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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.

Work, rest or play spaces, redundant building or boat. Existing, adaptation or new, we specialise in designing sustainable places and spaces to meet your needs, whatever they are.

Anyone who really is an architect will have to be registered with the above,

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.

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.


Property if left devoid of investment becomes unsuitable for continued use and derelict. That applies to building plots and land as well as buildings. Investment in refurbishment and new building projects can lower running costs and improve living and working environments.

Many office workplaces are based in wholly cellular former domestic buildings or tired open plan offices. Neither are particularly suited to modern working practices that often need a mix of the two to accommodate more flexible / informal working practices that often suit businesses better. Even many new workplace buildings are not designed with end-users in mind!

Similarly, many existing homes are better suited to rapidly declining lifestyles with the number of rooms being considered important by house builders and estate agents. In actual fact it is the quality of rooms that is more important these days. A 1930s Kitchen can rarely accommodate modern appliances let alone more than one person, whereas modern lifestyles often require the cooking, dining and living spaces to be much better connected. It is a waste of valuable 'real estate' to reserve a room for use on high days and holidays only as a 'front parlour'. Yet even many new homes are built by house builders that way.

Most existing buildings are capable of being altered to reduce their use of energy, the cost of the work being covered by the drop in running costs.

Bringing empty floors and roof spaces into use can increase the commercial income of property or allow larger homes without building a ground floor extensions eating into a small garden. Extending a property out into a larger garden can remove the need to move and all the costs that would involve.

So if you, your family / business or your clients would benefit from your property being  increased in value functionally, as well as financially, please get in touch. That is what architects do, add value and increase possible incomes from property. KR.eativ: Architects is an RIBA Chartered Practice and a member of the Association of Self Build Architects (ASBA).

All homes designed by architects for themselves tend to be very personal, my favourite entry this year is fabulous and incorporates many features I have thought about over the years to incorporate into my own home, one day.

The most important aspect reflected in Richard's use of space and light in his home is the element of FUN. Fun is so evidently missing from houses designed by non-architects for house builders and developers is the complete lack of fun, they can never truly become homes for humans.

'Self Build' provides the opportunity for many people to throw off the shackles of 'convention' to experiment and, with the help of an architect, bring joy back into their homes. It is what we do!