Using an Architect

Why Choose an architect?

Using An Architect

Using an Architect

An architect offers a level of professional service and expertise which no other building professional can provide. An RIAI architect is professionally qualified legally to practice and bound by a code of ethics.

An architect can provide the following services;

Building Design
The primary training of an architect is in the design of buildings in terms of function, form and regulatory compliance

Brief Development
A good brief is the first step to delivering a successful project. Often clients require help from an expert in formulating the brief for their project and the architect is normally best-placed to assist.

Applying for Planning Permission
Advising if your project requires planning permission and producing the relevant information for making an application to the local authority. You may also engage an architect to provide services in connection with planning appeals. Your architect may communicate on your behalf with planning authorities.

Design Certifier and Assigned Certifier
An architect is typically the most appropriate professional to act as Design Certifier and Assigned Certifier under the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations, S.I.9 of 2014. Although your architect may also be your Assigned Certifier, there is a requirement under S.I.9 that the appointment be made under a separate agreement.

Project Supervisor Design Process (PSDP)
Your architect may act as PSDP or an alternative person  may be appointed to the role.

Administrating the Building Contract
Dealing on your behalf with the building contractor and administrating the project to ensure that it is delivered in accordance with the design and planning permission.

Coordinating other Consultants
Your project may require the input of specialist consultants such as a Structural Engineer or Quantity Surveyor, and your architect will coordinate their involvement.

Measurement Survey & Drawings
Measure existing buildings for the purpose of making drawings to assist in design proposals for alterations or additions.

Condition Survey
Inspect and establish the condition of a property and prepare a report.

Interior Design
You may engage your architect to provide an interior design service, advising on loose furniture, artworks and finishes.

Sustainability Advice and Design
Your architect can advise you how to optimising orientation, microclimate, building fabric, lifecycle costing, energy and water consumption and ensure compliance with Building Regulations. Additionally, if you require options for future proofing your building against future costs, or creating a zero carbon building the implications can be established by a specific studies at an early stage.

Conservation skills
If the building you own is ‘historic’, a ‘Protected Structure’ or in an ‘Architectural Conservation Area’ you will need the advice of an architect with skills in conservation. Even if your building is not listed by the Planning Authority it can still be worthy of conservation and you will want to make sure that its character is not damaged in the process of any alterations or extensions you plan to carry out.

The architect normally is best positioned to act as the project-manager coordinating the other inputs to deliver a project successfully.

Dispute Resolution Services
Architects offer dispute resolution services such as mediation and conciliation.

Before you appoint your architect, you need to define the kind of service you require and answering the questions below helps you prepare for an initial meeting with your architect. An architect will also be able to help you to define your requirements into a full design brief.

  1. Describe your current home. What do you like about it? What’s missing? What don’t you like? Why do you want to change the space you have and build an extension?
  2. What is your lifestyle? Are you at home a great deal? Do you work at home? Do you entertain often?
  3. How much time do you spend in the living areas, bedroom, kitchen, utility space,garden etc.?
  4. How much time and energy are you willing to invest to maintain your home?
  5. What functions or activities will be housed in the new extension?
  6. What kind of spaces do you need, eg bigger kitchen, living area, garden lookout, storage/utility, quiet zone?
  7. Think 10 years ahead (the ages of all in the house)   -who will need living in the house
  8. What do you think the extension should look like?
  9. What do you envisage in your new home that your present home lacks?
  10. How much can you realistically afford to spend?
  11. How soon would you like to be settled into your new home or extension? Are there rigid time restraints?
  12. Do you have strong ideas about design? What are your design preferences?
  13. Who will be the primary contact with the architect, contractor, and others involved in designing and building your project?
  14. What qualities are you looking for in an architect?
  15. Do you want to pursue options, and establish the additional inputs required, to optimise your buildings performance to achieve zero energy inputs, healthy materials, smart technology, or other sustainability goal?
  16. How much disruption in your life can you tolerate to extend or renovate your home? Can you move out? How are your relationships with your neighbours?

Through good design, an architect can enhance the value of your building and may produce significant savings especially when it comes to specifying materials, dealing with difficult builders/contractors and design problems as well as overseeing the entire project from start to end.

Architects’ Fees

An architect’s fee depends on the requirements and complexity of each project and the scope of services provided. For this reason there is no set or standard fee. Fees can also be calculated in different ways, for example as a:

  • Quoted percentage of the total construction cost (most common way to charge fees)
  • Agreed lump sum based on the anticipated work involved (clients and architects may agree to fix and agree a fee)
  • Time charge (hourly or daily) based on the estimated time of a project. (Usually only applies to a limited service, such as a measured survey)

The architect’s fee is usually drawn down at various project stages, typically coinciding with project milestones such as Initial Design (25%), Developed Design (25%), Detail Design (25%) and Construction (25%). At the outset you and your architect should agree these staged payments. Typically for an extension project over €100,000 the percentage fee is between 8 and 12 per cent of the contract sum depending on the extent of services agreed in the provision of architectural services agreement.