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.
If you’re looking for an architect’s services for an extension, new building or renovation project you have definitely come to the right website. As a chartered architect myself, I created KR.eativ: Architects Ltd to help businesses and homeowners solve their property problems architecturally. Whether the choice between moving and improving or the design of a new building or the restoration/renovation of an existing one.
It’s probably helpful to you to understand a little bit about what you can expect from my profession:
What’s the role of an architect?
What are architect’s services typically?
How do architects charge for their services?
How much does an architect charge for a planning application?
What can I expect during the initial consultation with an architect?
Is the initial meeting with an architect free?
WHAT’S THE ROLE OF AN ARCHITECT?
In the context of a project for either a business or homeowner, our role is to work with you to design, plan and deliver your project to meet your requirements and budget. Commonly, this also means helping you define what your brief and budget are in the first instance.
WHAT ARE ARCHITECT’S SERVICES TYPICALLY?
Let’s use an example of a £60K extension. An architect would usually be employed to do the following work, which falls roughly into three phases and is usually split up (as is their fee) like this:
Discuss and then develop the brief. This makes sure targets are realistic and expectations align.
Produce a simple feasibility study. This will include what they foresee in terms of hurdles in the project. They will then make suggestions to gather further information or meet statutory obligations, e.g. you might need a Party Wall Award; a drainage or soil survey; structural appraisal; or they might recommend pre-planning advice from the local authority.
Produce ‘existing’ drawings. For house extensions and renovations it is common for the architect to carry out the measured survey and produce the existing drawings. This is often more cost effective than hiring a separate survey company, although for more complicated projects the architect might request this.
Produce a concept design. This usually starts with sketches for further discussion with you / seeking your approval.
During this stage we can keep you up to date with progress with a 3D PDF that you can look around or for an additional fee a £D model that you can walk around using VR.
Prepare drawings and documents for the planning application and make the submission to the local council.
The architect’s services might stop at this point. You would then instead work directly with a builder (contractor) to develop the design and specify materials, finishes and fittings. However, in the case of our 60k rear extension, from experience I have found that the cost effective solution is to take the ‘traditional’ route and continue with their architect.
PHASE 2: DETAILED DESIGN AND ‘TENDER’ (GETTING QUOTES AND CHOOSING BUILDER)
We then prepares drawings, schedules and a specification for construction. Around this point they would also submit plans to building control (or advise you on alternative routes to obtaining building control approval).
All construction information then bundled up and given to your chosen builders for their quotations and timescales.
If a builder’s quote is acceptable, you will sign a contract and building work can start.
This is the next stage that the architect’s services might cease. The hefty design work element is over now so this next phase represents a smaller proportion of their overall fee. However, it can really pay off having us continue to be involved during construction even for a small house extension, especially if you’ve never done a building project before.
PHASE 3: CONSTRUCTION PHASE
We will administer the contract with the builder. We will make site inspection visits at certain important stages in the build to check work is done on time and in line with the drawings/specification.
We will deal with any queries from the contractor. Also, if you change your mind on any elements of the design, your architect will manage this process and make cost/time adjustments with the contractor for your approval.
Once certain phases are completed to their satisfaction, KR.eativ: Architects will issue a certificate prompting you to pay a portion of the build cost to the builder.
At the end of the job we will also check that all work is satisfactory and issue a ‘practical completion’ certificate. 95% of the total sum (typically) will be paid to the builder.
Following this a six month ‘rectification’ period begins during which we can instruct the builder to come back to fix any relevant outstanding issues. The final certificate is issued after this and the balance is paid.
HOW DO WE CHARGE FOR OUR SERVICES?
It will always be possible to get providers of 'architectural services' to offer a cheaper service, but then they are not architects (which is why they use the term 'architectural services' as they cannot legally offer an architect's service) or even chartered. A recent report carried out for The Modern House agency showed that a well designed building by an architect can add more value to a project than the cost of using one. Which means we can cost less than nothing in the longer term 🙂
Let’s take the example of our £60k extension again. For many projects like this, we will usually charge a fee ‘capped’ at a figure based on no unforeseen circumstances arising.
We will look at all the aspects of the project and calculate how much of their time will be needed and come back to you with our fee. As a very rough guideline, architect’s fees for a private house project could be anywhere in the region of 5-15% (allowing for the variance between simple and larger projects through to smaller more complex ones) of the overall project budget. The following figures are taken from an independent annual fee survey, showing average fees relative to the whole project budget for a new building on a ‘green field’ site.
So for a £60K extension this would be around 10% = £6,000 in architects’ fees for ‘full services’.
HOW MUCH DO WE CHARGE FOR A PLANNING APPLICATION?
If you decide that you only require the architect up to the planning phase, their fee would be roughly 40% (see pie chart above) of the £6,000. So planning drawings would be in the region of £2,400 in architects’ fees.
