As KR.eativ: Architects Ltd remains open for business in the South East Midlands (SEMLEP area) and very nearly fully functional. Please circulate to your connections as we still need commissions even if work has stopped on site.
Any project started now won't get to site until well after this Covid-19 lockdown is history.
We are also offering a free 20 minute video call ('Zoom'/'FaceTime'/'Skype' etc) to help you resolve any architectural issues you may have as now is the time to be thinking about improving (or building new) homes, workplaces and/or leisure facilities.
Just email me at email@example.com to arrange or if you would like a copy of our latest PDF newsletter.
It is very important to understand the difference between an architect and other building designers. Anyone can design a building, there are no restrictions in the UK (unlike most other parts of the developed World) no qualifications are required. BUT the long training that an architect undertakes for a minimum of seven years resulting in qualifications to above masters degree level means we offer a high value professional service backed by all sorts of measures to protect you, our client. We are also trained to meet your needs over and above your stated 'wants'.
It is therefore very important for us to be on the 'same wavelength' as you in order to get 'behind' what you say, and share your vision, to access the requirements that you need though our wide knowledge of building design.
There are therefore a number of things that you need to consider before appointing an architect, other than the obvious one which is are they an architect or an un(der)qualified person acting illegally?
The reasons NOT to use an architect are:
One - If you want the cheapest possible solution such that it is poor design and bad solution to your requirements
Working through the options with you can take 2 or 3 options and variations over a couple of Months before a satisfactory solution to take forward is reached - RIBA Stages 0 - 2.
Two - If you do not care about saving money through having lower running costs
All KR.eativ: Architects designs are both aesthetically stunning (as far as is permitted under planning legislation) and technically designed to minimise energy demand / use. We also design for long term use and try to include the ability to adapt the building throughout that, money saving, longer life.
Three - If you want an 'off the shelf' short term building not tailored to your requirements
Despite that most existing buildings can be re-purposed to meet your requirements more exactly and increase a building's longer life in a way that has lower energy demands.
Four - If you want a low quality building without the 10% - 12% added value that an architect can give to any building project.
It has been shown that the extra value added by an architect, such as KR.eativ: Architects Ltd, is often more than the cost of commissioning us. A poor quality cheap building will also have higher running costs and a shorter lifespan.
Five - If you want to use a 'design and build' contract that meets the needs of the developer rather than the end-user
We can design those, and quite willing to do so, but they are usually buildings that the end-users need to adapt to better suit their needs after they have moved in. However 'design and build' can work for buildings that are not required to be bespoke and the end-users tend to be short term occupants.
Most of us are chartered members of the RIBA, the only professional chartered body of the profession.
We are, 'on top of that' an RIBA Chartered Practice which means even more independent protection for you commissioning a building design and 'on top of that' we are the only building design profession that requires us all to have University backed qualifications, training, skills, knowledge and experience over a minimum of seven years to above Masters Degree level.
'On top of all that' KR.eativ: Architects is also:
Therefore anyone else offering 'architectural services' will not be an architect and have very little knowledge of architecture, or could even be an architect who has been 'struck off' the register for negligence, unprofessional behaviour or a crime (which does happen). The reason for that is the fact that to use the the term 'architectural' in your job title/description or the word 'architecture in your business name does not require any qualifications or ability whatsoever.
Some such service providers may be OK for you but ask yourself why they are not architects. It may be that they are just too lazy to bother, as they can make money without having to independently prove their ability. Sad, but that is the law.
There are 'related' building design professionals such as Chartered Engineers, Chartered Surveyors and Chartered Technologists but they are not architects and do not have the same skillsets, knowledge, education, qualifications and training etc.
So when someone introduces you to an architect please ensure that the person/business they are promoting is actually an architect as it could be a very expensive mistake. Just think of all the recent press about bad housing, very little of it has been designed by an architect but by 'designers', town planners, Council officers and Councillors etc. A well designed building (as stated in a report prepared for The Modern House agency) can add 10% to 12% more to the value of a completed building than a badly designed one designed by a non-architect. A fact that has the effect that commissioning an architect can save you money by costing less than the value we add to the build environment.
