So what does an Architect actually do?

28th January 2016 | By: Dave Smyth

Architectual Design

Architectural Design

An architect is a highly qualified specialist in all practical, emotional and legal matters relating to the design of buildings, and the extent of their work goes a great deal further than the drawing up of construction plans.

How an architect can help you

When you employ an architect to design your building project, you are enlisting the services of a professional who utilises a range of finely tuned expertise in order to transform your vision into a reality.

The first stage of your relationship with your architect will be a meeting between you to discuss this vision. This will involve the architect paying close attention to your ideas, and, in cases where there is more than a single client involved, perhaps mediating between the two (or more) of you to reach a common goal.

This part of the process, in particular, requires excellent listening and translation skills on the part of the architect, as it can be exceptionally difficult for a client to translate what their heart and mind wants into the spoken word.

Your architect will then work with you to expertly develop your ideas and put together a firm brief. They will take into account a wide range of considerations, and help you to find a balance between the conflicting issues that will inevitably present themselves when planning your building project. These will include your financial budget and time limit, the constraints and opportunities presented by your site, any relevant legal restrictions, and of course the goals of your all-important vision.

Every piece of information and inspiration you can give your architect at this stage will be treated with the utmost importance. The beauty of designing your own home with an architect on board is in the design of a completely unique living space that is entirely centred on your personal needs.

Whether your biggest priority is to build a sellable home that will do well on the market in future; an eco-friendly, self-sustainable property with minimal to no ongoing energy costs; a house design with the flexibility to adapt and grow with your family’s changing or expanding needs; or quite simply an ideal home for your routines and way of life that ticks your boxes in the here and now; your architect will bridge the gap between your desires and your capabilities and be the professional who makes it happen for you.

The next phase of the process moves forward into the architectural design work, which is at the heart of an architect’s business. This usually follows a detailed survey of the parameters of your building site. The earliest designs will look like rough sketches, which the architect will then communicate to you effectively in order to give you an idea of the design intent. At all stages your feedback is encouraged and taken on board.

Later will follow more detailed designs, including computerised floor plans, elevations, sections and 3D views, and even – if you want – 3D models. All the while, your architect will be explaining and illustrating this process to you and ensuring you are understanding and satisfied with the goal you are all working towards.

An architect is not only a designer, but also an engineer. During the design phase, your architect will give special consideration to the structural arrangement of the construction. They will determine precisely what layout and framework is needed to make your building structurally safe, whilst taking into account what works best for your family’s lifestyle.

Your architect can help you to collate information, and prepare and present all necessary documents for the legal procurement of the project. Later, they will liaise with any other design and construction professionals working on your building, and in many cases will also oversee the building work carried out by subcontractors on a day-to-day basis.

Perhaps most importantly of all, your architect is your ultimate advocate when it comes to the building of your home, and is an invaluable asset to have on-side throughout this lengthy and all-consuming project.


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