WHAT CAN I EXPECT DURING THE INITIAL CONSULTATION WITH KR.EATIV: ARCHITECTS?
We recommend that you meet us in person at the address of the project. We can give you our initial thoughts and advice. This should give you a better understanding of what you want but also what may be involved (such as a planning application).
It’s a chance to see how you get on. It’s important that you and your architect see eye to eye. The better you understand and trust each other the more likely you are to feel satisfied at the end of it. Every project is unique and so are we, so it’s important that we are the right fit.
We will explain how they work and charge for a quotation (also commonly called a ‘fee proposal’). If you would like to have a detailed design consultation at your next meeting, you can ask them to provide a quote for this, in addition to their fees for full services.
For us, it is an opportunity to meet you and understand your needs.
You should have a free, detailed, say 20 minutes, conversation on the phone before we arrange a meeting.
IS THE INITIAL MEETING WITH KR.EATIV: ARCHITECTS FREE OF CHARGE?
Not if you want us to provide you with any useful design guidance specific to your project. You should never expect any free design work as part of a meeting. For local meetings we charge a nominal flat fee for a meeting lasting about an hour or so.
Did you know your local Council is required to keep a register of people who are keen to self-build in their area? Even Kettering Borough Council also has a register of potential plots, they just don't publicise it much.
The purpose of this register is to enable the district to respond to the needs of local people by highlighting the need for self-build plots. If you aspire to build your own property it is crucial that you let your local authority know so they are aware of the demand.
It has been shown, by a report prepared for The Modern House estate agency, that a well designed building by an architect can add 10% to 12% more, to the completed value of a building, than one designed by a non architect.
Once you've done that you will need to contact an architect as the professionals best qualified to assist you achieve your aim. Our purpose in business is to help you meet your needs within your budget. It might not be the solution you expect (I would hope that it isn't) as that is our skill, interpreting your needs and finding a good solution to them.
An architect is fully qualified (a minimum of seven years of qualifications, training and experience through University) to assist you through the:
Building Regulation Approval(s).
Tender Documentation, Schedules and Specifications.
Contract Administration (Certifying Progress, Payment and Completion.
Assessing and Evaluating Completed Buildings.
KR.eativ: Architects Ltd can do this for any building type from hovel to hospital and whether a new building an alteration of an existing one or an historic or listed building. We are currently specialising in bespoke workplaces and homes. We use the latest software and can even issue regular 3D models to look around and investigate and potentially, as an extra service, experience in VR, as well as drawings.
Architects (registered and chartered as such in the UK) are the only building design professionals qualified as such and allowed to use the job title other than golf course architects, landscape architects or naval architects under British Law.
Being chartered we must comply with two separate codes of professional conduct and be fully insured and subject to two separate independent disciplinary procedures as well. It is therefore not only very unlikely that an architect will perform in an unprofessional way as we can be 'struck off'.
That is not the case with those offering 'architectural services' who are not architects or chartered professionals. Also only architects are trained to above degree level in Architecture despite the number of job titles with 'architectural' in front of them.
Answering the second is more obvious to us than perhaps it is to those outside the profession:
By using an architect we use our knowledge, skills, training and experience to add more value to any building project than that added by any non architect (with the exception of those who could qualify but choose not to, thus depriving you their client of much legal protection). By knowing how proportion, colour and volume affect aesthetics and how materials affect cost and performance (thermal, structural and acoustic etc) we, for a large project, incorporate and orchestrate the design input from other chartered professionals to best meet your needs, not our egos.
To do that, as a rule, many of us no longer use drawing boards or CAD but only the latest Building Information Modelling (BIM) software in order to 'build' a virtual model of the project to check for clashes between the various design inputs, ensure any errors are corrected and prepare a full set of construction information for the contractor(s) to build and independently administer the building contract certifying progress, payment and completion.
None of our skills or knowledge etc can be gained through experience alone no matter what those who don't know might tell you.
As an architect's skills are best utilised from the earliest stage of a project please do contact me, even if you are only at the 'business case' or 'finding a site' stage. The earlier we are involved the more value we can add.
That's an easy one. I was always drawing maps and houses as a small child apparently and aged about 8 or 9 we were on holiday in North Wales and 'pester power' got a visit to Portmeirion. The hotel and resort village was designed by an architect born in Northamptonshire who had been influenced by some of the same buildings as me, such as Triangular Lodge and Kirby Hall.
The thinking went something like this, if that is architecture I want to be a part. From then on despite diversions into satellite tracking at school I took the traditional 'A' levels of Art, Maths and Physics, all very important subjects in Architecture and got to study at Bath University. Bath proved to be one of the best places to study as it was a joint course with Structural and Services engineering (and therefore twice the work).
My 'favourite' tutor was Patrick Hodgkinson who is largely forgotten now but famous for designing (and restoring) The Brunswick Centre in London.