To be honest, the above is a bit of a rant as I am fed up with conservations and phone calls that begin "my architect has given us a bad service". When I ask "who was that" they reply with a name of a person or business that is most definitely not an architect. The media is blame too as all sorts of crimes are reported as being by 'an architect' when in actual fact they rarely are not and never were architects (yet more 'fake news').
The positive thing to take away from the above is that real architects, when allowed to be their professional selves, are the only people fully architecturally qualified to provide you, the client, with a building that suits your needs and requirements. We do this, for larger buildings, by leading a design team of fellow chartered professionals to design and convey the relevant construction information to the contractor.
There has been much talk and media concern about the number of jobs that will be lost in the coming years through the AI revolution. The good news is that architects are way down the list at only a 2% likelihood
However, technical staff are not going to be as lucky. A situation I have forecast for many years:
There is a problem though. Because the research was conducted in the the USA, where architects require a similar level of knowledge, skills, education and experience as here in the UK, the idiots (for the BBC) who translated that research into English failed to realise/understand that Chartered Architectural Technologists (there are not, and no need for, any in the USA) are NOT architects, or as qualified, and therefore out of ignorance included them in the chart as architects at No.338 as less than 2% likely to be automated:
Any Chartered Architectural Technologist would, currently, need to re-qualifiy from the beginning if they wanted to be an architect. They should therefore obviously be listed a lot nearer technicians with whom they share educational qualifications, knowledge and skills:
My advice to anybody who has just received their "A" results, or about to start on "A" levels, who wants a career 'in architecture' that the only career 'in architecture' with a future is that of architect. If you don't fancy University or are not 'academically' minded there are both part-time and apprenticeship course routes into the profession.
This Month's newsletter, newsletter2017m2, sets out a VERY brief introduction to the starting point of the discussions I have with home-owners when they are considering an extension or building a new home.
Similar concerns can be considered if you are visiting a prospective new home, office, or workplace.
We are also launching a new architect's service that is much more closely related to architecture and I have punningly named A.R.C.H. standing for Architectural Research / Conservation / History. My interest is in the way that we as humans relate to the built environment at all scales from the City right down to the level of construction details. Drawings are only a 2D representation of a 3D experience. The architect profession's increasing use of computers to design using virtual buildings is allowing people to experience building designs in a much more three dimensional way.
There is a progression of materials, light quality, sound quality and textural feel for a whole range of movements through space and time:
From rural to urban.
From public space to private space.
From family to personal.
From a prehistoric age to the present and into the future.
My next acronym to work on will be T.A.R.D.I.S. Give me till next Month 🙂
Architects apply impartial and creative thinking to projects large and small, whether you are constructing, adapting or expanding a building. They will guide you through the design, planning and construction process - from the early stage scenario of 'what do I do?' through to completion of the project.
Architects add value, whether it comes from maximising the impact, functionality or marketability of a building.
'We started with the fairly daunting process of realising we wanted to reconfigure and add to our property and having a loose idea of what we would like to have as a wish list, but without an architect we would have had no idea how to do that in terms of going through the process but also about how to get the best design.'Ross McDonald, Private Client
One use that would work in Northamptonshire is for landowners needing to diversify from agriculture, or home-owners wanting to add value to their homes, by creating an income from the holiday letting of such structures. There is a shortage of holiday 'cottages' in the County but we have a very holiday friendly County with lots of places to visit even though we have no mountains or coast-line.
There are quite a few instances where even small business owners can benefit from an architect's input:
Increase the value of plots of land, redundant buildings and floor space etc. As lateral thinkers and skilled qualified designers we can find solutions you may not have thought of. It is a normal part of the architect's job.
Improve the manner in which your current office / workplace / school etc functions in the twenty-first century by re-ordering, refurbishment, alteration, extension etc.
