Employing an architect for a new build, renovation or extension is a worthwhile enterprise which ensures that your money is well spent. In our vast experience as Triad, we have tested and proven that having an architect in your project ensures you get value in your investment.
After deciding on a construction investment, the next big task is identifying and choosing an architect for your project. Your choice of architect is determined by factors such as the architect’s experience, involvement, accessibility, ability to work with others and exposure. But how do you identify and select the ‘right’ architect for your project? Here are some six questions you should ask an architect before entrusting them with your building project.
1. What is my scope as a client?
An architect will let you know your role in the project right at the start. The client is the holder of the brief and is mainly responsible for providing resources needed to achieve the project.
The client holds the final decision in matters finances and project stakeholders. Therefore, the answer to this question depends on how involved you want to be. In some cases, clients come with a few general ideas and let the architect propose solutions while in others, clients have very specific ideas on what they want. In both instances, an architect is equipped to analyse the project brief, formulate working models, draft project parameters, and advise on the best working relationship between the client, architect, and the project team.
By having these discussions in the inception stage, as a client, you can gauge how much time, information and resources you’ll need to commit to the entire project lifecycle.
2. Who will be on the design team and who else might be required?
Architecture is a collaborative field. There are other professionals who play pivotal roles and are involved at both design and construction stages. These consultants might include but are not limited to Quantity Surveyors, Civil Engineers, Structural Engineers, Mechanical Engineers, Electrical Engineers, Landscape Architects, Interior Designers, and other specialist consultants who are unique to a project.
Architects are typically the lead consultants. They are therefore able to advise you on the professionals that will be required in your project and their roles.
Construction process takes time and ample planning. By asking this question, you will be able to plan, budget and understand who you will be dealing with through the life of the project.
3. What are the expected services and how much do you charge?
In Kenya, architectural fees is defined in the Kenyan Laws under CAP 525: ‘ARCHITECTS AND QUANTITY SURVEYORS ACT’. This act provides guidance on what you can expect from an Architect.Architects use a deliberate fee structure to charge for their services. The fees
charged depends on the complexity of the job and the overall project cost. Some services are charged as part of the normal service agreement, while others might attract additional fees.
According to Kenyan Law, Architect’s fees can also be based on hourly charges, total sum fixed fees, a percentage of the anticipated contract value or a combination of these. Architects may also charge for some disbursements such as printing of drawings and vehicle mileage.
4. What are the products from an architect’s office?
All architectural projects are developed through preset stages. Each stage has a list of expected deliverables from the client as well as the design team. At the end of every stage, both the architect and the client sign off and approve advancement to the next stage.
Asking this question will help you understand what to expect from an architect. Products commonly delivered by an architect include 2D set of drawings, Rendered 3D images, a physical 3D model, a fly through animation and/or a VR walkthrough. These products will help you visualize your dream before it is built.
An architect’s office will tailor different products to suite your level of understanding and within your budget. It is important to discuss this before the project starts.
5. What are the specific strengths and challenges you see in this project?
Since every project and site comes with its own challenges and opportunities, an architect may use his/her previous experience in providing solutions to your project. The answer given will help you determine whether he/ she is right for the job.
By asking this question, you are now passing the ball to the architect to determine if they understand your project. This will help you determine if the approach an architect will take in design and delivering the project suites your vision.
6. What’s the estimated timescale for my project?
As a client, you want to have an estimation of how long it will take to deliver your project. An architect should take you through the stages and tell how long each stage will take. This will help you plan your time and finances.
With these questions answered, you are bound to make a good design on the architect to hire and what to expect from them.