Architects are one of the key professionals in the built environment. Whether building a new home form scratch or doing major alterations to an existing abode, enlisting the help of an architect will be top of your list. Yet driving into the inknown of what to expect or who to hire may add to the already daunting task at hand. It is always good to remember that the architect is there to assist you.

Their professional expertise and knowledge is there to guide and ensure your building is sound and safe, and adheres to all regulations while still being exactly what you want it to be.

“Architects spend hours researching and determining what is going to be timeless in 10 or 20 years if not longer. Well-established architects are also usually aware of the latest building regulations and guidelines that the ordinary man in the street may not be aware of. Always keep in mind that what architects spend their lives doing year after uear the client may do only once or twice in a lifetime,” explains Nico van der Meulen Architects.

The internet is an excellent starting point to form an idea of current trends as well as what each architect has been designing recently, and if these designs and ideas fit in with you. It will help you narrow down your search and assist you in choosing architect that will help you in the process of building your dream home. All architects must be registered with the South African Council of Architects (SACAP), so no matter where you find your architect remember to check tha he is registered in order to practice.

Arthur Quinton or Arthur Quinton Darryl Croome Architects also recommens that home owners should look into the architect’s background and make sure they are equipped with dealing in single house requirements. Arthur explains that with experience over time many architects specialise in a certain field or architecture and therefore all architects are not up to scratch in terms of home design and building, rules and regulations. A good architect will bethere from conception to finish, whether it be a three or 14 month project – every element of your building experience will happen with your architect. Tehrefore right from the start, research is mperative in finding a perfect architect for you.

Building bonds

Your relationship with your architect is the making and breaking pointof any project and will determine its success and length of time. “The relationship between an architect and client is one built on trust. It is therforeimperative to work as a team with the architect as your gude,” explains Nick Brits from Evolve Architects.

It is your project and asking as many questions as possible will help you understand what your architect is saying and will in turn help them interpret your ideas onto paper. It is a mutually beneficial relationship that will start right from the beginning when you take examples and discuss your needs, wants and dislikes.

This bond between client and architect is there to resolve and issues or problems that may arise. Your wnats and needs hould have a physical solution that your architect can find for you if he understands your desires. ” No amount of academic training can replace experience. A good architect is someone who finds workable, aesthetically pleasing design and technical solutions for challenges thought to be impossible. Nothing is impossible. Had the world been delendant on people who said things were impossible, mankind would never have progressed. I have found that clients appreciate truthful, candid opinions. When presented with truthful facts. in a professional manner, based on solid experience most clients will eventually accept the architect’s opinion. That is, after all, why the services of a professional were engaged in the first place,” adds Vernon Viljoen from Vernon Viljoen Architects.

Behind the scenes

Building a new home is one of the largest investments most clients make in their private capacity and ensuring you get the best of everything is essential to your and your family’s happiness.

“Architecture is a form of practical, functional art and science, therfore it is an emotional industry.” explains Anja Williams from Evolve Architects. SHe adds that making sure your architect can supply you with everything will make the building process so much easier.

Nico explains a few basic steps architects normally follow to ensure a happy client: “FIrstly the architect must take cognisance of the National Building Regualtions and municipal ordinances as well as estate rules if applicable. Secondly a house must be functional to comply with the home owner’s requirements. It is vitally important that the architect understands the client’s requirements and formulates a comprehensive brief. Before commencing with any project, it is pertinent that the architect understands the parameters for the project.”

These tips will keep you and your architect in the smae page at all times throughout the project together. Theya re there not only to design your plans, but should effectively manage the construction process and ensure that all design, technical, legal and contractual requirements are met.

Vernon explains that “a good architect will not only design a beautiful house, but will also guide you through the process, and steer your away from possible pitfalls or complications before they happen. The architect is not only reponsible for the design of your house. He is also responsible for the preparation and design of correct technical details. He assists you in selecting building contractors and manages all contractual matters”.

Your architect will act as your right hand man. All questions, changes and future progress from your plans will proceed through your architect if desired. Suzette Hammer from SBE associates Architects agrees and stresses that ” the architect is the only professional trained to comprehensively appreciate the disciplines of all the other subcontractors and professionals”.

The client’s brief ultimately forms the main guidelines of the building project and the architect is there to interpret, mould and execute these to make a happy client. It is good to keep in mind, like any profession, architects are trained and qualified to help you.