Lower the energy bills by 'retro-fitting' insulations and alterations. Reducing energy bill costs to zero is possible these days! It is more difficult with older buildings and especially listed buildings but I am a qualified conservation architect and thrive on challenges.
KR.eativ: Architects Ltd is an RIBA Chartered Practice, there are only 4 in the whole of Kettering Borough, and not many in the whole County. We can help you find innovative and profitable solutions too.
The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) is the only professional chartered body for the profession.
If you, your friends or clients are thinking of 'building' your own home it is worth bearing the following in mind:
The TV programmes only show you 'the good bits', very rarely is the cost of the time taken up spent DIY building, 'monitoring' the build, or managing the sub-contractors etc accounted for. It is usually less costly and quicker to employ the professionals.
No 'project manager' is ever needed for a house. All home-building projects are managed in three stages. There is the 'client' manager, that is you. There is the 'design' manager, that is the architect. There is the 'construction' manager, that is the builder. The architect can monitor the site, certify payments and certify completion to the satisfaction of any Building Society or funding body, it is a normal part of our work.
From my experience, the figures quoted in the magazines are wildly 'optimistic' and usually exclude important aspects of a project.
'Architectural designer' and 'architectural consultant' are, oddly, job titles for which no qualifications whatsoever are required!
The Royal Institute of British Architects, the only professional chartered body for the profession, has prepared a useful leaflet that can be accessed at the link: workingwithanarchitectforyourhome-2015
KR.eativ: Architects Ltd is an RIBA Chartered Practice, there are only 4 in the whole of Kettering Borough, and not all that many in the County! The practice is the only one in the County that is a member of the Association of Self Build Architects (ASBA) a national group of practices specialising in bespoke homes. ASBA also has a useful guide:asba-brochure-2010
If you need an architect, why not employ one? Only an architect can offer the services of an architect. 'Architectural services' are just a legal way of getting round the law and are most definitely not the services of an architect!
Open Plan? Cellular? Flexible? Tied to a computer or phone? Always in meetings? Have laptop will travel? There are lots of different types of office space required for a modern business.
Tied to a production line or workstation? Everything automated and robotised? Sat on checkout for hours? Sat on a forklift moving around in a large shed? Everything made in a shed or China? Retail and factory / industrial workplaces are very varied too.
I could go on. But. The world is changing and many businesses will need to change very rapidly very soon. Manufacturing needs fewer people, retail does not require checkouts and tills (see Amazon's new shop in the USA!). Software can do many mundane office jobs too. The buildings and interiors that most businesses occupy will therefore need to change too ahead of that inevitable change.
Town centres offer most of the benefits and flexibility that will be required. Why work on the edge of town surrounded by a sea of cars? Why not work where there are cafes to meet in, shops to buy lunch, most bus routes go there so there is less need for the car. The railway station is usually nearer too, there are gyms to 'work out' in, etc etc. Guess what, town centres also contain empty floorspace above the high rental retail space at ground level. If the facilities of a town centre are used less floor space is needed for your business too (on top of the 'leaner' workforce).
Kettering could be at the forefront of such a shift in business practices. It has a town centre that buses travel to, it has a railway station, it has cafes and it has spare floor space. Not only that Kettering has hotels, a conference centre, Wicksteed Park, stately homes and open countryside within walking distance. Not many places can say that. With the new 'urban extension' Kettering deserves a town centre that can develop and grow to cater for an increasing population in an organic way through incremental change rather than a massive 'comprehensive redevelopment scheme' that can never be justified in terms of finance, sustainability, aesthetics or common sense. With the good rail service to London we are only an hour from St.Pancras / Kings Cross, one of the fastest growing areas of London. Kettering is nearer to it in terms of travel time than many places inside the M25.
KR.eativ: Architects is therefore looking for the businesses that want to rethink the way they work and the location they want to work in. We are seeking the owners of the buildings with the 'spare' floorspace that could become an income for them.