
  5. What form of contract. Will they project manage.
  6. What form of construction are they comfortable with. Have they tried modern forms, or have only done two-skin masonry.

Then if they haven't got nervous answering all those, move on to discussing your design.

 

Hope it helps, and hope you get what you need.

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I would suggest you buy my book 'self build home...the last thing you need is an architect'. This is not a technical, 'how to' book, but a guide to make design decisions of must haves, wants, needs etc before the designer/architect's fee clock starts ticking. I am not knocking architects (the title could imply that), but exploring family-wide making all those essential and spatial decisions based on memory of the best and worst places you've lived in. No flim-flam or waffle and few pretty pictures to make you green with envy.`Email lofthousestudio@hotmail.com for details. I used to teach architecture and interior design in a school of Architecture and the book is loosely based on aspects of the course...Jamie

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Assuming you get through all the other questions satisfactorily, I wouldn't show them your preliminary plans.

 

A better idea is to take all the important information that drove the drafting of your preliminary sketches and put that into the design brief. Things like available views, desired rooms (eg, must have one ensuite and walk-in wardrobe), how you want to live in the house now, whether you have (or will at some stage have) a family that will need to be accommodated will be taken into account by any decent architect. The architect will guide you through the preparation of this document.  

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Is this a meeting part of choosing an architect or have you chosen? If you are choosing then you need to understand their approach and style while trying to understand if you feel you can work with them. I would not show them ideas but let them come up with their own so as to broaden thinking.

 

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Posted (edited)

Rather like @MikeSharp01 I would say part of what you pay an architect for are "ideas" - So don't be too prescriptive about design at this stage, ask for thoughts, impressions and explain how you want the house to work for you and and how you 'live', ask how their designs could improve these things for you.

 

Ask questions about them, do they have a design ethos( a bit 'Hipster' I know ).

 

Can you work with Architect, build a relationship do they "get" what you are trying to do, you could be working with them for quite a long time.

 

That kind of stuff.

 

 

Edited by swisscheese

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I would still maintain that, as a family, you go through wants, needs, must-haves, nice to haves etc before engaging a designer/architect. Why pay fees for someone outside the family to take notes when you discuss what you might want. I do agree architects can come up with brill ideas and 'have you thought of this' ideas...they can indeed bring a lot to the table, once you've clarified what you might fancy.  

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Posted (edited)

Perhaps too late but....

 

Between arranging a meeting and actually meeting our architect he had been to the site and done some pen and ink sketches of what he thought would suit the site. 

 

Architect fees for supervising the build phase can be expensive so decide if that's something you can really afford or need.

 

Some Architects will propose a fee which is a percentage of the final build cost. Avoid this because it means they get paid more if cost over runs.  If you decide to install a better kitchen than initially planned you can end up paying the Architect extra even if he's not involved in the kitchen design.

Edited by Temp

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