Using an Architect

What will an Architect do for me?

The role of the architect will vary depending on the size of the project and the needs of the client. Typically your architect will work with you to define your brief and design the building and will then submit Planning and Building Warrant applications on your behalf. While some clients feel able to handle the appointment of a contractor and the construction process themselves an architect could also assist you with this stage of the project.

Do I need to hire an architect for the whole project?

No. Architect's services are set out on a stage by stage basis from determining the initial feasibility of the project right through the completion of the building. You can appoint an architect for whichever stage or stages of the project suit your particular needs.

I have seen a house design I like on the internet, why should I use an Architect rather than purchase this ready-made design?

While there are many options to buy a pre-designed set of plans from various sources, this cannot be compared to the service you would receive from an architect. Plans you see online or in magazines may not always be suitable for your specific site and some design features may in fact not be appropriate for the Shetland climate or in terms of meeting local planning policies.

The end result which would be achieved from purchasing a pre-designed set of plans is unlikely to be as successful as what you could achieve with the bespoke, site specific service which you would receive from an architect who would take your personal requirements into account before preparing a design which works for you and your site.

Isn’t it expensive to hire an Architect?

When looked at in proportion to the total you will be spending on your construction project your architect's fees should prove to be excellent value for money. As well as guiding you through the process and making it a less stressful experience your architect should ensure you get the best value for money though carefully considered design which avoids wasted or poorly laid out spaces. In many cases, the knowledge and experience of your architect could help you to avoid costly mistakes and delays.

At PJP Architects we will help our clients to tailor our services to meet their own needs and we can be involved for as much or as little of the process as our clients require. In all cases we will provide a clear quotation which sets out the service we will provide and the cost of that service. 

What if I don’t like the design my Architect comes up with?

Your Architect will work with you to put together a brief for your project. This is your opportunity to tell the architect exactly what you require, from the number of bedrooms to the size of your dining room table. Getting a properly detailed brief together at the beginning of the design stage should mean that the proposals your architect presents to you will meet your needs and suit your personal style and taste.

Of course there is always a possibility that you won’t like the initial design you are presented with, however there is no reason this cannot be resolved through good communication with your architect to help them understand which aspects do and don’t work for you.

At PJP we believe in maintaining excellent communication with our clients throughout every project to ensure you are happy with the proposals before proceeding to the next stage.

How do I know I will get a good service from an Architect?

Every architect in the UK must be registered with the Architects Registration Board and in order to maintain their place on this register they must adhere to a code of practice which ensures you will be provided with a professional and reliable service. It is illegal to describe yourself as an architect in the UK without being on the ARB Register. The reason for this is primarily to protect members of the public from potentially substandard service and to ensure the reputation of the architectural profession is upheld.

What is the difference between an Architect and a plan drawer or other designer?

Architects in the UK study for a minimum of seven years before reaching the level of qualification required to register as an architect. This involves study at university as well as time working in practice and sitting professional exams. Beyond this, architects must also carry out a minimum level of continuing professional development each year to ensure they keep up to date with new regulations, technologies, etc.

All architects must carry suitable insurance and adhere to a professional code of conduct which should ensure you get the professional service you would expect, even in the unlikely event that something does go wrong.

Anyone can set themselves up in business to draw up house plans without any qualifications and although many do have experience of working in the construction industry there is no guarantee that the person you hire will have the necessary skills to achieve the results you were expecting.