There are some common myths I’ve come across regarding architects and the build process. Here’s a few:
1.) Yes, I am female. Not all architects are male! Yes I have had people phone me up and not believe me.
2.) Yes I wear colourful clothing, not all of my clothes are black, and I don’t own a turtle neck jumper.
3.) All architects are the same. Like every job, architects specialise in different areas. Mine is sustainability in small scale buildings – i.e. homes, schools and local authority buildings, not big blocks of flats. It’s important to find an architect that fits with you. If you are spending serious money making improvements to your home or workspace, then find an architect that you feel comfortable with. And price shouldn’t be your own decision factor.
4.) I can’t afford an Architect. Architects can make or break your project, good planning and design is important. Your home is likely already ‘architect designed,’ but not personalised to you. A common thing I hear is ‘we need more space’. It’s often not the need for more space, but more storage to make the spaces work. A sports hall covered in Lego, building blocks, scooters, books etc. is always going to look messy. Seamless storage to tidy the toys away looks neater. The amount of space (and therefore money you spend on building) can and should reflect your needs. My fees aren’t based on a percentage of build costs – it’s not in my interest to make you spend more money.
5.) I don’t have time for an architect. The fastest way to get something that does what you need it to do is to design it first. Not build it, change it as you go along or when you don’t like it. It often costs more money to build this way than hiring an architect to start with.
6.) I don’t want to go through planning. The planning system is there for a reason, it’s not just to hold you up. They are there to protect your neighbours (or you if it’s your neighbour building). You may not need planning permission – what you are planning to do might fall within your permitted development rights, but don’t let the planning process put you off making an application to get the home you want. Even if your proposals are within permitted development rights, you can still apply for a permitted development certificate which just confirms that your work is acceptable to the local authority.
7.) Planning permission and building control are NOT the same thing. Planning permission is to ensure the proposals are acceptable to the building and it’s surroundings. To keep the street scene similar in appearance, or to prevent overlooking of your neighbours. Building control is there to ensure the more technical aspects of the building (that the correct levels of insulation are installed) and also to ensure the building is build to meet safety standards. You may not need planning permission, but you will need building control approval. Building control can be guaranteed by building safely. Planning permission can’t be guaranteed, but can be sensibly managed.