Why employ an architect?

 

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has produced a guide for engaging an architect. It includes some important topics, such as: appointing an architect, developing a brief, project leadership, fee options and legislation. In the next few posts on our blog, we summarise the main points listed in the guide, to help prospective and current clients enhance their understanding of why and how to work with an architect.

Working with an architect london

Checking your architect’s credentials

In the UK, a ‘architect’ must be registered with the Architects Registration Board (ARB). Registered architects must adhere to the ARB Standards of Conduct and Practice, and the ARB can take action against those who fall short of the expected standards. RIBA also maintains a Code of Practice and expects its members to work with integrity and honesty. Architects practising in the UK who are registered with the ARB and are also Chartered Members of RIBA are entitled to describe themselves as ‘Chartered Architects’. RISE Design Studio is a RIBA Chartered Practice.

Added value

An architect can bring many benefits to your project and it’s not just about supplying you with drawings. An architect has experience to see your project safely through design, planning and building regulations, and construction. For a building project, the range of services an architect can provide includes:

– investigating the feasibility of the requirements;
– developing design proposals;
– applying for statutory approvals;
– preparing construction information;
– obtaining tenders for building work;
– administering a building contract; and
– interior design and landscaping services.

Appointing an architect

Architects who are members of RIBA are required by the Code of Professional Conduct to record the terms of any appointment before undertaking any work, and to have the necessary competence and resources.

It is in the architect’s and the client’s interests to understand their agreement, which should define and record the services to be provided and identify terms and conditions. RIBA provides a range of flexible Appointment Agreements, which an architect can use with all types of projects.

Agreeing the terms of the project

An agreement defines the obligations of each party and makes provisions for the assignment, fees, payments, copyright, liability, suspension, termination and dispute resolution. An agreement will also comprise the conditions, schedule of services and formal confirmation of the contract in a memorandum of agreement or letter of appointment.

Generally, the architect retains copyright of the information produced for your project (in accordance with the law). Architects are required to maintain professional indemnity insurance in respect of their liability to the client.

What an architect agrees to do

In general, an architect undertakes to:

– use reasonable skill and care;
– keep the client informed of progress and on issues affecting time, cost or quality;
– co-operate with other appointed designers/constructions team(s);
– only make alterations to the approved deisng with the client’s prior approval.

The role of the client

As a client, you would undertake to:

– advise on the relative priorities of your requirements;
– provide necessary and accurate information;
– appoint other consultants and specialists required under separate agreements;
– comply with CDM regulations if the project is not at your home (see next blog post);
– take decisions and respond promptly to approvals sought by your architect;
– pay the fees, expenses etc. due and VAT where applicable;
– employ a building contractor under a separate contract if proceeding with construction work.

In our next post, we’ll look at developing a brief and project leadership. If you would like to discuss a project, please contact us. You can browse our recent projects here.

Read a copy of the RIBA guide to working with an architect for your home.

Our professional affiliations

 

RISE Design Studio Ltd is a member of The Green Register and registered with the Architects Registration Board. Our Director, Sean Ronnie Hill, is a Chartered Member of the Royal Institute of British Architects, the professional association of architects in the UK. This post provides some information about these organisations and the interests they represent.

Professional affiliations

The Green Register of Construction Professionals is a not-for-profit membership organisation that promotes sustainable building practices to all of the disciplines within the construction industry. Core activities of the organisation include: training on sustainable building practices; maintaining a register of members (all members undergo at least two days of Green Register training; and networking to allow knowledge exchange. Sustainable architecture is central to our work (see our recent post on the topic) and the publicly-available register of members is a useful source for potential clients looking for architects and other construction professionals who are committed to sustainable building. The Green Register website also hosts a very useful blog for those interested in sustainable building techniques, news, discussion and legislation.

The Architects Registration Board (ARB) is an independent, public interest body that was established by the UK Parliament in 1997 to regulate the architecture profession in the UK. ARB prescribes the qualifications required to become an architect and ensures that architects meet the standards for conduct and practice. All architects in the UK must be registered with ARB. ARB maintains the UK Register of Architects, which lists qualified architects and is available to search on the ARB website. The ARB website also provides a wealth of information for members of the public and provides some guidance on key topics to discuss with an architect if embarking on an architecture project.

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)  is also connected with the architects across the UK but has a slightly different role to the ARB. With around 44,000 members, RIBA promotes architecture and provides professional training and support. RIBA also maintains the British Architectural Library, which houses over four million items, including architecture books and papers. Since 2004, the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) and RIBA have worked together to promote enjoyment and appreciation of architecture, with the Architecture Gallery at the V&A being home to the first permanent gallery dedicated to the subject in the UK. RIBA is also known for running several architecture awards, including the Stirling Prize for ‘Best New Building of the Year’.