As the visiting tutors included Neave Brown, Jane Drew, Ted Cullinan and the ever-present 'visiting professors' the Smithsons "the power of architecture to transform lives and to build to the highest standards" was instilled in me from the start.
Following my RIBA Part 3 at Nottingham University and a further qualification in architectural conservation at De Montfort University I am very interested in sustainable, energy conscious architecture that re-uses and restores existing buildings as much as possible. I was also involved in the design of resort villages of modular homes for Watermark Leisure as 'No.2' to Roger Pollard (a founding partner of PTEa in London) who was the design director of the company. It is therefore another area of the profession I am interested in. As much of my professional life has been designing homes and hospitals using the latest tools (the last 20 have been using BIM), experimenting with AR whenever I can, I am still keen to broaden my professional experiences with interesting local projects to help my home town of Kettering regain it's ambitions and aspirations through improving the standard of the built environment for it's citizens. For some reason, that I have been unable to discern, architects are rarely commissioned to design buildings in the town and local architects even more rarely.
The following text, very slightly edited, if from the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada:
“A person or entity registered to use the title "architect" and to practice architecture in the U.K..
The most basic definition of an architect is a professional who is qualified to design and provide advice - both aesthetic and technical - on built objects in our public and private landscapes. But this definition barely scratches the surface of an architect's role. Architects serve as trusted advisors, their role is holistic, blending diverse requirements and disciplines in a creative process, while serving the public interest and addressing health and safety matters.
Perhaps, it would be best to describe architects as conductors who orchestrate and take the lead in reconciling all the goals for a building or other structure. Architects do this by providing solutions through the use of:
artistic imagination and creative vision to design spaces where their ideas and techniques-represented through form, light, textures, materials, and colours-combine to fulfill our aesthetic, spiritual, and cultural needs;
practical and technical knowledge to create spaces that are safe, efficient, sustainable, and meet economic needs; and
interpersonal skills, psychological understanding and ethical practice to craft spaces that fulfill the complex, and sometimes conflicting, needs of clients, users, and the community.”
Architects give great advice ALL THE TIME that if acted on can will put significant money into your pockets. I've been in practice for over 30 years and KNOW my value.
So, why should architects make other people rich without getting paid well for it? I don't know. A building designed by an architect can be worth over 10% more than one designed by a non-architect. That means that an architect will have costed less than a non architect at the completion of any project 🙂
So, why are we expected to back down on fees to clients who are getting rich on the back of our design skills? I see no reason to, for the reason given above.
A non-architect will always be cheaper because they are not qualified as or even allowed to call themselves an architect. That is why their job title begins with the word 'architectural', as a way to get around the law 🙂 They have very little training, if any, in architecture.
I design to meet your needs, a solution for a different client won't necessarily suit your needs. I already know, and have plenty of documentary proof, that I give great, valuable advice. I charge a fair fee (I have to as a professional under two codes of professional conduct), am accredited by the Architects Registration Board (ARB) & the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and have the correct public liability insurance for your project.
No non-architect has that level of consumer protection for their clients because they are not architects. They might be well qualified in their own profession but that profession is not as an architect.
As a profession we are trained in the Art, Science and Technology of Architecture over a period of a minimum of seven years of University-backed training including a degree, a masters degree and three professional examinations.
One of the advantages of using the latest software is that as KR.eativ: Architects I am more productive that I was when working on a drawing board or using 2D CAD on computer. I can also handle larger projects, up to £25 million, without needing 'architectural' staff and can go the practice solely using architects and those training to be architects. This the way automation and AI is affecting my profession, we can do more with fewer more qualified staff.
Which of course raises another issue, there isn't a school of architecture in the whole of the SEMLEP area, severely restricting where I could source staff from if I needed them.
By using a full 3D model of each project I can offer clients 3D PDFs that can be explored and even 'walked through' using the latest free off-the-shelf Adobe Acrobat Reader software that is available for ALL computer operating systems Apple or Microsoft etc.
The reason I use the 'white card' graphic form is that they are quicker to 'render' whilst showing accurate lighting whether natural or artificial:
The other advantage is that textures and colour can easily distract at early stages of a project and can lead to false conclusions about material and finishes so that they can be agreed, confirmed and incorporated into the model later saving a lot of time. Even very expensive 'CGI' images from 'specialists' can look very wrong and unlike reality and the 'white card' model is a 'working' model for discussion.
By using the BIM capabilities of the software we can prepare construction ready documents with much, if not all, of the specification information embedded within it in a construction and Facilities Management friendly IFC file format along with accurate COBie spreadsheets, thermal modelling and even AR and VR.
If you or any of your friends, family or business associates have a need for an architect who lives in the C21 rather than the C20 like many non-architects please do contact us through the website http://www.kreativarchitects.co.uk, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or even the telephone 0153522586 (pre-booking is available through the website).
I will also be on the RIBA "Ask an Architect" stand at Grand Designs Show at the NEC on the 13th October 2018.