Why should I appoint a Professional Architectural Designer for my Project ?


Most large building and construction projects invariably proceed under the direction of an Architect, Architectural Designer or similar professional Design Consultant appointed to plan, design, supervise and project manage the scheme on behalf of the Client.  The appointed Architectural Designer will usually assume ultimate reposibility for every aspect of the building project from the initial concept or idea right through to the handover of the completed project to the client or the end user of the building or facility.

However, as the size and value of a building project reduces, then the extent to which the appointed Architectural Designer takes on ultimate responsibility for the schemes may also reduce, with a corresponding increase in resposibility and control being undertaken by the client and other professional consultants involved in the various aspects of the project.

Ultimately, many small building projects, and particulalrly those being undertaken by private householders and small property developers, are often undertaken with relatively limited input by a professional designer. Some householders and developers may even decide to undertake both the design and project management elements of the scheme  themselves, without engaging a professional designer at all, or alternatively, they may  entrust these aspects of the scheme to their appointed building contractor as part of a ‘package deal’  or ‘design & build’ contract.

The decision whether or not to appoint an Architectural Designer to a project may be made purely in an effort to save costs, or perhaps because of a notion that smaller schemes do not warrant appointing a professional consultant.  Also, in those situations where an Architectural  Designer is employed, the client’s decision to do so may have been taken solely because the project requires Planning and/or Building Regulation approval, and some form of plans or drawings need to be prepared in order to apply for these approvals.

However, deciding whether or not to appoint an Architectural Designer, and also the choice of that appointment, will have a significant influence on the overall success of the construction project.

Regardless of the size and value of your proposed building project, obtaining sound professional advice and guidance at the outset, together with securing the assistance of a professional designer to prepare accurate design drawings for the scheme is of vital importance to ensure a succesful outcome for the scheme.

In recent years, the legislation and protocol surrounding the Planning and Building Regulation processes have become significantly more complex. In addition, contruction methods and specifications are changing constantly, as are the requirements of the Building Regulations, which are now far more stringent in line with European Standards. As a result , the need to appoint an experienced industry professional to administer and oversee the design and construction process for the project has increased accordingly.

Furthermore, professional architectural designers can provide much more valuable input to the project, other than just that of preparing plans and drawings, and will often be involved with many other aspects of the project including the contractual, financial  and logistical elements of the scheme.

Despite these factors, the project drawings and the costs associated with obtaining them are often seen by the client purely as an ‘unavoidable necessity’ which has to be undergone before building work can proceed.

As a result, clients often look for the cheapest option available to them in terms of apointing their Architectural Designer. The appointment of the Architectural Designer is therefore decided purely on cost, and a desire to commission a minimal design service, for the sole purpose of securing the necessary  local authority approvals.  Some clients may even consider preparing their own plans and drawings in order to dispense with engaging a professional designer altogether.

However, appointing the right Architectural Designer is often the most significant factor governing the success, or failure, of any building project. In addition to the prepration of plans and drawings, there are many other factors which should be considered and which should confirm the need to appoint a professional designer to assist you with your scheme. For example:-

• A professional designer will take your original  ideas and concept and convert these into reality with an innovative, practical and economic design.
• A professional designer is able to take your design brief and adapt this as necessary to ensure that the final scheme design not only meets or exceeds all of your initial requirements, but also meets all current Planning and Building Regulation legislation.
• A professional designer will devise a well-designed project which will ultimately maximise and enhance the building and its accommodation and increase the long-term value of your property.
• A professional designer can actually reduce your building costs by providing detailed, accurate and concise drawings for the project, identifying  and solving potential problems at design stage rather than have them materialise into costly unforseen issues during construction, and enabling you to obtain comprehensive and comparable estimates for the building work.
• A professional designer  can also save you time and money during the Planning & Building Regulation application stage of the project by ensuring that all correct and necessary information is provided and submitted as part of the relevant applications, and liaising directly with the local authority on your behalf on a professional basis thereby streamlining the application process.

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