WHAT SHOULD YOU DO WHEN YOU GO TO MEET AN ARCHITECT
FOR THE FIRST TIME?
Ideally, formulate your project brief before meeting with your Architect and be
realistic about your budget or other constraints that might exist but remember
to allow yourself a little “room” for the unforeseen.
PREPARE A PROJECT BRIEF: Include everyone: To formulate the
Project Brief, first get all the decision makers together. Include everyone –
husbands, wives or even children with an interest in the building. Write down
your complete wish list.
Express your ideas: You can visit some finished houses or you can
consult professional magazines, catalogues and architecture books to get ideas
and to show the Architect what you like and dislike.
Mention the size and theme of building: Your
initial brief need not be very extensive but at least contain information
regarding broad principles and general priorities e.g. better natural light,
more play room, the number and sizes of the rooms, the overall size and theme
of the structure, features you would like to have and key functional or special
inter-relationships of spaces etc. This will make it easier for the Architect
to understand what you’re trying to achieve overall.
Think of future expansion plans: You should have some ideas, future expansion
plans, what you would like in your house, etc. This will enable the Architect
to assess your project realistically and put forward appropriate design
proposals, which will help you make suitable choices.
Refer Project brief periodically: Once
the actual project begins, go back to your project brief at regular intervals.
It’s very easy to go off track and lose sight of your original goals (and
BE REALISTIC ABOUT BUDGET: Be realistic and honest about your
budget from the start. The relationship between you and your Architect
should be one of mutual trust and by being dishonest about your budget might
only lengthen the design process thus in the end costing you more in
Architects’ fees to get to a viable solution or you might end up with a house
design that is beyond your budget limits and a project that you would not be
able to complete.
DO NOT FORCE A PARTICULAR STYLE / THEME FOR THE
HOUSE: When you express the kind of style you
like for your house, do not insist on personalizing the design too much to your
own individualistic needs. These themes are often short lived trends in
property markets and certainly put a date stamp on a property and you might
have difficulty or not get the best resale value when it comes to the selling
of the house.A
good style is one that is unique but has longevity and remains contemporary. A
good Architect will not try to enforce his own tastes in design, but instead
try to get a good feel of your taste and try to guide you to come to a
realistic building solution.
THE FIRST MEETING: Ask for portfolio, professional
details: When consulting your Architect for the first time, ask about
professional credentials, recent references and project photos.
Have your project brief ready: Explain exactly what it is you want and don’t
hold back. If you have pictures or photographs of what you like and dislike
bring them as there will be less chance of misunderstandings. Pictures say more
than 1000 words. It also helps both parties to find out if they have similar
styles and whether they are feasible within the budget.
Expect detailed questions: No matter how good your project brief is, an
experienced professional will pick up the details that you’ve missed. So, be
prepared to answer detailed questions about your project brief.
Try and keep an open mind: The first session with this professional will
largely consist of discussion and questions about your requirements and ideas
of you house and site and which take priority. During the session the Architect
might present you with suggestions, ideas or solutions that might not sound
pleasing to you at first, but might make sense later on in the planning stage.
Ask questions: Find
out as much as you can in the consultation phase, about possible causes of over
runs and other problems that may crop up.
How’s the communication? Do you
feel the Architect will listen to and respond to your concerns, explain what’s
going on and keep you updated? Good communication can go a long way to a smooth
NEGOTIATING FEES: When negotiating fees with your
Architect, you might have a choice to use only a part of his service or a ‘full
service’. If your budget does not allow the full services of the Architect, he
might be willing to provide you with advice and ideas for a reduced fee. The services
of an Architect are not rigid and most will be willing to taper services to
suit your needs or budget. Remember that preparation is key. Most
building projects run smoothly and so can yours with a little planning. Good